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JUDGMENT HALL
        Latin praetorium Graecized (<431828> John 18:28,33; 19:9; <442335> Acts 23:35). It is translated <402727> Matthew 27:27;<411516> Mark <500113> 15:16, "common hall"; and in Philippians 1:13 "palace." It is (1) Pilate's residence when at Jerusalem, where Jesus was examined, scourged, and mocked. The Jews, to avoid defilement before the Passover, waited outside, near the judgment seat which was erected on the pavement before the Praetorium, and on which Pilate sat in pronouncing sentence. Probably the tower of Antonia was the Praetorium of Pilate. Herod was then at Jerusalem, doubtless in his father's palace, which therefore is distinct from the Praetorium (<422307> Luke 23:7). However Josephus (B. J. 2:14, section 8) represents the Roman governor as sometimes residing in Herod's palace, and setting up his judgment seat in front of it (see JERUSALEM ). In <442335> Acts 23:35 Herod's Praetorium was part of the magnificent buildings erected by king Herod (Josephus, Ant. 20:9, section 6, B. J. 1:21, section 5-8), used as the official residence and head quarters of Felix at Caesarea. "Palace," in <500113> Philippians 1:13, means the quarters intervals of which it is said, a people is happiest when it has least to record; the allusion in <071004> Judges 10:4 is to the happy days of the conquest under Moses (<043241> Numbers 32:41). But the great decline of Israel necessitated the kingdom, which followed, as better for a carnal people than the theocracy of which they showed themselves unworthy. C HRONOLOGY and U NITY . (On the length of the period of the judges see CHRONOLOGY , probably 430 or else 450 years). The period between the division of the land and Jephthah was 300 years (<071126> Judges 11:26), which alone disproves the view of the Speaker's Commentary as to the period of the judges being only 160 or 140 years. The book, as we have seen, carries out the design with which it set out. At the close, as repeated declensions leave the guilty, in spite of revivals, lower than at the first, Samson is left by the degraded people, single-handed, to resist the foe, and in his death accomplishes under God what previous judges failed to effect by their lives. The appended histories are placed at the end not to interrupt the historical sequence of judges according to the plan stated at the first, also chiefly because these histories are not isolated facts but permanent influences for evil (<071830> Judges 18:30,31); Gibeah's evil was not eradicated by Benjamin's terrible punishment, but must have affected the tribes generally, as their sore chastisement at first proves; and Hosea testifies the evil continued ever afterward (<070909> Judges 9:9; 10:9). D ATE , A UTHOR . It must be not earlier than the end of that servitude to the Philistines which Samson "began"(<071305> Judges 13:5) to deliver Israel out of, and from which Samuel completed their deliverance (<090709> 1 Samuel 7:9-14). And it must have been before David's capture of Zion from the Jebusites, for they had dwelt with the Benjamites in Jerusalem to the time of writing Judges (<070121> Judges 1:21; compare <100506> 2 Samuel 5:6). Tyre is not mentioned, but Zidon oppressed Israel (<071012> Judges 10:12), and was the protector to whom the neighbouring Canaanites looked up (<071807> Judges 18:7). Tyre on the contrary took the lead in David's time; moreover Tyre and Sidon were his allies, not enemies. But royalty was already set up, and the blessing of organized government was realized, as appears from <071801> Judges 18:1: "in those days when there was no king in Israel; but every man did that which was right in his own eyes"(compare <051208> Deuteronomy 12:8): <071706> Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1. This points to Saul's reign, or the very beginning of David's reign. Either Samuel or one of his school of prophets probably wrote it. The words (<071830> Judges 18:30,31), "until the day of the captivity of the land ... they set up Micah's image ... all the time that the house of God from those very nations whose sin they copied, were just the discipline they needed and God raised. Thrice Jehovah threatened Israel with oppression for apostasy: at Bochim (<070201> Judges 2:1-4), at the Midianite invasion (<070607> Judges 6:7-10), at the Ammonite and Philistine oppression (<071010> Judges 10:10-14). He fulfilled His threats in the ever deepening oppression of the foe, the Philistine crowning all, and in the internal disunion of the nation's tribes. Under Othniel and Ehud all Israel rose against the foe; under Barak Reuben, Gilead, Dan, and Asher took no part (<070515> Judges 5:15-17). Gideon scarcely appeased Ephraim's jealousy. Abimelech's usurpation of the kingship of Shechem illustrates further the national decay. Ephraim fought with Jephthah and the eastern tribes to its own sore loss. The men of Judah were so degenerate as to seek to give up Samson, their deliverer, to the Philistines (<071509> Judges 15:9-14). The Angel of Jehovah, the Son of God, at the call of Moses appeared to him, then the Spirit of Jehovah qualified him (<020301> Exodus 3:1-6; 13:21). So the divine Angel four times appears, the Spirit following to qualify the judge for delivering Israel: Judges 2:1-5; 3:10; (2) <070611> Judges 6:11,34; (3) <071010> Judges 10:10-16, compare <236308> Isaiah 63:8,9, <071129> Judges 11:29; (4) <071303> Judges 13:3-25. (1) <070201>The servitudes increase in length successively for the most part: Chushan Rishathaim 8 years, Eglon 18, Jabin 20; also in the humiliation (1) a distant king, (2) a neighbouring king, (3) a king in Canaan itself. The three first servitudes brought Israel under the nations destined to scourge it in after history: Moab, Philistia, Mesopotamia or Babylon. Jabin disarmed (as in <091322> 1 Samuel 13:22 the Philistines are stated to have done) and brought them into union with Canaan by constraining them to worship his idols (<070403> Judges 4:3; 5:8). Or rather, "Israel chose new gods"; therefore in penal retribution from God "war was in their gates," and among the 40,000 (see <060413> Joshua 4:13) Israelites fit for war no shield nor spear was to be seen wielded against the enemy. The fourth (Midian), fifth (Ammon), and sixth (Philistines) servitudes rise in progressive severity for 7, 18, and 40 years respectively. Jair's time is one of those peaceful of praetorian guards immediately attached to Caesar's palace on Mount Palatine (compare 4:22; <442816> Acts 28:16).
Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'judgment hall' Fausset's Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Fausset's; 1878.

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