The LORD Set Ambushments

“And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.” (2 Chron 20:22-23)

“The LORD set ambushments” but we are not told the exact nature of what those “ambushments” were.  The result though was that Ammon and Moab together fought against Seir and when Seir was destroyed Ammon and Moab destroyed each other. A similar pattern happened on other occasions as well:

“And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.” (Jud 7:22)

“And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” (Eze 38:21)

“And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture.” (1 Sam 14:20)

The word translated “discomfiture” in the verse above is:

Strong’s no. 4103; mhuwmah (noun). In the KJV, it is translated as: destruction 3, trouble 3, vexation 2, tumult 2, vexed 1, discomfiture 1 with the definitions: tumult, confusion, disquietude, discomfiture, destruction, trouble, vexed, vexation, disturbance, turmoil, panic

“Mhuwmah” is from another Hebrew word:

Strong’s no. 1949; huwm (verb). In the KJV, it is translated as: rang again 2, make a noise 2, moved 1, destroy 1; 6 with the definitions: to distract, ring again, make a (great) noise, murmur, roar, discomfit, be moved

There is the idea of confusion and distraction. In the case, of 1 Samuel 14 it seems an earthquake was involved in causing the confusion:

“And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.” (1 Sam 14:15-16)

The word translated above as “trembling” is from:

Strong’s no. 2731; charadah (noun). In the KJV, it is translated as: trembling 4, fear 2, exceedingly 1, care 1, quaking 1; 9 with the definitions: fear, anxiety, quaking, trembling, (extreme) anxiety, anxious care, quaking, anxious care

So, while “the Lord set ambushments” by somehow causing confusion, distraction, panic among Israel’s enemies, it was those enemies that, in their confusion, killed each other. God did or sent something to cause the confusion but He did not directly, personally kill the enemies of Israel. A similar situation occurred in the more familiar story of Gideon and his victory in Judges Chapter 7.


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