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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Judges

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FRAMEWORKS: Judges 8: Gideon unaccepted at home

 

v.1-3 Gideon defends himself against the complaints of Ephraim

v.4-7 In his continuing pursuit he is refused help from the people of Sukkoth

v.8,9 The same happens at Peniel

v.10-12 Gideon Pursues & Defeats the two Midianite kings

v.13,14 Gideon obtains intelligence about Sukkoth

v.15,16 Gideon goes and disciplines the leaders of Sukkoth

v.17-21 He disciplines Peniel and them kills the two Midianite kings

v.22,23 Israel want Gideon to rule over them but he refuses

v.24-27 He takes an offering which becomes a snare to Israel

v.28-32 Gideon's Later Prosperous Life and eventual death

v.33-36 Idolatry & Unfaithfulness follows Gideon's death

 

 

v.1-3 Gideon defends himself against the complaints of Ephraim

 

v.1 Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn't you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they challenged him vigorously.

v.2 But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren't the gleanings of Ephraim's grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer?

v.3 God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.

 

[Notes: The Ephraimites, possibly having had a taste of victory, wanted to know why Gideon hadn't involved them from the start. Gideon has to appease them.]

 

 

v.4-7 In his continuing pursuit he is refused help from the people of Sukkoth

 

v.4 Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it.

v.5 He said to the men of Sukkoth, [to the east of the Jordan in the territory of Gad] “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”

v.6 But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?”

v.Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”

 

[Notes: Still in the pursuit, Gideon and his men, now very tired, cross the Jordan, seek help and sustenance at Sukkoth but they refuse to give it.]

 

 

v.8,9 The same happens at Peniel

 

v.8 From there he went up to Peniel [a few miles east of Sukkoth] and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had.

v.9 So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”

 

[Notes: As they follow the pursuit they come to Peniel and again are refused help.]

 

 

v.10-12 Gideon Pursues & Defeats the two Midianite kings

 

v.10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen.

v.11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting army.

v.12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.

 

[Notes: The pursuit continues and Gideon and his men scatter the Midianite army and capture their kings.]

 

 

v.13,14 Gideon obtains intelligence about Sukkoth

 

v.13 Gideon son of Joash then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres.

v.14 He caught a young man of Sukkoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Sukkoth, the elders of the town.

 

[Notes: On their return he snatches a young man in the countryside outside Sukkoth and gest him to name the leaders in Sukkoth.]

 

 

v.15,16 Gideon goes and disciplines the leaders of Sukkoth

 

v.15 Then Gideon came and said to the men of Sukkoth, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, ‘Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?'”

v.16 He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sukkoth a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briers.

 

[Notes: Thus when he enters the town he finds the named leaders and has them scourged for failing to help their fellow Israelites.]

 

 

v.17-21 He disciplines Peniel and them kills the two Midianite kings

 

v.17 He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.

v.18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?”

“Men like you,” they answered, “each one with the bearing of a prince.”

v.19 Gideon replied, “Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the Lord lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.”

v.20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, “Kill them!” But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.

v.21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.'” So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels' necks.

 

[Notes: When he goes back to Peniel [a much smaller settlement] he kills the men in the town and destroys their tower and then executes the Midianite kings.]

 

 

v.22,23 Israel want Gideon to rule over them but he refuses

 

v.22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”

v.23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.”

 

[Notes: After his obvious victory and deliverance of Israel, the people want him to be their ruler but he refuses saying God is to be their ruler.]

 

 

v.24-27 He takes an offering which becomes a snare to Israel

 

v.24  And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)

v.25 They answered, “We'll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it.

v.26 The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels' necks.

v.27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

 

[Notes: Nevertheless, the temptation to pass up the opportunity is obviously too great and so he invites all those there to take a collection for him and out of the materials he creates something described as an ephod. However, instead of something like the high priest wore, the shear amount of gold and other materials, suggest that they made it all into some form of monument which, sadly the people eventually came to worship. A not very glorious end to Gideon's deliverance of his people. No doubt, considering his earlier loyalty to the Lord he had no intention of leading the people into idolatry, but that is what seems to have happened.]

 

 

v.28-32 Gideon's Later Prosperous Life and eventual death

 

v.28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon's lifetime, the land had peace forty years.

v.29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live.

v.30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives.

v.31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek.

v.32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

 

[Notes: Another not-so-glorious aspect of Gideon's later life is that he took so many wives [including, as we see, slave girls or concubines,] that he ended up with seventy sons, which in itself also created later problems. Nevertheless, from what follows, we may assume that while he lived, he mostly kept the nation on the right spiritual path.]

 

 

v.33-36 Idolatry & Unfaithfulness follows Gideon's death

 

v.33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god

v.34 and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side.

v.35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.

 

[Notes: The cycle begins yet again. As soon as Gideon is gone the people turn back to idols. Unbelievable! Except it is!]

    

     

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 9