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Gideon is sent
to deliver the Israelites. The Lord is with thee, thou mighty 20 And the angel of God said about 1249. man of valour.
unto him, Take the flesh and the un- about 1249.
sumed the flesh and the unleavened
Gideon said, Alas, o Lord Gop!
Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? the LORD face to face. ll Or, my
behold, || my family is poor in Ma 23 And the LORD said unto him, the meanest. nasseh, and I am the least in my fa- Peace be unto thee ; fear not: thou ther's house.
shalt not die. 16 And the LORD said unto him, 24 Then Gideon built an altar Surely I will be with thee, and thou there unto the Lord, and called it shalt smite the Midianites as one || Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is | That is, man.
yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites. 17 And he said unto him, If now 25 And it came to pass
the same I have found grace in thy sight, then night, that the LORD said unto him, shew me a sign that thou talkest with Take thy father's young bullock, me.
|| even the second bullock of seven || Or, and, 18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, years old, and throw down the altar
until I come unto thee, and bring of Baal that thy father hath, and cut || Or, meat
forth my | present, and set it before down the grove that is by it: offering.
thee. And he said, I will tarry until 26 And build an altar unto the
Lord thy God upon the top of this 19 9 And Gideon went in, and + rock, l1 in the ordered place, and + Heb. strong + Heb. a kid made ready + a kid, and unleavened take the second bullock, and offer a "Or, in an of the goats. cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh burnt sacrifice with the wood of the ordenler
, he put in a basket, and he put the grove which thou shalt cut down. broth in a pot, and brought it out 27 Then Gideon took ten men of unto him under the oak, and pre- his servants, and did as the Lord sented it.
had said unto him: and so it was, be
This Gideon did “to hide it from the Midianites;” and words, that God says to him, ver. 16, “Surely I will be " by the winepress," where none would suspect his with thee." Bp. Hall. threshing of corn. Bp. Patrick.
22. - Alas, O Lord God!] He speaks as a person 13. — if the Lord he with us, why then is all this be- under great alarm, and breaks off his discourse abruptly. fallen us] The valiant man is here weak; weak in Bp. Patrick. faith, weak in discourse ; while he argues God's absence 25. — throw down the altar of Baal] Baal's altar must by affliction, his presence by deliverances, and the im- first be destroyed, ere God's be built; both cannot stand probability of success by his own disability. All these are together : the true God will have no society with idols, gross inconsequences. He should rather have inferred neither will He allow it to us. In this instance, He does God's presence with the Israelites from the correction not desire to have consecrated to Himself, the altar which they suffered; for, wheresoever God chastiseth, which had been abused to Baal; but, as one whose holy there He is; yea, there He is in mercy: nothing more jealousy will admit no worship, till there be no idolatry proves us his, than his stripes; He bestows not cor He first commands them to destroy the monuments of rection where He loves not. Bp. Hall.
superstition, and then enjoins his own service. Bp. 15.-0 my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel?] Hall. Humility is both a sign of future glory, and a way to it, 26. — in the ordered place,] Where the flesh and and an occasion of it. Vain glory and height of spirit cakes were laid in order on the rock, ver. 20. Or the will not avail with God: none have ever been raised by words may signify, as in the margin, "in an orderly Him, but those who have formerly dejected themselves; manner.”' Although Gideon was no priest, yet he was none have been confounded by Him that are abased in here required to offer a burnt sacrifice, by God's special themselves : it is immediately on Gideon's using these order ; which would have been otherwise a presump
+ Heb. clothed. d Numb. 10. 3.
Joash defendeth his son.
CHAP. VI, VII. cause he feared his father's houshold, 34 But the Spirit of the LORD about 1249. and the men of the city, that he + came upon Gideon, and he a blew about 1249.
could not do it by day, that he did a trumpet; and Abi-ezer + was ga-
thered after him.
came up to meet them.
wool in the floor; and if the dew be
may die : because he hath cast that thou wilt save Israel by mine
early on the morrow, and thrust the
32 Therefore on that day he called only upon the fleece, and upon all the
it was dry upon the fleece only, and
is brought to three hundred. 9 He is en
tuous sin. The command was extraordinary. Bp. Pa 36. -- If thou wilt save Israel--as thou hast said,] trick.
He desires another miracle to confirm his faith, perhaps 31. -- if he be a god, let him plead for himself,] Let the for the sake of those that were to follow him; or perinjured god, he tells them, avenge his own cause : if Baal haps, wishing to know by a sign whether God would be what he has been supposed to be, you may safely make him victorious at that particular time. Bp. Patrust to him to maintain his own honour. Pyle. trick.
33.- in the valley of Jezreel.] The city of Jezreel (which Of all the instruments which God used in so great a gave name to the valley) belonged to the half tribe of work, we find none so weak as Gideon. The former Manasseh, on the west of Jordan. In the history of the miracle was strong enough to carry him through his first kings of Israel, this city is frequently mentioned, as, by exploit, of ruining the idolatrous grove and altar: but reason of the pleasantness of the situation, some of them now, when he saw the swarm of the Midianites and had a royal palace there, though their capitalwas Samaria. Amalekites approaching, he called for
new aid; and, not The vale of Jezreel is, according to Mr. Maundrell, of a trusting to his thousands of Israel, flew to God for a vast extent, very fertile, but uncultivated, and only serv- further assurance of victory. The refuge was good, but ing the Arabs for pasture. Some have supposed, how- the manner of seeking it savours of distrust. Bp. ever, that the valley of Jezreel, here mentioned, denotes Hall. some lesser valley, between mount Hermon and mount 39. — let it now be dry only upon the fleece, &c.] If Gilboa. Dr. Wells.
we understand that the miracle of the dew on the fleece 34.--the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon,] Ex- was a kind of publick testimony to satisfy the officers citing him now to put in execution the commission and people under him, we then see the reason of its rewhich God had given him to deliver Israel, and filling petition, with the opposite variation : for, if there were him with an extraordinary degree of courage for such an any of his adherents who suspected deception in the first undertaking. Dr. Wells. The Spirit of the Lord, by instance, when the threshing-floor was dry, and the fleece which Gideon was animated to undertake the deliverance wet with dew, they might be convinced by the contrary of his country, was a spirit of fortitude and prudence, effect, when the fleece was dry, and the threshing-floor and of all the virtues requisite in a commander. Dr. Hales. wet with dew. Script. illust.
Before CHRIST about 1249.
Before CHRIST about 1249.
Gideon's army reduced
to three hundred. couraged by the dream and interpretation likewise every one that boweth down of the barley cake. 16 His stratagem of
his knees to drink. trumpets and lamps in pitchers. 24 The
6 And the number of them that
lapped, putting their hand to their
and all the people that were with all the rest of the people bowed down
Midianites into thine hand: and let
unto his tent, and retained those three
in the ears of the people, saying, dian was beneath him in the valley. a Deut. 20. 8. a Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let 9 1 And it came to pass
10 But if thou fear to go down, go
with thee; and of whomso- Phurah his servant unto the outside
by five. go with thee, the same shall not host. go.
12 And the Midianites and the 5 So he brought down the people Amalekites and ball the children of b Chap. 6. 33. unto the water: and the Lord said the east lay along in the valley like unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth grasshoppers for multitude ; and their of the water with his tongue, as a dog camels were without number, as the lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; sand by the sea side for multitude.
1 Mac. 3. 56.
Chap. VII. ver. 2.- lest Israel vaunt themselves] God and with the march; which made them greedily betake knew the disposition of the Israelites, and foresaw that, themselves to the water. Bp. Patrick. It has been vafrom motives of vanity, they would be disposed to riously conjectured, what symptoms of courage or ascribe the victory to their own power and prowess, cowardice were collected from these different ways of and not to Him : whereas He intended to shew to all drinking amongst the soldiers; some supposing that the world that it was his miraculous work. Bp. Patrick. the snatching it up with the hand denoted a fearful
3.- from mount Gilead.] Not the mountain of that temper; others, on the contrary, supposing that this name, often mentioned in Scripture, which was east of way of drinking betokened courage, or a temperate and Jordan; but another on the west side of Jordan, in hardy disposition. It is more probable, that the manner the tribe of Manasseh. Bp. Patrick.
of drinking was a symptom of neither ; but that God, 4. The people are yet too many :] If human strength foreknowing all things, chose this manner of pitching were to be opposed, there should have needed an equal on the smaller number, without any regard to their ity of strength; but now that God meant to give the personal valour. Pyle. victory, his care was not how to get it, but how not to The true reason and design of this method seems to lose the glory of it. He was willing to give deliverance be this : God was minded to reduce the army of Gideon unto Israel, but the praise of the deliverance He would to a very small number, which, it was probable, would keep to Himself: it was the same with Him to save be effected by this means; for as the season was hot, with many as with few; but He rather chose to save by and the generality of the soldiers weary, thirsty, and few, that all the victory might redound to Himself. Bp. faint, it was most probable that they would lie down, Hall.
(as indeed they did,) and refresh themselves plentifully; 5. --- Every one that lappeth &c.] We may well and it was scarcely to be expected that any great numsuppose they were thirsty with the heat of the weather, ber would deny themselves in this matter. Stackhouse.
Before CHRIST about 1249.
+ Heb. lip.
CHAP. VII, VIII.
Oreb and Zeeb are taken. 13 And when Gideon was come, I blew the trumpets, and brake the about 1249, behold, there was a man that told a pitchers that were in their hands.
dream unto his fellow, and said, Be 20 And the three companies blew
14 And his fellow answered and 21 And they stood every man in
every man's sword against his fellow, 15 | And it was so, when Gideon even throughout all the host : and the
heard the telling of the dream, and host fled to Beth-shittah || in Zere- || Or,lowards. + Heb. the + the interpretation thereof, that he rath, and to + the border of Abelbreaking thereof. worshipped, and returned into the meholah, unto Tabbath.
host of Israel, and said, Arise; for 23 And the men of Israel gather-
tali, and out of Asher, and out of all
dred men into three companies, and dianites. + Heb. he put ta trumpet in every man's 24 | And Gideon sent messenin the hand hand, with empty pitchers, and || lamps gers throughout all mount Ephraim, of all of them. within the pitchers.
saying, Come down against the Mibrands, or, 17 And he said unto them, Look dianites, and take before them the
on me, and do likewise : and, behold, waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.
waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.
that he worshipped,] Gave humble thanks to watchword was taken from the interpretation of the God for his goodness, in giving this new encourage- Midianite's dream, as referring to “the sword of Giment to proceed in his undertaking. Bp. Patrick. deon,” ver. 14; to which Gideon piously prefixed “the
16. -- with empty pitchers,] Earthen pitchers. Bp. sword of the Lord,” as the Author of the stratagem, of Patrick. Though leathern bottles were much used by the dream, and of its interpretation. Dr. Hales. the people of the East, earthen jars or pitchers were 19. — in the beginning of the middle watch ;] The sometimes used also. Dr. Chandler mentions having Hebrews and other Eastern nations divided the night used an earthen jar for carrying water in travelling into three parts, which were called the 1st, 2nd, and through Asia Minor. If this was the practice in Gi- 3rd watches; because the guards or watches were deon's time, it could not be difficult for him to collect changed three times. The Romans, and from them the three hundred water jars from among ten thousand | Jews in later times, divided the night into four watches; Harmer.
whence we read in the Gospel of the 4th watch. Lewis. lamps] Rather, torches, which were concealed 24. — took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.] in the pitchers. Bp. Patrick.
That is, they secured all the fords or passes along the Though God had promised by these three hundred river Jordan, from Beth-barah, (which is thought to men to chase the Midianites, yet Gideon neglected not be the same as Bethabara, mentioned by St. John,) wise stratagems to secure the victory. To wait for lying near the south end of the river Jordan, to the beGod's performance, and do nothing, is to abuse that ginning of Jordan, or its issuing from the sea of GaDivine providence, which will always so work, as not lilee. Dr. Wells. to allow us to remain in inactivity. Bp. Hall.
25. — the rock Oreb,] The rock, called Oreb in 18. - The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.] This future times, from the event here related. Bp. Patrick.
Before CHRIST about 1249.
this thou hast done unto us?
thousand, every one
Zebah and Zalmunna are taken.
JUDGES. Succoth and Penuel are destroyed. army, 10 Zebah and Zalmunna are tuken. | swered him as the men of Succoth
13 Succoth and Penuel are destroyed. about 1249.
18 had answered him.
9 And he spake also unto the men
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna
unto him, + Why hast thou served them, about fifteen thousand men, all What thing is
us thus, that thou calledst us not, when that were left of all the hosts of the
dianites? And they did chide with hundred and twenty thousand men twenty + Heb. him + sharply.
that drew sword. strongly.
2 And he said unto them, What 11 And Gideon went up by the drawing a have I done now in comparison of way of them that dwelt in tents on you? Is not the gleaning of the the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, grapes of Ephraim better than the and smote the host: for the host was vintage of Abi-ezer?
secure. 3 God hath delivered into your 12 And when Zebah and Zalhands the princes of Midian, Oreb munna fled, he pursued after them, and Zeeb: and what was I able to do and took the two kings of Midian, in comparison of you? Then their Zebah and Zalmunna, and + discom- + Heb. tanger was abated toward him, when fited all the host.
terrified. spirit. he had said that.
13 And Gideon the son of Joash
the men of Succoth, and enquired of
Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and
men that are weary ?
and Zalmunna into mine hand, then briers, and with them he + taught the + Heb. made + Heb.thresh. I will + tear your flesh with the men of Succoth.
thorns of the wilderness and with 17 And he beat down the tower of
Penuel, and slew the men of the a 1 Kings 12.
Chap. VIII. ver. 2.- Is not the gleaning &c.] A them. It is a bitter sort of taunt, arising from irreligion, common proverb, probably, in those days, by which which made them doubt whether the hand of God was they were wont to commend the smallest action of one, in the victory, and whether Gideon would be able to as superiour to the greatest of another. It is as if he perfect it. Bp. Patrick. had said, These scattered parties, which you have 9. - this tower.] The tower of their city, in which gleaned and picked up at the fords of Jordan, are far they confided, and to which perhaps they pointed when more than those which I and my whole host have de- they gave this rude answer. Bp. Patrick. stroyed. Bp. Patrick.
16. — with them he taught the men of Succoth.] With 5. - Succoth,] See Gen. xxxiii. 17.
them he beat the elders of the city, for a warning unto 6.- Are the hands &c.] They bid him first take the men of Succoth; who by their example were taught those kings captive, and bring them with their hands how dangerous it is to slight the agents of God. Bp. bound behind them, before he made any demands upon Hall.