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Before CHRIST about 1249.
Gideon refuseth to govern the Israelites. CHAP. VIII.
His ephod a cause of idolatry. were they whom ye slew at Tabor ?
you: about 1249. And they answered, As thou art, so shall rule over you.
were they; each one + resembled the 24 ( And Gideon said unto them, + Heb. according to the children of a king:
I would desire a request of you, that
26 And the weight of the golden
and Zalmunna, and took away the the kings of Midian, and beside the 1 Or, || ornaments that were on their camels' | chains that were about their camels' like the moon, necks.
came a snare unto Gideon, and to his
19. — if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.] king, and accounted this an attempt to alter his goAs they were not Canaanites, he was not obliged to kill vernment. Bp. Patrick. them; but, as they had slain his brethren in cool blood, 23. And Gideon said—I will not rule over you,] he was by law the avenger of their blood. Poole. There is no greater example of modesty than Gideon.
21. — as the man is, so is his strength.] They thought When the angel spake to him, he abased himself before it more honourable to die by the hand of Gideon, who all Israel : when the Ephraimites contended with him, was a man of as great strength as dignity; and would he preferred their gleanings to his vintage, and cast his sooner despatch them than å stripling could do. Bp. honour at their feet: and now, when Israel proffered Patrick.
him that crown which he had merited, he refused it. ornaments &c.] The Hebrew word used here is He that in overcoming would allow them to cry, “The found no where else but at ver. 26, and in Isa. iii, 18 : sword of the Lord, and of Gideon," chap. vii. 18; in our margin translates, “ornaments like the moon,” as governing will have nothing but “the sword of the it was an ancient custom to wear ornaments of this Lord.” Bp. Hall. figure. Bp. Patrick. These were probably chains, like 24. — because they were Ishmaelites.] The Chaldee those which Bp. Pococke saw in Egypt, hanging from Paraphrase says, Because they were Arabians : called the bridles of the agas of the seven military bodies of children of the East,” chap. vi. 3, it being the general that country to the breastplates of the animals on which custom of all those people to wear earrings. Bp. Patrick. they rode, in the grand procession of the caravan, about 26. --- a thousand and seven hundred shekels] In the setting out for Mecca. They were undoubtedly marks same manner Hannibal, after the battle of Cannæ, of distinction and grandeur. Harmer.
measured the gold rings of the Roman knights by They were golden ornaments, perhaps crescents, con- bushels. Dr. Wall
. secrated to the moon, which was worshipped in that - purple raiment] Purple seems anciently to have neighbourhood before Abraham's days. These crescents been appropriated to kings, and to those on whom are still in use among the Arabs, and even among the kings bestowed it. It is here mentioned by the sacred Mahometans in general, however scrupulous about historian, as being found on the Midianitish kings. images ; being evidently a remnant of that ancient pa- * A garment of fine linen and purple” is given to a gan superstition of the worship of the heavenly bodies, favourite by king Ahasuerus, Esther viii. 15. The Jews which too often infected the extraneous posterity of the made a decree that Simon should wear purple and gold, faithful Abraham, and even the Israelites themselves. and that none of the people should wear it without his Dr. Hales.
permission. Burder. 22.--for thou hast delivered us &c.] They pretended 27. And Gideon made an ephod &c.] Gideon had no to make this offer out of gratitude to him; but, in other view, in asking these gold earrings and jewels of truth, they were disposed now (as their posterity were the soldiery, but to furnish out a costly and magnificent afterwards) to throw off the Divine government, being trophy or ensign, as a monument of this signal victory desirous to set a king over themselves, like the rest of wrought by his hands. He accordingly made it in the the nations round about them: Gideon absolutely re- form of an ephod, or long robe, to be hung up, and jected their offer, because he considered God as their displayed like a military standard ; and suspended it in
Before CHRIST about 1209.
out of his thigh.
+ Heb. set.
Gideon's children, and death.
Abimelech made king. before the children of Israel, so that king. 7 Jotham by a parable rebuketh about 1249. they lifted up their heads no more.
them, and foretelleth their ruin. 22 Gaal And the country was in quietness
conspireth with the Shechemites against
him. 30 Zebul revealeth it. 34 Abimelech forty years in the days of Gideon.
overcometh them, and soweth the city with 29 | And Jerubbaal the son of salt. 46 He burneth the hold of the god Joash went and dwelt in his own
Berith. 50 At Thebez he is slain by a piece house.
of a millstone. 56 Jotham's curse is ful30 And Gideon had threescore
filled. + Heb. going and ten sons + of his body begotten : A rubbalahi went to Shechem unto
ND of for he had many wives.
31 And his concubine that was in his mother's brethren, and communed Shechem, she also bare him a son, with them, and with all the family of whose name he + called Abimelech. the house of his mother's father, say
32 ( And Gideon the son of Joash ing,
died in a good old age, and was bu 2 Speak, I pray you, in the ears about 1209. ried in the sepulchre of Joash his of all the men of Shechem, + Whe- Heb.
father, in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites. ther is better for you, either that all good! whe
33 And it came to pass, as soon the sons of Jerubbaal, which are ther, &c.
lech; for they said, He is our bro-
melech hired vain and light persons,
which followed him. CHAP. IX.
5 And he went unto his father's 1 Abimelech by conspiracy with the Shechem-house at Ophrah, and slew his bre
ites, and murder of his brethren, is made thren the sons of Jerubbaal, being
his own house, or in some large and spacious place 34. — remembered not the Lord their God,] It is a built on purpose for it, in the town where he lived. sore aggravation of sin, when it is committed after But, whether Gideon himself meant any ill by it or not, great mercies and deliverances vouchsafed to us; bethe Israelites afterwards made a vile and superstitious cause it is an argument of great ingratitude. Thus we use of it, paying regards to it as to a sacred thing, con- find it here recorded as a heavy charge upon the people sulting it in a religious way, as they used to do the of Israel, that they “remembered not the Lord their holy ephod in the tabernacle; in derogation to the true God,” “neither shewed kindness," ver. 35, to Jerubworship and honour of God. So that the successors of baal, who had been their deliverer. Abp. Tillotson. Gideon's family, taking no care to abolish this impious abuse, soon fell to decay, and his name became as it Chap. IX. ver. 2. — I am your bone and your flesh.] were extinct. Pyle. He intended the ephod merely as Meaning, your fellow-citizen, and belonging to the a monument of victory, but in aftertimes it came to be same tribe. Bp. Patrick. perverted to a bad use, gave occasion to a fresh apo 4. — vain and light persons,] The Hebrew word, stasy, and proved the ruin of Gideon's family. Stack- which we translate vain, signifies empty ; that is, poor house.
and needy persons : and that translated light, signifies 29. And Jerubbaal] Jerubbaal being another name idle vagabond fellows, of loose lives, who could settle for Gideon, chap. vii. 1.
to no business. Bp. Patrick. 31. — whose name he called Abimelech.] His name is 5. - and slew his brethren] There was never such a here set down, when nothing is said of the names of the pattern of unthankfulness, as these Israelites : they, rest, because the story of the following chapter depends who lately, chap. viii. 22, thought a kingdom too small upon it. Bp. Patrick.
a recompense of Gideon and his sons, now think it too 33. — Baal-berith] A new god, not known to them much for his seed to live ; and take life away from the before, and mentioned only here and in the next chap- sons of him, who gave them both life and liberty. If ter; reputed, as some think, the god that punished those this had been done some long time afterwards, when who broke their covenants and contracts; or so called, the memory of Gideon was worn out, it might have as others think, because his servants covenanted to borne a better excuse; but, ere their deliverer was cold maintain his worship and service. Bp. Patrick. in his coffin, to pay his benefits with the extirpation of
to be pro
See Josh. 24. 26.
of the trees. threescore and ten persons, upon one 11 But the fig tree said unto them, about 1209, stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham Should I forsake my sweetness, and about 1209,
the youngest son of Jerubbaal was my good fruit, and go to be promoted
over the trees ?
of Millo, and went, and made Abi 13 And the vine said unto them, Or, by the melech king || by the plain of the Should I leave my wine, which cheeroak of the
eth God and man, pillar that was in Shechem. pillar.
go 7 And when they told it to moted over the trees? Jotham, he went and stood in the 14 Then said all the trees unto top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up the || bramble, Come thou, and reign | Or, thistle. his voice, and cried, and said unto over us. them, Hearken unto me, ye men of 15 And the bramble said unto the Shechem, that God may hearken trees, If in truth ye anoint me king
then come and put your 8 The trees went forth on a time trust in my shadow: and if not, let to anoint a king over them; and they fire come out of the bramble, and said unto the olive tree, Reign thou devour the cedars of Lebanon.
16 Now therefore, if ye have done 9 But the olive tree said unto truly and sincerely, in that ye have them, Should I leave my fatness, made Abimelech king, and if ye have
wherewith by me they honour God dealt well with Jerubbaal and his
cording to the deserving of his
his posterity was more than savage. What can be pleasure, and more easily remembered them than a looked for from idolaters? If a man has cast off his rational discourse. Bp. Patrick. God, he will easily cast off his friends. When religion 13. - wine, which cheereth God and man,] A poetical is once gone, humanity will not stay long after. Bp. expression, denoting the common custom of the world, Hall.
of offering up and drinking wine to the honour of their upon one stone :] This stone some will have to gods. Pyle. The words in the original may be renbe an altar, which Abimelech dedicated to the idol Be- dered in the plural, “ gods and men;" according to rith, and erected in the same place where his father which we must suppose, that Jotham speaks of “gods” Gideon had destroyed his altar before : and so they because he was addressing himself to the idolatrous account, that this slaughter of his sons was designed Shechemites, and adapted his discourse to their notions. for an expiatory sacrifice of their father's pretended Dr. Waterland. Again, the words Elohim and anasim, crime, in demolishing the altar and grove dedicated to translated God and man, may mean only. “ kings, and that idol. Stackhouse, Bp. Patrick.
men of inferiour quality,” “high and low.” Dr. Wall. 6.- all the house of Millo,] The word Millo, it is “ Prince and peasant. Script. illust. probably thought, is derived from a Hebrew word 14. — the bramble,] The meanest of all trees, good which signifies, “ to be full or filled.” Many learned for nothing but to be burnt; aptly representing Abipersons consider it to denote in the sacred writings a melech, from whom they could receive no benefit, but large capacious place, which was designed for publick much trouble and vexation. meetings. Accordingly, in this place, by “ all the house .15.- put your trust in my shadow :] By this is adof Millo,” are meant all the principal inhabitants who mirably represented how ridiculous Abimelech was, in were wont to assemble in the publick townhouse; and imagining that he should be able to maintain the auwho on this occasion consented to the setting up of thority of a king; for a bramble does not spread itself Abimelech as king. Dr. Wells. See note on 2 Sam. out, so as to afford any shadow or shelter. Bp. Patrick. v. 9.
and devour the cedars &c.] By which is repreby the plain of the pillar] Our margin trans- sented the vengeance which Abimelech would take of lates, “ by the oak of the pillar,” which refers us to the the greatest of them, if they proved unfaithful to him. stone set up by Joshua, under the oak in Shechem. Bp. Patrick. The preceding fable of the trees choosing Jos. Mede. See the note on Gen. xii. 6.
a king, is the oldest and most beautiful extant. Jotham 7.- the top of mount Gerizim,] Which overlooked pointedly contrasts, with the mild and unassuming disthe city of Shechem. Deut. xxvii
. 12, 13. Bp. Patrick. positions of his pious and honourable brethren, (repre8. The trees went forth &c.] It hence appears, that sented by the olive tree, the fig tree, and the vine,) the such fictions as these, wherein the most serious truths upstart ambition and arrogance of the wicked and turare represented, were in use among the Jews in ancient bulent Abimelech, represented by the bramble; inviting times, as they are still in Eastern countries. They seem his new and nobler subjects, the cedars of Lebanon, to to have made choice of them for two reasons ; ist, Be- put their trust in his pigmy shadow, which they did cause men would suffer themselves to be reproved in not want, and he was unable to afford them; and this manner, when they would not endure plain words: threatening them imperiously, on their refusal, to send 2nd, Because they heard these fictions with delight and forth a fire from himself, and devour those cedars ;
+ Heb. cast his life.
The Shechemites conspire with Gaal JUDGES.
against Abimelech. and + adventured his life far, and 25 And the men of Shechem set
CHRIST about 1200, delivered you out of the hand of liers in wait for him in the top of the about 1206, Midian :
mountains, and they robbed all that
27 And they went out into the
21 And Jotham ran away, and why should we serve him ?
remove Abimelech. And he said to
come out. 23 Then God sent an evil spirit 30 And when Zebul the ruler of between Abimelech and the men of the city heard the words of Gaal the Shechem; and the men of Shechem son of Ebed, his anger was || kin- || Or, kot. dealt treacherously with Abimelech : dled.
24 That the cruelty done to the 31 And he sent messengers unto threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal Abimelech + privily, saying, Behold, + Heb.
, or, might come, and their blood be laid Gaal the son of Ébed and his bre-o Forman: upon Abimelech their brother, which thren be come to Shechem; and,
slew them; and upon the men of behold, they fortify the city against strengthened Shechem, which + aided him in the thee. killing of his brethren.
32 Now therefore up by night,
his hands to kill.
whereas the fire of the bramble was short and momen own deserts. Dr. S. Clarke. This is an usual form of tary, even to a proverb, Ps. lviii. 9. Dr. Hales. speech in Scripture, and denotes, not any positive ac
20. But if not, let fire come out &c.] This is not a tion, but a permission only, or at most a direction from prediction, but an execration or curse, as appears from God. Stackhouse. the opposition to the foregoing verse, and from ver. 57, the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abiwhere it is called Jotham's curse. Bp. Patrick. The melech :) How could Abimelech hope for fidelity from meaning of the expression, “ let fire come out," is, May them, whom he had made and found traitors to his you prove a mutual destruction to each other. Dr. father's blood ? He, that has been unfaithful to one, Wells.
knows the way to be perfidious, and is only fit to be 23. -- God sent an evil spirit &c.] God so ordered trusted by him who deserves to be deceived. The things in his providence, that they grew jealous and friendship that is begun in evil cannot stand : wickeddistrustful of each other, and fell into discords and dis- ness, both of its own nature, and through the curse of sensions : by which means He intended to punish Abi- God, is ever unsteady; whereas that affection which melech for the cruel murder of his brethren, and the is knit in God is indissoluble. Bp. Hall. men of Shechem for assisting him in the commission of 26. - Gaal the son of Ebed] Gaal was probably a that wickedness. Bp. Patrick. The meaning is, as it known enemy of Abimelech's, who, hearing that the is explained in the following words, God permitted Abi- men of Shechem were on terms of difference with him, melech to be deceived and dealt treacherously with by came to offer them his service against him. Bp. Patrick. the men of Shechem, that his cruelty, and the blood 27. - trode the grapes,] In the East they still tread which he had shed, might come upon him. It is now their grapes after the ancient manner. Dr. Chandler, thing more than an acknowledgment of the justice and in his Travels, says, “ The vintage (near Smyrna) was wisdom of Providence, in suffering wicked men to be now begun; the juice of the grapes was expressed for judicially blinded, that they may fall according to their wine : a man with his feet and legs bare was treading
Before CHRIST about 1206.
+ Heb. as thine hand
He overcometh them,
and soweth the city with salt. Before thou and the people that is with thee, and, behold, the people were come CHRIST about 1206, and lie in wait in the field :
forth out of the city; and he rose 33 And it shall be, that in the up against them, and smote them. morning, as soon as the sun is up, 44 And Abimelech, and the comthou shalt rise early, and set upon pany that was with him, rushed forthe city: and, behold, when he and ward, and stood in the entering of the people that is with him come out the gate of the city: and the two against thee, then mayest thou do to other companies ran upon all the peo
them t as thou shalt find occasion, ple that were in the fields, and slew shall find. 34 1 And Abimelech rose up, and them.
all the people that were with him, by 45 And Abimelech fought against
city, and slew the people that was
36 And when Gaal saw the people, the god Berith.
37 And Gaal spake again and that were with him; and Abimelech
company come along by the plain of and laid it on his shoulder, and said | Or, the re- || Meonenim.
unto the people that were with him, garders of
38 Then said Zebul unto him, What ye have seen + me do, make Heb. 1 Where is now thy mouth, wherewith haste, and do as I have done. thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that 49 And all the people likewise cut we should serve him ? is not this the down every man his bough, and folpeople that thou hast despised? go lowed Abimelech, and put them to out, I pray now, and fight with them. the hold, and set the hold on fire
39 And Gaal went out before the upon them; so that all the men of
about a thousand men and women.
51 But there was a strong tower
up to the top of the tower. 42 And it came to pass on the 52 And Abimelech came unto the morrow, that the people went out tower, and fought against it, and into the field; and they told Abime- went hard unto the door of the tower lech.
to burn it with fire. 43 And he took the people, and 53 And a certain woman a cast a a 2 Sam. 11. divided them into three companies, piece of a millstone
upon Abimelech's and laid wait in the field, and looked, head, and all to brake his scull.
+ Heb. narel.
the fruit in a kind of cistern, with a hole or vent near sufficient to make it perpetually barren, yet this action the bottom, and a vessel beneath to receive the liquor.” was a token of the conqueror's indignation, and implied Burder.
his wishes for its utter desolation. Pyle. See the note 45. - sowed it with salt.] As the last insult of a on Jer, xvii. 6. triumphant and enraged enemy. Salt lands are barren : 53. - and all to brake his scull.] “All-to” or “al-to" thus, though the mere sowing a place with salt is not is entirely. Various instances occur in Chaucer and