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widow, as it was not agreeable to his interest to do so; he therefore resigned her to Boaz; and Naomi had the felicity of rejoicing, not only in the marriage of Ruth, but in the additional comfort of a son which Boaz and Ruth were afterwards blessed with, who was named Obed. This child Naomi regarded as a blessing to herself, as he was entitled to the inheritance of Elimelech, according to the Jewish law.
Thus we find, that though it had pleased God to separate the Jews às á peculiar people; yet the Gentiles or Heathens were not excluded from His grace, if they repented and were converted to His holy law. Woré shipping idols was the cause of the LORD's forsaking them, but he was ready at all times to accept their repentance, of which Ruth is a remarkable instance; for she was not only admitted into the society of God's people, but was honoured amongst those who are reckoned in the genealogy of the promised Saviour. Her son Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of king Dávid.
GIDEON APPOINTED TO DELIVER ISRAEL.
From Judges, Chap. vi. AND the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel : and because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was when Israel had sown, that the MidianL 2
ites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
For they came up with their cattle, and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude: for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.
And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites: and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage,
And I' delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land.
And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God, fear not the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell : but ye have not obeyed my voice.
And there came the angel of the LORD and sat under an oak, which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the wine-press, to hide it from the Midianites.
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
And Gideon said unto him, Oh, my lord! if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites : have not I sent thee?
And he said unto him, Oh, my lord! wherewith shall I save Israel? behold my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me: depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephiah of flour : the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.
And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh, and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.
Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh, and the unleavened cakes: and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh, and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.
And when Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord), Gideon said, Alas! O Lord God! for because I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.
And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not, thou shalt not die.
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.
And it came to pass the same night that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it; and build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt-sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.
Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered
the altar that was built. And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? and when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.
Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.
And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him ? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death, whilst it is yet morning: if he be a God, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.
Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
In the days of Balak and Balaam, the people of Israel almost entirely destroyed the Midianites, but it is likely, that some of them saved themselves by flight into other countries, and that after the Israelites were settled in Canaan, they returned to their own country again, and in two hundred years they might have repeopled the land, and still retain the name of Midianites.
We are told an ANGEL of the Lord appeared unto Gideon, acquainting him that he was chosen to be the deliverer of Israel. He who assumed the form of an Angel, appears, by the subsequent conversation, to have been no other than the LORD Himself; but Gideon did not at first discover who talked with him; he seems to have thought that a prophet was sent to him; and being in great despondency of mind, he began to express his doubts of deliverance; the LORD then in His own name promised to save Israel, saying, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. Gideon could scarcely believe that the LORD manifested His Divine Presence in so humble a form, and that He had actually endued him with strength, and abilities for the task required of him; he therefore asked for a sign that he might be convinced his imagination did not deceive him. Gideon then hastened into the house, and brought forth provisions to refresh his guest, should he
prove to be a man, or to offer as a sacrifice, if he were the LORD. He had soon a very satisfactory sign, for his present was accepted as a sacrifice, which would not have been the case had the AnGEL been a created being. Gideon expressed his conviction, by crying out “Alas, O LORD God, for because I have seen the ANGEL of the LORD;" upon which L 4