March 27th Judges, 6
6v1-24 Gideon’s call
1: 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. 2: 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. 3: And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; 4: 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. 5: 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. 6: And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD. 7: And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, 8: That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 9: 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; 10: 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. 11: And there came an 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 winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12: And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 13: 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. 14: 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? 15: 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. 16: And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. 17: And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me. 18: 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. 19: And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah 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. 20: 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. 21: 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. 22: And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. 23: And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. 24: 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.
6v25-32 Gideon destroys the altar to Baal
25: 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: 26: 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. 27: 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. 28: 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 upon the altar that was built. 29: And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. 30: 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. 31: 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. 32: Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
6v33-7v8 Gideon prepares for battle
33: Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. 34: But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abi-ezer was gathered after him. 35: And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36: And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, 37: Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. 38: And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39: And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. 40: And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
1: Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2: And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. 3: Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. 4: And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. 5: So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. 6: And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. 7: And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. 8: So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.
7v9-25 The battle against Midian
9: And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. 10: But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: 11: And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. 12: And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude. 13: And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. 14: And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host. 15: And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. 16: And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. 17: And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. 18: When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 19: So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. 20: And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 21: And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. 22: 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 Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath. 23: And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites. 24: And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. 25: And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.
8v1-21 Gideon pursues the Kings
1: And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply. 2: And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abi-ezer? 3: God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that. 4: And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. 5: And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. 6: And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army? 7: And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers. 8: And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them likewise: and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him. 9: And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower. 10: Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east: for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword. 11: And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure. 12: And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host. 13: And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up, 14: And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men. 15: And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary? 16: And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. 17: And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city. 18: Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king. 19: And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you. 20: And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth. 21: Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.
8v22-35 Gideon delivers Israel 40 yrs
22: Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. 23: And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you. 24: And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25: And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey. 26: And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks. 27: And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house. 28: Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon. 29: And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. 30: And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. 31: And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 32: And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites. 33: And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. 34: And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: 35: Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel.
As a result of Deborah’s and Baraks victory Israel had rest from their enemies for 40 years. However when Deboarah died the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and the Lord delivered them into the hands of their enemies the Midianies. The Midianites were the tribes that lived in the wilderness near to Sinai. This was where Moses lived for 40 years with his wife and her family. The children of Israel served Midian for seven years. Gideon lived through this oppression until the day when the Lord lifted him up to deliver Israel. Israel had to run away from the Midianites and live in caves and in the mountains. The Amelekites also invaded and the people of the east (Babylonians). The invading armies covered the groud for numbers it was a huge army. They took everything from crops to livestock until Israel was starving. It this time the Children of Israel cried to the Lord. The first thing that the Lord did was to send a prophet to tell them of their history (wwhich was the context of their existence) This prophet explained what the situation was and why they were starving. The next thing was that an angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon who was threshig wheat in the wine press. It’s interesting that this mighty man was able to have a crop of wheat in the middle of enemy occupied country and he was threshing in in the pit where wine was trodden. The wine harvest had probably failed and threashing it here would save every last grain of corn. The angel said to him the Lord is with you but Gideon relied if the Lord was with us then why are we starving? And whee are all the miracles that our Fathers told us about? The Lord brought us up out of Egypt but now the Lord has forsaken us. The Lord looked on him and said, go in your full strength and you will save Israel from the Midianites. Have set you. Then Gideon said, how can l save Israel? My family is poor and l am the youngest in my family. The LORD replied I will definitely go with you and you will smite the Midianites like one man. Then Gideon said if l have found grace in your sight then give me a sign that you are talking to me. (Israel always seeks a sign) Receiving confirmation from the Lord of the certainty of the call of God is something that any man of God might seek. However we must never insist on how the Lord will confirm his will. Gideon went and prepared a meal of goat meat, unleavened cakes in a basket and soup. When this was presented to the angel the angel said put the meat on this rock with the unleaven cakes and pour out the soup. Gideon did so. Then the angel touched it and a fire came out of the rock and consumed them. Gideon covered his face saying l have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. Then the LORD spoke to him says Peace be to you. You are not going to die. There Gideon built an altar to the Lord. That same night the Lord told Gideon to go and take the second bullock 7 years old (he was born when the Midianites came into the land) and go and destroy the altar to Baal and cut down the trees of the place of the worship of Baal. Gideon took ten men with him and they went that night because he was afraid to do it in the day. On the reconstructed altar Gideon had offered the bullock to the LORD. In the morning the men of Baal woke up and were furious to find their altar destroyed. Then Baal worshippers demanded the death of Gideon but The answer they got was let Baal kill him. Next we see Gideon preparing for Battle. First we see that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (This is not the same as the experience of the Christian. For the Christian the Holy Spirit comes to abide for ever but in OT times the Spirit came on a man to enable him to do the work of God which was far beyod human ability) The Midianites, Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered in the valley of Jezreel. Gideon blew the trumpet and called on all Israel to gether to him. Then we get the interesting case of the fleece. In this way Gideon’s personal faith in God was strengthened. At this time Gideons name was changed to Jerubbaal. Then the Lord said something very interesting, he told Gideon that the number of his army was too big!! The victory was to be the LORD’s and Israel would never be able to say that they had won the victory. The first thing was to say that if anyone was afraid then they could go home. 22,000 went home only 10,000 remained. Then the Lord said there are still too many. So the army was sifted to only 300 - those who were really experienced soldiers. The 300 took food and went to camp against the Midianites. Then the Lord told Gideon to go down with his servant into the camp of the Midianites to listen to them. When they heard that the Lord was speaking in a dream saying that they would be destroyed by Israel Gideon was encouraged. Gideon returned and worshipped the Lord and told the 300 that they would ave victory that night. (All of Gideons battles were faught at night) Gideon then divided the 300 into three companies and gave them pitchers in which were torches and they had trumpets with them. They surrounded the Midianites at midnight and they stood every man in his place and they broke the pitchers lighted the torches and blew the trumpets and they shouted, the sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. The Midianites woke up terrified and started killing everyone in their path. Everyone killed his neighbour. The huge army was routed and fled and the rest of the children of Israel chased them even to the Jordan. They killed the kings of the Midianites and Amorites and children of the east. The victory was total victory. Then the men of Ephraim spoke sharply to Gideon because they had not been invited to fight. But Gideon said you won te battle by killing the kings of the enemy. Gideon and the 300 passed over the Jordan ‘feint yet pursuing’. Gideon asked for bread for his men from the people at Succoth. But they refused to give bread because the battle was not over. Gideon promised judgment on them when he returned. Then he went to Penuel and he had the same response. Gideon said when l return l will break this tower. Eventually Gideon found the kings and executed them and destroyed the huge army. On his retun Gideon captured the elders of the city and scourged them with briars of the wilderness and the tower he destroyed. Gideon offered an opportunity to his youngest to kill the kings but being young he was afraid. So Gideon executed them. After the battle the men of Israel asked Gideon to rule over them but he refused, saying the Lord will rule over you. Gideon took the earrings of the Ismarlites and the gold it was a huge booty but it proved to be a snare to Gideon. The land had peace for 40 years and Gideon had 70 sons. He had many wives and concubines. However when Gideon died the children of Israel forsook the Lord and forgot Gideons family.