Judges 6

1The Israelites for their sin are oppressed by Midian. 7They cry to God; a prophet is sent to reprove them. 11An angel sendeth Gideon to deliver them. 17Gideon asketh a sign; he bringeth flesh, broth, and bread, to the angel, which are all miraculously consumed with fire. 25Gideon destroyeth Baal's altar and grove, and sacrificeth upon an altar which he built unto the Lord. 28The men of his city require him to be put to death; his father defendeth him, and giveth him the name of Jerubbaal. 33Gideon gathereth an army to fight the Midianites. 36The double sign granted according to his prayer.

1AND the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of 1Midian seven years.

1 Or, the Midianites. Hebr. of Midian, and so in this whole history. See of these, Num. 25:17, 18; 31:2, etc.

2And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel 2made them 3the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.

2 Or, prepared, repaired, fitted.

3 To hide and secure themselves in them against the Midianites.

3And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites 4came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the 5east, even they came up against 6them;

4 This they had done previously every year, and now they did it again the seventh year.

5 Who dwelt eastward, especially the Arabians, who were wont to abide in tents. See Judges 8:10, 11; Gen. 29 on verse 1; Job 1 on verse 3. Hebr. children of the east.

6 Namely, Israel, as is said in the beginning of this verse.

4And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto 7Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

7 Situated in the west by the great sea: thus destroying the entire land from East to West.

5For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as 8grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were 9without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.

8 For their army consisted of about an hundred five and thirty thousand fighting men, as may be seen Judges 8:10, besides the revel rout, that do usually follow such kind of camps that look for no resistance or opposition.

9 Hebr. had no number, that is, they could very hardly, by reason of their multitude, be numbered. So Judges 7:12. On the contrary it is said of a small company of people, that they are people of number, that is, easy to be numbered. See Gen. 34 on verse 30.

6And Israel was greatly impoverished 10because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.

10 Hebr. before the face; that is, before, or because of their presence.

7¶And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,

8That the LORD sent a 11prophet 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;

11 Hebr. a man, a prophet. Compare Judges 4 on verse 4.

9And 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;

10And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; feara not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.

a 2 Kings 17:35, 38.

11¶And there came an 12angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto 13Joash the 14Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon 15threshed wheat 16by the winepress, 17to hide it from the 18Midianites.

12 Understand the Son of God, Who, in verses 14, 16, is called by the proper name of God, the Lord, or Jehovah. Compare Gen. 18:17; 48:16. See also Judges 5:23.

13 Because Joash (as it is thought) was the most important man there, or executed the magistrate’s office. Compare verses 31, 32.

14 Of the tribe of Manasseh. See verses 34, 35; Joshua 17:2; 1 Chron. 7:14, 18. There was another Ophrah situated in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:23.

15 Not with oxen (whereof Deut. 25 on verse 4) but with a stick, or flail, as some expound it; to give the less suspicion, or to get speedily some provision.

16 That is, in the place where the winepress or olive-press stood, where (according to the opinion of some) they were not wont to thresh, that no man might perceive it, and that this wheat might be the safer hid and laid up against the approaching want or necessity.

17 That is, to take that wheat along with him in his flight, or to make his father’s house flee, when he would have threshed this wheat for their provision.

18 Who already were drawing near. See verse 33 and the following chapter.

12And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

13And Gideon said unto him, 19Oh my 20Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this 21befallen 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.

19 Of this phrase, or manner of speaking see Gen. 43 on verse 20. Also verse 15.

20 Gideon shows Him civil honor and respect, forasmuch as he yet knew Him to be no more than a man, since He appeared to him in the form and shape of a man.

21 Hebr. hath all this found us?, that is, stricken, is come upon us.

14And the LORD 22looked upon him, and said, Gob in 23this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: 24have not I sent thee?

22 Or, the LORD beheld him, looked upon him; giving him immediately command and power requisite to deliver Israel, as follows.

b 1 Sam. 12:11; Heb. 11:32.

23 Which thou now receivest of Me.

24 Yea indeed, will the Lord say: for thou hearest Me say, Go, with the promise of a good issue. Therefore doubt not but thou shalt accomplish or bring to good effect that for which I give thee a commission. Compare Judges 4 on verse 6.

15And he said unto him, 25Oh my Lord, 26wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my 27family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.

25 See on verse 13.

26 Thus he asks to have further satisfaction and fuller assurance of this high and weighty calling. Compare Luke 1:34.

27 Unto which I belong. It appears from Exod. 18:25; Deut. 1:15 that the people were divided by Moses into thousands, each thousand having their governors or superiors, etc.

16And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as 28one man.

28 As if thou hadst to deal but with one man; that is, thou shalt easily slay them.

17And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a 29sign that thou talkest with me.

29 To assure me that Thou art sent of God for this purpose, that I may entertain and embrace this calling with a good conscience.

18Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth 30my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.

30 As yet he thinks Him to be but a man and a prophet, and therefore according to the manner and custom of the patriarchs, desires in haste to entertain and welcome Him with meat and drink. In verse 22 he first perceives that it was an Angel. Compare herewith Judges 13:15.

19¶And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an 31ephah 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.

31 See Exod. 16 on verse 36.

20And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and 32pour out the broth. And he did so.

32 Upon the meat and the cakes to make the miracle more illustrious and more evident. Compare 1 Kings 18:34.

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 33fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed 34out of his sight.

33 Compare Lev. 9:24; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Chron. 7:1.

34 Understand very quickly and unawares, so that he saw Him no more, whereby he was sore terrified and affrighted, as follows.

22And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! 35for because I have seen an angel of the LORD 36face to face.

35 Namely, I must die. Gideon fears that he must die, because he has seen this vision; as appears from the words of God in the following verse. Compare Judges 13:22; Gen. 16 on verse 13; 32:30; Exod. 33:20; Deut. 5:24, 26.

36 Compare Deut. 5 on verse 4.

23And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.

24Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it 37Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the 38Abi-ezrites.

37 Hebr. Jehovah Schalom. The meaning is, the Lord is our Peace, promises, gives, and sends us now peace. For, first, this Angel, Who was the Lord Christ Himself, is our Peace, and the true Prince of Peace, Isa. 9:6; 53:5; Micah 5:5; Luke 2:14; Acts 10:36; Heb. 7:2. Thus is He also called, The Lord our righteousness, Jer. 23:6; second, He had promised here unto Gideon His peace, as also unto His people peace and deliverance from the Midianites.

38 See on verse 11 and compare verse 34.

25¶And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, 39even the second bullock of 40seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and 41cut down the grove that is by it:

39 Other, and the other, or second; understanding that God had commanded to take two bullocks, but forasmuch as in the sequel only mention is made of this bullock of seven years old, and no command given concerning another, what therewith should be done, therefore the translation in the text is best approved of most interpreters.

40 Even so old, and which had been fatted so many years as Israel’s misery had lasted under the Midianites. This bullock is thought to have been kept and fatted by Joash, for to offer the same unto Baal, according to the idolatrous custom of that time.

41 God will have Gideon to begin his calling to purge the religion.

26And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the 42top of this 43rock, in the 44ordered place, and take the second bullock, and 45offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.

42 Hebr. head.

43 Understand the rock, out of which the fire issued that consumed the meat with the broth, verse 21. Such kind of rocks they used in time of need for a fortress and refuge.

44 Or, orderly, properly. Hebr. in, or, with order, array, fitness. Other, with a log of wood to place it orderly under the bullock for a burnt offering.

45 This was a special command of the Lord in this back-sliding time; otherwise the offering or sacrificing was ordinarily enjoined the priests.

27Then 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.

29And they said 46one to another, Who hath done this 47thing? And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.

46 Hebr. the man to his neighbour.

47 Hebr. word, matter, thing. So in the sequel.

30Then 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.

31And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye 48plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that 49will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead 50for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.

48Contend, dispute; so in the sequel.

49 That is, he who shall further dare to own his cause and plead or speak before him. It seems that previously Joash, through human frailty, yielded or connived at the peoples’ wickedness, but now being strengthened and confirmed by this Divine appearance, he sets himself strongly against it.

50 Or, let him plead against him (Gideon) that he, etc.

32Therefore on that day 51he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal 52plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.

51 Joash called his son Gideon, Jerubbaal, that is, let Baal contend, or Baal shall contend. See Judges 7:1.

52 Or, shall contend, plead. Some perceive that the people, being as it were drowned in idolatry, expected that Baal would punish this Gideon in a special manner, but finding the contrary, followed him the more eagerly, as a stout and valiant champion of God.

33¶Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went 53over, and pitched in the valley of 54Jezreel.

53 Over the Jordan. See Judges 7:24.

54 Which was situated in Issachar, on the other side of mount Gilboa, which was between Manasseh and Issachar, see Joshua 19:18, ending westward by the city of Jezreel. There was another Jezreel in Judah, Joshua 15:56.

34But the Spirit of the LORD 55came upon Gideon, and he 56blew a trumpet; and 57Abi-ezer was gathered after him.

55 Or, clothed him, namely, with such gifts of wisdom, zeal, courage, and valor, as the Spirit of the Lord knew to be needful for him, as weapons for this work. See of this phrase also, 1 Chron. 12:18; 2 Chron. 24:20; Luke 24:49; Rom. 13:14. And compare Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:12.

56 That is, caused it to be blown, as Judges 3:27.

57 Hebr. Abi-ezer, that is, they, who were of the family or kindred of Gideon and his father Joash (verse 11), were called together and gathered themselves unto him, to follow him. Also in the sequel.

35And he sent messengers throughout 58all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto 59Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

58 Because the one half tribe dwelt on this, and the other half on the other side Jordan.

59 These three tribes were situated nearest and one by another, toward the north, and at the sea. In Issachar, being situated between Manasseh and Zebulon, was the entire army of the enemy, as verse 33.

36¶And Gideon 60said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,

60 Other, Gideon had said; perceiving that this was done previously, before Gideon went up against the Midianites; and that it is here again re-iterated as a reason, whereby Gideon, being fully strengthened and confirmed in his faith, embraced and executed the calling with zeal and fervency of spirit. It is worthy our observation, that God granted Gideon’s request without any reprehension at all; from which, as also from the manner of his request, it plainly appears, that he requested it not out of diffidence and unbelief, but out of humility, for the strengthening and confirming of his faith.

37Behold, I will put a 61fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon 62all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.

61 Or, ground, yard, court-place; understand a level, uncultivated area, which was outdoors in the open air.

62 Understand the other earth thereabout, and also verse 39.

38And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringedc the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.

c wrung

39And Gideon said unto God, Letd 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.

d Gen. 18:32.

40And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.