11. Gideon and Christ
A different aspect of the work of Gideon now
calls for consideration. One without which most studies of Old Testament history
remain lop-sided. By all means let Gideon’s experiences be pondered as a
demonstration of the visible hand of God. By all means let the example of faith
and godliness be allowed to have due influence on the lives of the saints of God
today. But let not the divine foreshadowing of Christ be ignored, especially
when this intention is so plainly expounded by the Scripture of Truth
Four separate passages testify to this fact:
Isaiah 9: “For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the
rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian. For all
the armour of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood
shall even be for burning, for fuel or fire. For unto us a child is born, unto
us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name
shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of
Isaiah 10 describes the rout of the northern
invader in these words: “As in the slaughter of Midian at the rock
Oreb.” The entire passage, verses 20 to 27, seems to be studded with
allusions back to the circumstances of Gideon’s
Psalm 83 can only find clearness of meaning in
the time of Jacob’s trouble yet to come, and embedded in the midst of that
psalm are these words: “Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to
Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kishon: Which perished at En-dor: they
became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb:
yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: who said, Let us
take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.” It is interesting to
notice that the verses following on these are reminiscent of the cherubim vision
alluded to earlier (v. 13-15).
The fourth of these scriptures, Psalm 72:
“He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.” Here
particularly, it is to be observed that the word translated “mown
grass” really means fleece, and is virtually identical with the word for
fleece in Judges 6:37ff, the sign given to Gideon.
The testimony of one of the foregoing passages,
by itself, might be ambiguous. But taken together they establish beyond
reasonable doubt, for the believer in God’s word, that Gideon was divinely
intended as a miniature of the long-promised Messiah. An examination of the
details of this Messianic type may well surprise even those who are accustomed
to discern such significance in the law and the prophets.
Here then are the details of Gideon as a type of
This list should not be regarded as being by any
means exhaustive. It may however serve as a guide to the interpretation of other
- Heralded by a prophet preaching
- He first made an onslaught on the adversary
— the devil — alone, yet not unassisted.
the same action, he built an altar, and himself offered sacrifice, as though he
were a priest.
- The altar was named Jehovah-Shalom
— the Lord of Peace.
- His own people cried out
against his worthy action.
- A sign, a prophecy, of dew
— first on the fleece, the ground being dry — and then on the
ground, the fleece being dry: thus is foreshadowed the work of the Holy Spirit,
first in Israel and later more fully among the
- Those who were gathered unto him, by the sound
of the trumpet, were reduced to a faithful remnant, being separated to him by
water, and the expression of their abhorrence of all false worship. Those who
lapped like dogs foreshadowed Gentiles, faithful to their
- The coming victory was symbolised in a cake of
bread — made from barley (Lev. 23:10 —
- The destruction of the Midianite host
prefigures the greater destruction of the Last Day oppressor, in the same plain
- A victory accompanied by the blast of
trumpets, the smashing of earthenware vessels and the manifestation of torches
of fire, hitherto smouldering unseen.
- A victory without
weapons for the Lord’s people who “look on me and do
- “Every man’s sword against
his fellow.” The same words come in Ezekiel
- The wolf (Oreb) and the raven (Zeeb) no longer
ravage the flock of God.
- These enemies meet their end at
the very place which means an entering into inheritance for the people of God
- Many details here prefigure the day of
judgment. The names of those to be punished were written down. See RV margin of
8:14. There was one ground of condemnation — it was this: “They were
my brethren.” And it was only the deliverer himself who executed
- Zebah means sacrifice and Zalmunna means,
probably, shadow withheld: Num. 14:9.
words: “The Lord shall rule over you” — it is the
- The leader is to be priest also, but not after
the order of Aaron.
- Seventy sons correspond in number
with the nations of the world. (Genesis 10 lists 70
Here, once again, is the Old Testament witness to
Christ (Heb. 1:1).