The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Judges 6

Jdg 6:1

Jdg 6-8: Typical history of Gideon, as applied to Christ:
(a) Condition of land, slavery, apostasy (6:1-10).
(b) Christ's first advent, labor in night, sacrifice (6:11-32).
(c) Judgment of household (7:1-8).
(d) Subjugation of Gentiles (7:9-25).
(e) Gideon becomes judge (8:28).

Jdg 6-8: Cp with Psa 72: Psa 72, written near end of David's life (2Sa 23). Cp incident of 2Sa 24: the fatal numbering of Israel. David learns that numbers are not important: same lesson as Gideon's 300 (Jdg 6:37n).


Jdg 8:18,19: children of king
Psa 72:1: king's son
Jdg 6:2: dwelling in mountains
Psa 72:3: mountains shall bring peace
Jdg 6-8: Gideon a judge
Psa 72:2: he shall judge
Jdg 6:15: my family is poor
Psa 72:4: poor and needy
Jdg 7:13, etc: Midianite oppressors
Psa 72:4: break in pieces the oppressor
Jdg 6:37-40
Psa 72:6: showers upon mown grass / fleece, then earth
Jdg 8:28: subdue
Psa 72:9: bow, lick dust
Jdg 8:34: gold earrings
Psa 72:10,15: gold
Jdg 6:11: Gideon threshing wheat... Jdg 7:13: barley bread and tents of Midian
Psa 72:16: handfuls of grain

MIDIANITES: "Midian" sig "place of judgment". Descendants of Abraham through Keturah (Gen 25:2). Lived south and east of Edom.

Jdg 6:3

AMALEKITES: Prob descendants of Amalek, Esau's grandson (Gen 36:12,16; 1Ch 1:36), but cp Gen 14:7; Num 24:20. See Lesson, Amalek.

EASTERN PEOPLES: General name for Arabs (Gen 25:6; Job 1:3).

Ct Josh 24:13: "So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant."

Jdg 6:5

LIVESTOCK: Herds of camels... as military weapons here.

Jdg 6:7

"Thus Israel was brought very low and brought also to the acknowledgement of their apostasy, although -- as will be seen by and by -- that repentance was kindled in the hearts of only a small minority in the first instance; and this in spite of the lesson of their hardship being driven home to them by a prophet of the Lord, probably at the time of Passover. The prophet was probably Phinehas the high priest, or his son. They were given a blunt reminder of God's past deliverances and how they owed to Him a faithfulness such as they had not shown (Jdg 6:8-10)" (WJR).

Jdg 6:8

Vv 8,9: Typical: God, through Christ, has delivered us from "Egypt" (Rev 11:8), brought us from house of bondage (Gal 5:1), delivered us from oppression of death (Heb 2:14,15), and led us to inherit the land (Gal 3:9). Let us not neglect this great salvation (Heb 2:3), as did the Jews.

THIS IS WHAT THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, SAYS: I BROUGHT YOU UP OUT OF EGYPT, OUT OF THE LAND OF SLAVERY: Not inappropriately this verse echoes the introduction to the Ten Commandments, the Covenant: Exo 20:2.

Jdg 6:10

AMORITES: "Highlanders" (Jos 24:15; 1Ki 21:26; Gen 15:16,21; Deu 1:20). Most powerful of Canaanite tribes (Amo 2:9), and thus used to designate all the tribes.

BUT YOU HAVE NOT LISTENED TO ME: The basic cause of all suffering.

Jdg 6:11

Blessings given in the path of home duty: shepherds at night (Luk 2:8-20), Moses keeping flock (Exo 3:1,2), David in sheepfolds (Psa 78:70), Gideon threshing (Jdg 6:11,12), Abraham in tent-door (Gen 18:1), and a woman coming to draw water (Joh 4:7,26).

OAK: "Elah" = "strength". Oak ref to God's covenant with Abraham (Gen 12:6; Jos 24:26; Jdg 9:6).

OPHRAH: Town in nw of Manasseh (v 15), very near Shechem (Jdg 9:1-5), where God gave covenant to Abraham (Gen 12:6).

JOASH: "Yahweh has given".

ABIEZRITE: "God is help". Family of Abiezer, descendant of Makir, firstborn of Manasseh (Jos 17:1,2; Num 26:20-30). A distinguished family (Jdg 5:14; 8:18).

"Gideon, the son of Joash the Abiezrite, belonged to the senior family of the Gileadites (Josh 17:1,2; 1Ch 7:17,18), whose inheritance was on the east side of Jordan. But evidently the inroads of the Bedouin had driven them to seek safer homes with the other branch of the tribe of Manasseh, possibly in the Manassite enclave in Issachar (Josh 17:11)" (WJR).

GIDEON: Sig "hewer down", as he did to idols (Jdg 6:25). See Heb 11:32: typ of us, who hew down natural idols with sword of Spirit (Eph 6:17). See Lesson, Gideon as a type of Christ.

IN A WINEPRESS: Approx 25 ft deep! To hide the grain from the Midianites: an act of desperation. (Threshing was normally done on an elevated spot: LB 448.)

"Gideon was attempting the frustrating and well-nigh impossible task of threshing corn in a wine-press. He had brought out a few bushels of wheat from the cave where it had been stowed away from the depredations of the enemy, and even as he worked, he feared lest he should be surprised by them in the very act.

"Threshing called for a high level rock platform, exposed to all the breezes of heaven. What bigger contrast could there be with the place Gideon had chosen -- a small, restricted hollow dug in the side of a wadi. How irksome such a task must have been! But at all costs the precious grain must be preserved" (WJR).

Jdg 6:12

THE ANGEL OF THE LORD: This angel of the Lord is called "the LORD" (v 14), on the simple theophany principle that those through whom God operates are called by His Name.

THE LORD IS WITH YOU: As Boaz told his workers (Rth 2:4).

MIGHTY WARRIOR: Gideon possessed a godly character, having stood against idolatry (see v 29, where he was clearly known to have been responsible for destroying the idol). However, these are strange words to Gideon in his present secretive state.

"In place of the usual 'Shalom', the angel used what was a familiar greeting of the lord of the harvest (Rth 2:4; Psa 129:7,8; 2Th 3:16). It sounded ironically in Gideon's ears. So, too, did the description of himself as 'a mighty man of valour', for if ever there was a man who lacked confidence in himself it was Gideon (Jdg 6:11,15,27,39; 7:10). Before very long he was to learn that such are the men through whom God prefers to work, and through whom God can work best. He was to learn, too, that the harvest greeting was a prophecy of Heaven's bounty soon to come upon them again" (WJR).

Jdg 6:13

Notice that Gideon had been listening to the prophet (v 9).

IF THE LORD IS WITH US: The change of pronoun ("you" to "us") showing how completely Gideon put first the well-being of the people, and thought little of his own prosperity. (Here, surely, he was referring to the prophetic message recently communicated.)

Jdg 6:14

THE LORD TURNED: "And looked upon him" (AV). The angel merely looked at Gideon in answer to his question, and then Gideon realized that Israel suffered because of its apostasy, with its center at his father's house (Jdg 6:25).

GO IN THE STRENGTH YOU HAVE: Cp Isa 40:29-31; 2Co 12:9,10; Heb 11:32,34 (last 3 phrases).

AM I NOT SENDING YOU?: That is, 'receive the victory over them by me, the angel of God, in this commission' (2Co 12:9,10; Heb 11:32,34).

Jdg 6:15

MY CLAN IS THE WEAKEST IN MANASSEH: Gideon's once-royal family had sunk in esteem: a type of the house of David (Isa 11:1) and Bethlehem (Mic 5:2) at the birth of Jesus. Cp Joh 7:42; Act 15:16.

Cp this and Jdg 7:16 with 1Sa 9:21; 11:11 -- Saul's hero-worship and conscious imitation of Gideon.

Jdg 6:16

Cp Christ's words in Mat 28:19,20.

ALL... TOGETHER: Lit, "as one man": cp Jdg 20:1-8. As one man in unity of purpose and action. As one man, ie in a single decisive blow. Gideon was the man of Yahweh, the man of valor (Jdg 6:12). Sym Christ, the one man or one body (1Co 12:12), with 300 parts!

Jdg 6:17

Gideon, in turn, was comparing his own experience to that of Moses in Exo 3. Note here vv 8,13,14,15,16,17,21.

GIVE ME A SIGN: As Moses had asked (Exo 4:1-8). Gideon had previously refd to Moses (Jdg 6:13).

Jdg 6:19

Vv 19-21: "The sign that he sought was the acceptance of a sacrifice, such as he now felt to be necessary, for -- without direct rebuke -- the apostasy of his people was being brought home to him. With as little delay as possible he produced a young goat as a peace-offering. Perhaps he had also in mind that a kid of the goats was the prescribed sin-offering of a ruler of the people (Lev 4:22,23).

"He brought, in addition, a meal-offering of exceptional quantity -- an ephah of flour (more than half a hundred weight!) baked into cakes, and this, at a time when kid and meal alike could hardly be spared.

"Thus in these offerings he expressed, without a word spoken, his consciousness of the need for expiation of sin, his earnest seeking for fellowship with God, and his desire (symbolized by the meal-offering) to dedicate the work of his life to God.

"So perhaps he was not altogether surprised when commanded to place both offerings on a nearby rock and to drench them in the broth of the sacrifice. A touch of the angel's rod, and all was consumed in a roar on divine fire. It was an anticipation of Elijah's experience on Mount Carmel. Sin-offering, peace-offering, meal-offering -- all were become an instantaneous burnt-offering, a sweet savour unto the Lord, symbolizing that, from now on, Gideon was to be wholly and entirely given to the holy work of his God and to the deliverance of the people of his God.

"Thus Gideon had the sign he craved. With it his inkling became a certainty, and he shrank away aghast that he in his sins had talked face to face with an archangel from the very presence of Omnipotence. He had neither covered his eyes nor removed the sandals from his feet. Then how could he expect to live?

"These surging doubts were quickly silenced by a firm angelic assurance, and his mind was quickly diverted to the work that lay before him -- immediate drastic action against the canker of idolatry. Baal's altar must remain no longer, and the foul phallic symbol of all the beastly practices associated with that cult must be utterly destroyed. Chicken-hearted Gideon, thou mighty man of valour, see thou to it!

"And the angel departed" (WJR).

A YOUNG GOAT: The kid, totally consumed (Jdg 6:21), thus a burnt offering, showing allegiance to truth, dedication of head, ft, flesh to God (Lev 1:3-9).

WITHOUT YEAST: Sig sincerity and truth (1Co 5:7).

Jdg 6:20

ROCK: "Selah", usually an elevated crag or outcropping, an almost inaccessible location. (Moses was to speak to the "sela" in Num 20.)

POUR OUT THE BROTH: As Elijah poured out the water on the offering: 1Ki 18:33,34.

Jdg 6:21

TOUCHED THE MEAT AND THE UNLEAVENED BREAD: Thus performing the function of the High Priest (Lev 1:6-9).

FIRE FLARED FROM THE ROCK: This is the divine method of showing approval (Lev 9:24; 1Ki 18:38; 1Ch 21:26; 2Ch 7:1; 2Sa 22:9,13; Psa 20:3; Jdg 13:19,20; Gen 4:4/Heb 11:4). For Christ, see Heb 10:12.

ROCK: Heb "tzur", an immovable boulder or refuge (Moses struck a "tzur", typ of Christ, in Exo 17). "Out of the rock" comes water (Exo 17:6) and honey (Psa 81:16).

Jdg 6:23

PEACE: Peace is followed by righteousness, which Gideon achieved through sacrifice. Thus he typifies Christ, who found peace for himself, and then achieved it for others (Eph 2:14,15; Heb 7:26,27).

Jdg 6:24

THE LORD IS PEACE: Yahweh-shalom: He who shall be Peace. Made of unhewn stone (ie Exo 20:24). Christ is our altar (Heb 13:10), our peace (Eph 2:14).

Jdg 6:25

Vv 25-31: Gideon cleanses his father's house (typ Christ's first advent).

THAT SAME NIGHT: Just as Christ's first work was performed in the "night" of apostasy in Israel (Joh 9:34; 12:35).

TAKE THE SECOND BULL: To help pull down the altar.

SEVEN YEARS OLD: This one was offered on the new altar (Jdg 6:38). 7 years old: 7 is the number of covenant (cp Jdg 6:1).

ALTAR TO BAAL: Baal-worship: first in Moab and Midian in Moses' day (Num 22:4,41; 25:3), as Baal-Peor, led by daughter of prince of Midian (Num 25:18). For centuries Baal-worship continued (1Ki 16:31; 2Ch 17:3; Hos 2:8; 2Ki 21:3).

ASHERAH: See Lesson, Asherah.

Jdg 6:26

The wood of the idol Ashtoreth was to feed the divine fire on God's altar (note Isa 44:13-20).

A PROPER KIND: According to the provisions of the Law, unhewn stones (Exo 20:24), in ct altars of brick (ie Isa 65:3), which sym man's reasoning.

Jdg 6:27

THE MEN OF THE TOWN: Canaanite enthusiasts for Baal.

The men of the town, typ Christ's half-bros and friends, who opposed his ministry (Psa 68:8; Joh 1:11).

Jdg 6:28

IN THE MORNING: The deed of Gideon could no longer be hidden. Typ Christ in 2 ways: (1) resurrection, early in morning (Joh 20:5-8), destroying the power of death (Heb 2:14); (2) morning of kingdom, when idols are cast down (Isa 2:18,20).

Jdg 6:29

GIDEON... DID IT: Gideon was known by reputation as a man of Yahweh.

Jdg 6:30

HE MUST DIE: Cp Christ in Luk 22:2.

Jdg 6:31

Joash is converted by his son. He tells men of city to wait and see if Baal will act in his own behalf (cp Elijah on Carmel: 1Ki 18). See Psa 109:6,7.

THE HOSTILE CROWD AROUND HIM: "All that stood against him" (AV). A legal expression; cp Psa 109:6,7; Zec 3:1.

HE CAN DEFEND HIMSELF: Or "plead his own cause". A very different attitude from v 25. Did Elijah build his own faith on Gideon's experience? Not only in this detail, but also vv 20,21.

Jdg 6:33

Vv 33-40: Gideon prepares to oppose the Midianites.

VALLEY OF JEZREEL: Low flat plain, east end of valley of Esdraelon.

Jdg 6:34

The Spirit of God: in Daniel (Dan 5:11); in Joseph (Gen 41:38); clothed Gideon (Jdg 6:34); clothed Amasai (1Ch 12:18); clothed Zechariah (2Ch 24:20); came upon Balaam (Num 24:2); came upon Saul (1Sa 10:10).

TRUMPET: To call to battle (Num 10; see Eze 33:3n).

Jdg 6:35

These tribes were easily accessible to locality (LB 450).

Jdg 6:36

Vv 36-40: Sign of the fleece. Cp request of Abraham (Gen 15:18; 18:27,30,32), Moses (Exo 33:16-18).

See Article, Dew and the fleece, the, the.

Jdg 6:37

Ref the sacrificial lamb of God, a sheep before its shearers (Isa 53:7n).

WOOL FLEECE: Heb "gizzah": sw "mown grass" of Psa 72:6. The fruit of the sheep; the perfect works of Christ, Which becomes a covering for others.

THRESHING FLOOR: Jdg 6:11, where the "fruits" are gathered in. This is a place of hiding, where the enemy cannot see. Cp 2Sa 24:17,18: angel appears to David in a threshing floor, in Jebus, the later temple site. There David builds an altar, and the plague is stayed from the people. Similar lessons of 2 incidents: Numbers for military purposes are unimportant.

Jdg 6:38

Christ's resurrection produces water of life. Christ is firstfruits.

EARLY THE NEXT DAY: Early prayers and devotions: Abraham got up very early to stand before the Lord (Gen 19:27). Jacob woke up with the first light of the morning to worship God after having seen a vision of angels in the night (Gen 28:18). Moses went early to meet the Lord at Sinai (Exo 34:4). Joshua got an early start when he prepared to capture Jericho (Jos 6:12). Gideon made his way at dawn to examine the fleece he had placed on the ground to discern Yahweh's will (Jdg 6:38). Job left his bed at an early hour to offer sacrifices to the Lord in behalf of his children (Job 1:5).

DEW: Resurrection (Isa 26:19; Psa 110:3; 133:3). Dew = favor of king (Pro 19:12). Reltd to manna in Num 11:9.

A BOWLFUL OF WATER: A vessel to store up results of miracle. Cp pot of manna in wilderness, stored in ark. Christ = hidden manna, our life stored up in heaven.

Jdg 6:39

THE GROUND: Sym dew of resurrection, falling first upon Christ (Jdg 6:37), and then next upon the saints.

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