Harry Whittaker
Judges And Ruth

8. The Cherubim of Glory

At this point there must be a pause to consider in greater detail some of the extraordinary features of this campaign.

Certain outstanding difficulties were mentioned earlier:

To these must be added:

All these details, and a number of others, fit into the picture with remarkable ease once a certain feature of the story is properly grasped, namely, that before preparations for the struggle were complete there had appeared in the sight of the men of Israel and also to the astonished gaze of the Midianites a vision of the Cherubim of Glory, “the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof”, “the chariots of God which are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels”.

Recalling the over-powering grandeur of the vision of the Cherubim chariot as seen by Ezekiel, with its wheels of fire, its flashing lightning, the accompanying noise of thunder and tempest — with all this in mind, certain details of the Gideon story are worth a second look:

(a) “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon” is a strange battle cry for men using no weapon in the fight. But let it be realised how close is the connection is Scripture between “the sword of the Lord” and the Cherubim of Glory, and much that is mystifying will then become plain. The following should be considered: “So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24). (A thoughtful student will not require to be warned against thinking of angels in white robes brandishing flaming swords in all directions. For a fuller description of what Adam and Eve saw, reference should be made to Ezekiel 1.)

“Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing n the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face” (Num. 22:31).

“If I whet my glittering sword (RVm: ‘the lightning of my sword’) and mine hand take hold of judgement” (Deut. 32:41).

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand” (Josh. 5:13; see also 1 Chron. 21:12; Isa. 30:30 with 31:8 and 37:36; Ezek. 38:21).

(b) The smashing of earthenware jars, the wheeling of torches and the thunderous shout of the three hundred are now seen to be a deliberate human representation of the Cherubim of Glory, and the chariot of the Lord. Consider some of the details from Ezekiel’s description of the cherubim, and mark the similarity with Gideon’s arrangements: “a stormy wind out of the flashing continually....a brightness out of the midst of the fire....their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches....out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning....wheels like unto the colour of a beryl....a wheel in the midst of a wheel....full of eyes round about....the spirit of life was in the wheels....I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an host.” Add to these further details from the appearance of the glory of the Lord on mount Sinai: “thunders and lightnings....and the voice of a trumpet exceeding loud”; and from the vision of the Cherubim of Glory in Rev. 4: “the it were of a trumpet talking with me....lightnings, thunderings and voices”. (Compare also 2 Thes. 1:7,8; Matt. 24:31; Zech. 9:14; there are many other passages.)

(c) “A cake of barley bread tumbled into the host.” This most unusual word occurs again in Genesis 3:24 to describe the “cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way.” The immediate interpretation: “This is none else than the sword of Gideon” is now more easily understood, especially when it is realised that the Hebrew words for “sword” and “cherub” sound very much alike.

(d) If there had already been a manifestation of the cherubim, the fearfulness of the Midianite host is immediately explained. Compare the remarkable incident at Dothan: “And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 Kgs. 6:17). Also, “the Lord made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians to come upon us” (2 Kgs. 7:6).

(e) The presence of so many fearful men among those who obeyed Gideon’s call is also explained. They came, although without faith and against their own inclination, because of the divine imperative which the cherubim vision implied

Next Next Next