Daily reading

Today’s reading is: Jdg. 7:1-9:21


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Judges Chapter Seven

  1. Gideon’s volunteer army of 32,000 soldiers was too large for God to receive all the glory (Jdg. 7:1-8).
    1. Following the Lord’s instructions, Gideon dismissed 22,000 cowards, and was left with 10,000 soldiers who were there by faith (Jdg. 7:3; Deut. 20:8).
    2. Following the Lord’s instructions, Gideon dismissed 9,700 soldiers who kneeled to drink, and kept the 300 soldiers, who lapped their water like a dog (Jdg. 7:5,6).
  2. Gideon and his 300 water lappers were then ready to defeat Midian (Jdg. 7:7,8).
  3. Gideon and his armor bearer scouted the Midianite camp, and received even more encouragement from the Lord (Jdg. 7:9-14).
  4. Gideon’s 300 men held a torch in one hand and a trumpet in the other (no swords), while the Lord put Midian to flight (Jdg. 7:15-22).
    1. The Midianite, Amalekite, and other eastern nomads were thrown into a panic.
    2. These “allies” turned against one another, and then turned to flee from Israel.
  5. Gideon then reassembled his previous army of Naphtali, Asher, & Manasseh, and pursued the fleeing Midianites (Jdg. 7:23).
  6. Ephraim was instrumental in cutting off the Midianite retreat at the Jordan, and capturing Oreb and Zeeb (Jdg. 7:24,25 cf. Ps. 83:11).

Judges Chapter Eight

  1. The chapter begins with a complaint by Ephraim that they weren’t allowed to join with Gideon at the initial battle (Jdg. 8:1-3).
  2. The delay by Gideon, in answering Ephraim’s complaint allowed for a remnant of Midian to flee across the Jordan.
    1. The Midianite remnant was led by Zebah and Zalmunna (Jdg. 8:10).
    2. They led 15,000 men out of a total of 120,000 that had been occupying Israel (Jdg. 8:10b).
  3. Gideon pursues the 15,000 men with his 300 water lappers (Jdg. 8:4).
    1. They request provisions from Succoth and Penuel (Jdg. 8:5,8a).
    2. Succoth and Penuel prefer to reserve their assistance until such time as the victory is secured (Jdg. 8:6,8b).
    3. Gideon pronounces a curse upon Succoth and Penuel for their lack of assistance (Jdg. 8:7,9).
    4. Gideon’s force pursues Zebah and Zalmunna, and obtains the victory without Succoth’s and Penuel’s participation (Jdg. 8:11,12).
  4. Gideon fulfills his promise of discipline for Succoth and Penuel (Jdg. 8:13-17).
  5. Gideon also attempts to instruct his sons in the responsibilities of Judgeship (Jdg. 8:18-21).
  6. Following the victory over Midian, the men of Israel offered Gideon’s house a dynastic kingdom (Jdg. 8:22-28).
    1. Gideon refused the dynastic rule, but he did accept tribute from the sons of Israel.
    2. Gideon’s monument to himself (a golden ephod) became an idolatrous snare to him and the nation of Israel.
  7. The peace of Gideon lasted 40 years, while Gideon and his sons administered justice. Perhaps 1162-1122BC.
    1. Gideon had 70 sons by his many wives (Jdg. 8:30).  He also had a concubine in Shechem who was the mother of Abimelech (Jdg. 8:31; 9:1-57).
    2. Gideon is the first of the Judges to engage in widespread polygamy (Jdg. 8:30).
      1. Jair will have 30 sons on 30 donkeys, judging 30 cities in Gilead (Jdg. 10:4).
      2. Ibzan of Bethlehem will have 30 sons and 30 daughters (Jdg. 12:9).
      3. Abdon will have 40 sons and 30 grandsons (Jdg. 12:14).
  8. The death of Gideon marked the return of Israel to Baal worship, as they pursued Baal-berith (Jdg. 8:33-35).
    1. The sons of Gideon would have otherwise been an influence for the Lord.
    2. Israel rejected Gideon’s sons, as they turned to Baal-berith.

Judges Chapter Nine

  1. Chapter nine details the activity of Abimelech, Gideon’s son from Shechem.
  2. While Israel was abandoning Gideon’s 70 sons, their brother Abimelech was instituting a revolt at Shechem (Jdg. 9:2,3).
    1. Shechem was allotted to Ephraim.
    2. Shechem was given to Levi, and appointed as a City of Refuge (Josh. 20:7; 21:21).
    3. There were still many of the original Canaanite inhabitants living in Shechem during this time (Jdg. 9:3,28).
  3. Abimelech took 70 pieces of silver from the Baal-berith temple, hired a criminal gang, and murdered Gideon’s sons in a ritual human sacrifice (Jdg. 9:4,5).
  4. The men of Shechem & Beth-millo (the tower of Shechem, the fortress/temple/house of Baal) installed Abimelech as their king (Jdg. 9:6).
  5. Jotham escaped the massacre of his brothers, and pronounced a parable for the inhabitants of Shechem (Jdg. 9:7-21).

(Chapter Nine continues tomorrow)