Today’s reading is: Jdg. 7:1-9:21
Judges Chapter Seven
- Gideon’s volunteer army of 32,000 soldiers was too large for God to receive all the glory (Jdg. 7:1-8).
- 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).
- 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).
- Gideon and his 300 water lappers were then ready to defeat Midian (Jdg. 7:7,8).
- Gideon and his armor bearer scouted the Midianite camp, and received even more encouragement from the Lord (Jdg. 7:9-14).
- 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).
- The Midianite, Amalekite, and other eastern nomads were thrown into a panic.
- These “allies” turned against one another, and then turned to flee from Israel.
- Gideon then reassembled his previous army of Naphtali, Asher, & Manasseh, and pursued the fleeing Midianites (Jdg. 7:23).
- 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
- 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).
- The delay by Gideon, in answering Ephraim’s complaint allowed for a remnant of Midian to flee across the Jordan.
- The Midianite remnant was led by Zebah and Zalmunna (Jdg. 8:10).
- They led 15,000 men out of a total of 120,000 that had been occupying Israel (Jdg. 8:10b).
- Gideon pursues the 15,000 men with his 300 water lappers (Jdg. 8:4).
- They request provisions from Succoth and Penuel (Jdg. 8:5,8a).
- Succoth and Penuel prefer to reserve their assistance until such time as the victory is secured (Jdg. 8:6,8b).
- Gideon pronounces a curse upon Succoth and Penuel for their lack of assistance (Jdg. 8:7,9).
- Gideon’s force pursues Zebah and Zalmunna, and obtains the victory without Succoth’s and Penuel’s participation (Jdg. 8:11,12).
- Gideon fulfills his promise of discipline for Succoth and Penuel (Jdg. 8:13-17).
- Gideon also attempts to instruct his sons in the responsibilities of Judgeship (Jdg. 8:18-21).
- Following the victory over Midian, the men of Israel offered Gideon’s house a dynastic kingdom (Jdg. 8:22-28).
- Gideon refused the dynastic rule, but he did accept tribute from the sons of Israel.
- Gideon’s monument to himself (a golden ephod) became an idolatrous snare to him and the nation of Israel.
- The peace of Gideon lasted 40 years, while Gideon and his sons administered justice. Perhaps 1162-1122BC.
- 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).
- Gideon is the first of the Judges to engage in widespread polygamy (Jdg. 8:30).
- Jair will have 30 sons on 30 donkeys, judging 30 cities in Gilead (Jdg. 10:4).
- Ibzan of Bethlehem will have 30 sons and 30 daughters (Jdg. 12:9).
- Abdon will have 40 sons and 30 grandsons (Jdg. 12:14).
- The death of Gideon marked the return of Israel to Baal worship, as they pursued Baal-berith (Jdg. 8:33-35).
- The sons of Gideon would have otherwise been an influence for the Lord.
- Israel rejected Gideon’s sons, as they turned to Baal-berith.
Judges Chapter Nine
- Chapter nine details the activity of Abimelech, Gideon’s son from Shechem.
- While Israel was abandoning Gideon’s 70 sons, their brother Abimelech was instituting a revolt at Shechem (Jdg. 9:2,3).
- Shechem was allotted to Ephraim.
- Shechem was given to Levi, and appointed as a City of Refuge (Josh. 20:7; 21:21).
- There were still many of the original Canaanite inhabitants living in Shechem during this time (Jdg. 9:3,28).
- 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).
- The men of Shechem & Beth-millo (the tower of Shechem, the fortress/temple/house of Baal) installed Abimelech as their king (Jdg. 9:6).
- Jotham escaped the massacre of his brothers, and pronounced a parable for the inhabitants of Shechem (Jdg. 9:7-21).
(Chapter Nine continues tomorrow)