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(ideon with a numerous
army Encamps at Flarod.
A. M. 2759.
The Lord commands Gideon to make a selection of a small number of his men to go against the Midianites.
Three hundred only are selected ; and into the hands of these God promises to deliver the whole Midianitish host, 1-8. Gideon is directed to go down unto the host in the night, that he may be enco
couraged on hearing what they say, 9-12. He obeys, and hears a Midianile tell a remarkable dream unto his fellow, which predicted the success of his attack, 13–15. He takes encouragement, divides his men into three companies, and gives each a trumpet with a lighted lamp concealed in a pitcher, with directions how to use them, 16–18. They come to the Midianitish camp at night, when all suddenly blowing their trumpets and exposing their lamps, the Midianites are thrown into confusion, fly, and are stopped by the Ephraimiles al the passage of Jordan, and slain, 19–24. Oreb and Zeeb, two Midianitish princes, are slain, 25. B. C. 1215. THEN • Jerubbaal, who
is the people twenty and two thou
A. M. 2759.
B. C. 1245. An. Exod. Isr. Gideon, and all the people sand ; and there remained ten An. Exod. Isr. Anno ante that were with him, rose up carly, thousand.
Anno ante 1. Olymp. 469. and pitched beside the well of
4 And the LORD said unto
1. Olymp. 469. Harod; so that the host of the Midianites Gideon, The people are yet too many ; bring were on the north side of them, by the hill of them down unto the water, and I will try Moreh, in the valley.
them for thee there : and it shall be, that of 2 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The whom I say unto thee, This shall go
withi people that are with thee are too many thee, the same shall go with thee; and of for me to give the Midianites into their whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not hands, lest 'Israel \vaunt themselves against go with thee, the same shall not go. me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved 5 So he brought down the people unto the me.
water : and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every 3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, of the people, saying, · Whosoever is fearful as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himand afraid, let him return and depart early self; likewise 'every one that boweth down from Mount Gilead. And there returned of upon his knees to drink. a Chap. vi. 32. -- Deut. viii. 17; Isa. x. 13; 1 Cor. i. 29 ; 2 Cor. iv. 7. - Deut. xx. 8; 1 Mac. iii. 56. NOTES ON CHAP. VII.'
though adopted by Houbigant, is not countenanced by Verse 1. Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon] It ap- any MS., nor by any of the versions. pears that Jerubbaal was now a surname of Gideon, Dr. Hales endeavours to reconcile the whole, by from the circamstance mentioned chap. vi. 32. See the supposition that there were in Gideon's army many chap. viii. 35.
of the eastern Manassites, who came from Mount The well of Harod] If this was a town or village, Gilead ; and that these probably were more afraid of it is nowhere else mentioned. Probably, as '997 cha- their neighbours, the Midianites, than the western tribes rad signifies to shake or' tremble through fear, the were ; and therefore proposes to read the text thus : fountain in question may have had its name from the Whosoever from Mount Gilead is fearful and afraid, terror and panic with which the Midianitish host was let him return (home) and depart early. So there seized at this place.
returned (home) twenty-two thousand of the people. Verse 2. The people that are with thee are too Perhaps this is on the whole the best method of solvmany] Had he led up a numerous host against his ing this difficulty. enemies, the excellence of the power by which they There relurned of the people trenty and two thouwere discomfited might have appeared to be of man sand] Gideon's army was at this time thirty-two and not of God. By the manner in which this whole thousand strong, and after the above address twentytransaction was conducted, both the Israelites and two thousand went away. How astonishing, that in Midianites must see that the thing was of God. This thirty-two thousand men there should be found not less would inspire the Israelites with confidence, and the than twenty-two thousand poltroons, who would neither Midianites with fear.
fight for God nor their oppressed country! A state Verse 3. Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him of slavery debases the mind of man, and renders it return—from Mount Gilead] Gideon was certainly incapable of being influenced by the pure principles not at Mount Gilead at this time, but rather near Mount of patriotism or religion. In behalf of the army of Gilboa. Gilead was on the other side of Jordan. Cal. Gideon we may say, if the best appointed armies in met thinks there must either have been two Gileads, Europe had the same address, bona fide, from their which does not from the Scripture appear to be the generals as the Israelites had, at least an equal procase, or that the Hebrew text is here corrupted, and portion would return home. that for Gilead we should read Gilboa. This reading, Verse 5. Every one that lappeth of the water--as a
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He is encouraged by
the dream of a Midianite A. M. 2759.
6 And the number of them sand by the sea-side for multiB. C. 1245. An. Exod. Isr. that lapped, putting their hand tude.
An. Exod. Isr. to their mouth, were three hun 13 And when Gideon was 1. Olymp. 469. dred men :. but all the rest of come, behold, there was
I. Olymp. 469. the people bowed down upon their knees to that told his dream unto his fellow, and said, drink water.
Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake 7 And the Lord said unto Gideon, a By the of barley bread tumbled into the host of three hundred men that lapped will I save you, Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that and deliver the Midianites into thine hand : it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. and let all the other people go every man umto 14 And his fellow answered and said, This his place.
is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the 8 So the people took victuals in their hand, son of Joash, a man of Israel : for into his and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained host. those three hundred men: and the host of 15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the Midian was beneath him in the valley. telling of the dream, and · the interpretation
9 And it came to pass the same • night, that thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down the host of Israel, and said, Arise ; for the unto the host ; for I have delivered it into Lord hath delivered into your hand the host thine hand,
of Midian. 10 But if thou fear to go down, go, thou 16 And he divided the three hundred men with Phurah thy servant down to the host : into three companies, and he put ka trumpet
11 And thou shalt fhear what they say : in every man's band, with empty pitchers, and and afterward shall thine hands be strength- ' lamps within the pitchers. ened to go down unto the host.
Then went 17 And he said unto them, Look on me, he down with Phurah his servant unto the and do likewise : and, behold, when I come outside of the & armed men that were in the to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as host.
I do, so shall ye do. 12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites 18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all and all the children of the cast lay along in that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets the valley like grasshoppers for multitude ; also on every side of all the camp, and say, and their camels were without number, as the The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. 1 Sam. xiv. 6.-e Gen. xlvi. 2, 3. I Ver. 13, 14, 15; see
h Chapter vi. 5,33 ; viii. 10. i Hebrew, the breaking thereof. Gen. xxiv. 14; 1 Sam. xiv. 9, 10. — Or, ranks by five; Exod. * Heb. irumpels in the hand of alt of them. Or, firebrunds, or xuai, 18. dog] The original word pk yalok is precisely the multitudes; it was to these that Gideon and his servant sound which a dog makes when he is drinking.
Verse 6. The number of them that lapped] From Verse 13. Told a dream] Both the dream and the this account it appears that some of the people went interpretation were inspired by God for the purpose of down on their knees, and putting their mouths to the increasing the confidence of Gideon, and appalling his water, sucked up what they needed; the others stooped enemies. down, and taking . op water in the hollow of their Verse 14. Into his hand hath God delivered Midian] hands, applied it to their mouth.
This is a full proof that God had inspired both the Verse 8. So the people took victuals] The three dream and its interpretation. hundred men that he reserved took the victuals neces Verse 16. He divided, the three hundred men] sary for the day's expenditure, while the others were Though the victory was to be from the Lord, yet he distnissed to their tents and their houses as they knew that he ought to use prudential means; and thought proper.
those which he employed on this occasion were the Verse 9. I have delivered it into thine hand.] Ibest calculated to answer the end. If he had not used have determined to do it, and it is as sure as if it these means, it is not likely that God would have deliwere done.
vered the Midianites into his hands. Sometimes, even Verse 11. Unto the outside of the armed men] No in working a miracle, God will have natural means doubt the vast multitudes of Midianites, &c., which used : Go, dip thyself seven times in Jordan. Go, came merely for plunder, were wholly unarmed; but wash in the pool Siloañ. they had a guard of armed men, as all the caravans Verse 18. The sword of the Lord, and of. Gideon. have, and those guards were on the outside of the The word at chereb, "sword,” is not found in this
חרב ליהוה ולגדעוןmingled with the thundering shout of
The Lord delivers Midian
into the hands of Gideon. A, M. 2759. 19 So Gideon, and the hundred cried, The sword of the LORD, A. M. 2759. B, C. 1245,
B. C. 1245. An. Exod. Isr. men that were with him, came and of Gideon..
An. Exod. Isr. 246.
246. Anno ante unto the outside of the camp in 21. And they • stood every man Anno ante 1. Olymp. 469.
the beginning of the middle in his place round about the 1. Olymp. 469. watch ; and they had but newly set the wateh : camp : Pand all the host ran, and cried, and fled. and m they blew the trumpets, and brake the 22 Aind the three hundred a blew the trumpitchers that were in their hands.
pets, and the LORD set every man's sword 20 And the three companies blew the trum- against his fellow, even throughout all the pets, and brake the pitchers, and held the host : and the host filed to Beth-shittah in lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in Zererath, and to the u border of Abel-meholah, their right hands to blow withal :- and they unto Tabbath.
m Ver. 18, 22.-Ver. 18.—Exod. xiv. 13, 14; 2 Chron. Cor. iv. 7.- Psa. lxxxiii. 9; Isa. ix. 4.- 1 Sam. xiv. 20,
to ask a sign
over his enemies. chereb layhovah ulegidon, “A sword for the Lord and The sign was reversed; the fleece remaining dry while for Gideon!"
all the ground was moist; Origen, in his ninth homily on this book, makes And by this sign he was to know that he should these three hundred men types of the preachers of the slaughter those troops of robbers. Gospel; their trumpels, of the preaching of Christ The people of Christ conquer without any military crucified; and their lighis or lorches, of the holy con
force ; duct of righteous men. In some verses of an ancient Three hundred horsemen, (for the Greek letter T, lav, author, attributed to Tertullian,, and written against is the emblem of the number,) the heretic Marcion, Gideon's three hundred men are Armed with torches, and blowing with trumpets. represented as horsemen ; and in this number he finds The fleece of the sheep are the people sprung from the the mystery of the cross; because the Greek letter T, Messiah, tau, which is the numeral for 300, is itself the sign of And the earth are the various nations dispersed over the cross. . The verses, which may be found in vol. v. the world. of the Pisaurian Collection of the Latin heathen and It is the word which nourishes ; but night is the Christian poets, Advers. Marcion., lib. 3, ver. 18, as image of death. being very curious, and not often to be met with, I Tau is the sign of the cross; and the trumpets, the shall here subjoin :
emblems of the heralds of life ; Ex quibus ut Gideon dux agminis, acer in hostem,
And the burning torches in the pilchers, the emblems Non virtute sua tutelam acquirere genti,
of the Holy Spirit. Firmatusque fide signum petit excita menti,
We see here what abstruse meanings a strong imaQuo vel non posset, vel posset vincere bellum, gination, assisted by a little piety, may extract from Vellus ut in noctem positum de rore maderet, what was never intended to be understood as a mystery. Et tellus omnis circum siccata jaceret, .
Verse 21. They stood every man in his place] Each Hoc inimicorum palmam coalescere mundo; of the three companies kept its station, and continued Atque iterum solo remanenti vellere sicco,
to sound their trumpets. The Midianites seeing this, Hoc eadem tellus roraret nocte liquore,
and believing that they were the trumpets of a nume-
Verse 22. Fled to Beth-shillah] This is nowhere
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-2 Isa, x: 26.
The Ephraimites are displeased CHAP. VIII. for not being called to the war. A. M, 2759. 23 And the men of Israel gath-together, and took the wa
A. M. 2759. B. C. 1245. An. Exod. Isr. ered themselves together out of ters unto » Beth-barah and Jor- An. Exod. Isr.
Naphtali, and out of Asher, and dan. I Olymp. 469. out of all Manasseh, and pursued 25 And they took y two princes
1. Olymp. 469. after the Midianites.
of the Midianites, Oreb and Zecb; and 24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and all Mount Ephraim, saying, Come down Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, against the Midianites, and take before them and pursued Midian, and brought the heads the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, on the other all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves side Jordan. *Chap lai, 27. Chap. iii. 28.-_* John i 28. — Chap. vii. 3; Psa. Ixxxiii. 11.
Chap. viii. 4. Zererath] This and Tabbath are nowhere else to Verse 25. They slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb] be found.
These two generals had taken shelter, one in the Abel-mcholah] This was the birth-place of the pro- cavern of the rock, the other in the vat of a winephet Elisha, 1 Kings xix. 16.. It was beyond Jordan, press ; both of which places were, from this circumin the tribe of Manasseh, 1 Kings iv. 12. The Zar- stance, afterwards called by their names. tanah, mentioned in this last quoted verse, was proba Brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon) bly the same as Zererath. Its situation corresponds Oreo signifies a raven, and Zeeb a wolf. In all anwell with Abel-meholah.
cient nations we find generals and princes taking their Verse 23. The men of Israel gathered] It is very names from both birds and beasts ; the Romans had likely that these were some persons whom. Gideon had their Gracchi, jackdaws ; Corvini, crows ; Aquilini, sent home the day before, who, now hearing that the eagles, &c. We have the same in our Crows, Wolfs, Midianites were routed, went immediately in pursuit. Lyons, Hawkes, Bulls, Kidds, &c. Among barbarous
Verse 24. Take before them the waters unto Beth nations the head of the conquered chief was often barah] This is probably the same place as that men- brought to the conqueror. Pompey's head was brought tioned John i. 28, where the Hebrews forded Jordan to Cæsar; Cicero's head, to Mark Antony; the heads under the direction of Joshua. To this place the. of Ahab's children, to Jehu, &c. These barbarities Midianites directed their flight that they might escape are not often practised now, except among the Mohaminto their own country; and here, being met by the medans or the savages of Africa and America ; 'and Ephraimites, they appear to have been totally over- for the credit of human nature it is a pity that such thrown, and their two generals taken.,
barbarous atrocities had ever been committed,
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The Ephraimites are angry with Gideon because he did not call them particularly tò his assistance ; he pacı
fies them, 1-3.' Gideon and his three hundred men pass over Jordan, pursuing the Midianites; and, being faint, ask victuals from the princes of Succoth, but are refused, 4-7. They make the like application to the people of Penuel, and are also refused, 8, 9. Gideon defeats Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, and takes them prisoners, 10–12. He chastises the men of Succoth and Penuel, 13-17.
He slays Zebah and Zalmunna, who had killed his brethren, 18-21. The Israelites offer him the kingdom, which he refuses, 22, 23. He requires from them the gold rings which they had taken from the Ishmaeliles, and makes an ephod, which he sets up at Ophrah ; and it became an instrument of idolatry, 24-27. The land enjoys peace forty years ; Gideon dies, having seventy-one sons, 28–32. The Israelites fall into idolatry, and forget their obligations to Gideon's family, 33-35. A, M. 2759.
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An. Exod. Isr. hast thou served us thus, that 2 And he said unto them, What Anno ante 1. Olymp. 469. thou calledst us not, when have I done now in comparison
[ Olymp. 469. thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes a See chap. xii. l; 2 Sam. xix. 41. _b Heb. What thing this thou hast done unto us? Heb. strongly. NOTES ON CHAP. VIII.
yond that river that the Ephraimites brought the heads 'Verse 1. The men of Ephraim said] This account of Oreb and Zeeb to him, chap. vii. 25. is no doubt displaced, for what is mentioned here Verse 2. Is not the gleaning, fc.] - That is, The could not have taken place till the return of Gideon Ephraimites have performed more important services from the pursuit of the Midianites; for he had not yet than Gideon and his men; and he supports the asserpassed Jordan, ver. 4. And it was when he was be- I tion by observing that it was they who took the two
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Zebah and Zalmunna defeated
and taken prisoners. of Ephraim better than the vin-| 9 And he spake also unto the An. Exod. Isr. tage of Abi-ezer ?
men of Penuel, saying, When I 3 God hath delivered into come again in peace, I will Anno ante 1. Olymp. 469.
I. Olymp. 469. your hands the princes of Midian, break down this tower. Oreb and Zeeb; and what was I able to do in 10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karcomparison of you? Then their e anger ? was kor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen abated toward him, when he had said that. thousand men, all that were left of Pall the
4 And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed hosts of the children of the east : for there over, he, and the three hundred men that were fell ? a hundred and twenty thousand men with him, faint, yet pursuing them..
that drew sword. 5 And he said unto the men of & Succoth, 11 And Gideon went up by the way of them Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and people that follow me; for they be faint, and I Jogbehah, and smote the host : for the host am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings was ó secure. of Midian.
12 And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he 6 And the princes of. Succoth said, " Are pursued after them, and took the two kings the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and disthine hand, that we should give bread unto comfited all the host. thine army?
13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned vý And Gideon said, Therefore, when the from battle before the sun was up, Lord hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna 14 And caught a young man of the men of into mine hand, k then I will tear your flesh Succoth, and inquired of him: and he dewith the thorns of the wilderness and with scribed unto him the princes of Succoth, and briers.
the elders thereof, even threescore and seven8. And he went up thence m to Penuel, and teen men. spake unto them likewise : and the men of 15 And he came unto the men of Succoth, Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with had answered him.
whom ye did wupbraid me, saying, Are the & Ch. vii. 24, 25; Phil. ii. 3. Heb. spirit. Prov. xv. 1. p. Chap. vii. 12.4 Or, a hundred and twenty thousand wery & Gen, xxxiii. 17; Psa. lx. 6. - See 1 Kings xx. 11.
-i See one drawing a sword; chap. xx. 2, 15, 17, 25; 2 Kings iii. 26. 1 Sam. xxv. 11. „k Ver. 16. - Heb. thresh.__Gen. xxxii. Numbers xxxii. 35, 42. - Chapter xviii. 27; 1 Thess. v. 3. 30; 1 Kings xij. 25.- 1 Kings xxii. 27.- Ver. 17.
Psa. Ixxxiii. 11. - Heb. terrified. - Heb. writ. -* Ver. 6. Midianitish generals, having discomfited their hosts at threshing instruments; or, Ye shall be trodden down the passes of Jordan.
under the feet of my victorious army, as the corn is Verse 3. Then their anger was abated] A soft trodden out with the feet of the ox. answer turneth away wrath, He might have said Succoth was beyond Jordan, in the tribe of Gad. that he could place but little dependence on his bre-. Penuel was also in the same tribe, and not far distant thren when, through faint-heartedness, 22,000 left from Succoth.. him at one time ; but he passed this by, and took a Verse 9. I will break down this tower.) Probably more excellent way.
they had not only denied him, but insultingly pointed Verse 4. Faint, yet pursuing] The Vulgate para- to a tower in which their chief defence lay; and intiphrases this, et, præ lassitudine, fugientes persequi non mated to him that he might do his worst, for they poterant ; " and, through fatigue, unable to pursue the could amply defend themselves. fugitives.”
Verse 10. Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor] Verse 5. Give, I pray you, loaves of bread] As If this weře a place, it is nowhere else mentioned in Gideon was engaged in the common cause of Israel
, Scriptère. Some contend that pap karkor signifies he had a right to expect succour from the people at rest; and thus the Vulgate understood it: Zebah and large. His request to the men of Succoth and Penuel Zalmunna requiescebant, rested, with all their army. was both just and reasonable,
And this seems the most likely, for it is said, ver. 11, Verse 6. Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna that Gideon smote the host, for the host was secure. now in thine hand] They feared to help Gideon, lest, Verse 13. Returned from battle before the sun was if he should be overpowered, the Midianites would re-up] This does not appear to be a proper translation of venge it upon them; and they dared not trust God. oinn i Syobo milmaaleh hechares. It sivuių ve ren
Verse 7. I will tear your flesh] What this punish- dered from the ascent af Chares ; this is the reading ment consisted in I cannot say ;- it must mean a severe of the Septuagint, the Syriac, and the Arabic. punishment : as if he had said, I will thresh your flesh Verse 14. He described unto him the princes of with briers and thorns, as corn is threshed out with Suecoth) The young man probably gave him the names