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Bible Commentaries
Judges 6

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

Verses 1-40

When Israel again did evil in the sight of God, he delivered them into the hands of the Midianites, who were descendants of Abraham and Keturah ( Gen_25:1-2 ). They were allied in the oppression of Israel with the Amelekites and the children of the East, which is the general name of the people who lived in the desert east of the promised land. Because of seven years of severe treatment, the children of Israel made homes out of the caves and ravines they found in the mountains. Their enemies came every time they planted and destroyed their crops, not even leaving the sheep, ox or ass. They came in such large numbers that they could be said to be as locusts in the land. Their large herds would have eaten much, if not all, of the available grasses ( Jdg_6:1-5 ).

Israel cried out to God for help during this time of great poverty. He sent a prophet who reminded them of the deliverance from Egyptian bondage ( Exo_20:2 ) and conquest of the land of Canaan. The prophet further reminded them of God's injunction for them to not fear the gods of the people in whose land they were dwelling, but they had failed to heed his voice ( Jdg_6:6-10 ).

God sent his angel to call Gideon to deliver his people. It is reassuring to note God is well acquainted with Gideon's life and character (Verses 11-12). Gideon's knowledge of the suffering under Midian, and perhaps God's warning issued through Moses ( Deu_31:17 ), led to the questions of verse 13. Keil says Gideon did not recognize his visitor as an angel, so he addressed him as "Sir." The Lord said he would be with him and he could go in that might. Gideon then realized who he was talking to and addressed him as "Lord," while still doubting his own abilities because he was from such a lowly family. However, God again told him he would be with him and said the Midianites would be defeated as if they were one man being killed by a blow.

Gideon's request for a sign might be viewed today as a lack of faith, however, Thomas presents a different view. "There is a great difference in a humble believer's seeking more information regarding a given situation, and one who questions that which God proposes to do." He sites the difference in God's reaction to the questions of Mary and Zacharias in Luk_1:1-80 . Mary was given an answer while Zacharias was stricken dumb because of his lack of belief (Verses 20, 38).

Gideon asked his visitor to stay long enough for him to prepare a gift for him. Keil says the word used indicates he was speaking of a sacrificial gift which, if accepted, would prove God was speaking to him. The angel directed Gideon to place the gift on a rock much like a sacrifice on an altar and the burning of it proved to him God was sending him. As the angel departed, Gideon became afraid because he had seen the Lord's angel face to face but God assured him he would have peace and not die. In gratitude, Gideon built an altar he named "The Lord send peace" ( Jdg_6:14-24 ).

That same night, God gave him instructions to tear down the altar to Baal, erect one to God and offer a sacrifice using the wood from Baal's altar. This Gideon did at night with the help of ten servants. The next day, the men of the city intended to kill Gideon, but his father, Joash, said it was none of their business. If Baal was offended, he could deal with him, so he was named Jerubbaal, which means "Let Baal plead." At that time, a fresh invasion occurred but, instead of fleeing to the caves and ravines, the people answered the call of Gideon's trumpet and prepared for battle. The text tells us this call went out as a result of Spirit of the Lord coming on him ( Jdg_6:25-35 ).

Gideon still felt he needed one more sign from God that he was to lead the people into battle against the Midianites. He asked God let dew only be on a wool fleece in the morning and all the ground be dry. When God met that request, Gideon asked for one more. This time the ground should be wet and the fleece dry. God answered in just the way he asked and Gideon had assurance the Lord would fight for Israel ( Jdg_6:36-40 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Judges 6". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/judges-6.html. 2014.
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