Epistles of Thomas

May 8, 2009

Judges 7-9

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 16:33
Tags: , , ,

On the eve of battle God decided that the odds were not sufficiently in the Midianites favour so he commanded Gideon to send home all those who were fearful; 22,000 left, leaving only 10,000. God decided that this was still too many so he took them down to the water for a drink. Those who drank using their hands were chosen to go into battle. This was fortunate because 9700 drank like dogs, leaving only 300 to go into battle! If Gideon needed to be sure of the Lord’s support before, how much more did he need that knowledge now. God commanded Gideon to approach the enemy camp in order to bolster his courage. He heard a Midianite recounting a dream in which he had seen the Israelites defeat them. This caused Gideon to take heart and he led his men into battle. They used a stratagem to make it appear that there were many more of them than there were. The enemy panicked and began to kill on another and fled into the night. The men of Ephraim joined Gideon and they killed many of the enemy force. It is recorded in 8:10 that 120,000 Midianite swordsmen were killed.

The Israelites asked Gideon to become their king but he refused, saying “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you” (8:23). Unfortunately, Gideon made a gold ephod that became an idol to his family and people. After he died the people quickly returned to worshipping Baal. They saw their identity as being ethnic rather than being Yahweh-centric.

Gideon’s son Abimelek decided to make himself king and he murdered his seventy brothers so that there would be no other contenders for his throne. However, he allowed Gideon’s youngest son Jotham escape. Both Abimelek and the people who had supported him in his treachery were cursed and they ended up killing each other. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

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