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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Judges 8

Verses 1-35


The Pursuit of the Kings. Gideon’s Subsequent Career and Death

1. Cp. Judges 12. Ephraim claimed to be the leading tribe; later the name was often used as a synonym for the northern kingdom. The natural jealousy of the tribe was appeased by Gideon’s ready wit; one might have suspected that, making such claims as these, they would not have left Gideon to take the initiative.

2. Gleaning and vintage] note the contrast between these. Abi-ezer] Gideon substitutes this for his own name.

4. Having driven the Midianites into the arms of Ephraim, Gideon turns eastwards. Judges 8:10 implies that a very considerable section of the foe had escaped the trap and was still formidable.

5. Succoth] like Penuel (Genesis 33:17) must be E. of the Jordan, near the Jabbok.

6. The chiefs of Succoth evidently doubt whether Gideon is really victorious as yet.

9. Tower] Where a city had no walls, a central stronghold was frequent. In the middle ages the church tower sometimes served this purpose: cp. Judges 9:46.

10. Karkor] unknown. The other two places are probably SE. of the Jabbok. The Midianites were making for the desert (cp. Numbers 32:35, Numbers 32:42). For the numbers cp. Judges 7:13. Gideon’s first levy is said to have numbered 32,000 (Judges 7:3).

11. The way of them that dwelt in tents] i.e. the road usually taken by the nomads.

12. Secure] i.e. free from anxiety, as in the camp W. of the Jordan (Judges 7).

13. Before the sun was up] RV ’from the ascent of Heres,’ i.e. from the way up to Heres (see on Judges 2:9).

14. Described] RM ’wrote down’ a list of the chief men. The elders are heads of families; the princes (cp. Judges 8:6) are the military leaders.

16. Taught] if right, bitterly ironical. All the early versions read ’threshed,’ or ’carded,’ as Judges 8:7 implies.

18. This private wrong of Gideon’s is now mentioned for the first time. Tabor] see on Judges 4:6.

19. According to the law of blood revenge, the nearest relative is bound to avenge the victim’s death (cp. Numbers 35:19).

20. Jether] is the same name as Jethro (Exodus 4:18; 1 Kings 2:5). To be slain by a boy would be a further indignity for the two chiefs, who meet their death with barbarian courage.

21. Ornaments] RV ’crescents’: cp. Judges 8:26.

22-35. Gideon’s subsequent career and death.

22. The fame of Gideon’s exploit makes his countrymen desire that he should become an hereditary monarch and not merely a judge. See Intro, to Samuel.

26. Shekels] A shekel is rather less than half an ounce. The whole weight would thus be nearly seventy pounds. Collars] RV ’pendants.’

27. Ephod] see Judges 17:5. An image of some sort used in consulting the will of Heaven.

28. Forty years] cp. Judges 5:31.

29. Jerubbaal] i.e. Gideon: see Judges 6:32.

33-35 The Israelites lapse into idolatry after Gideon’s death.

33. Baalim] RV ’the Baalim’: see on Judges 2:11. Baal-berith] i.e. Baal of the Covenant. The alliance between the Canaanites and the Hebrews would naturally be cemented by a common worship, which would involve the latter in idolatry: cp. Judges 9:46 (El-berith).

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Judges 8". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/judges-8.html. 1909.