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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Judges 8

Verses 1-35

Judges 8:1-3 Gideon Reasons with the Men of Ephraim - Gideon was able to reason with this tribe diplomatically and appease their anger. In contrast, Jephthah gave this same tribe a harsh answer and had to fight them in battle (See Judges 12:1-6). Note how well this event illustrates Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Judges 8:6 And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?

Judges 8:6 Comments - James Packer tells us that it was a practice of the Egyptians and Assyrians to amputate “the hands of their enemies as proof of their victories and enemy casualties.” [21]

[21] James I. Packer, Merrill C. Tenney, and William White, Jr., Nelson's Illustrated Manners and Customs of the Bible (Thomas Nelson: Nashville , 1997, c1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 303.

Judges 8:14 And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and enquired of him: and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men.

Judges 8:14 Word Study on “he described” Strong says the Hebrew word “describe” ( כָּתַב ) (H3789) means, “to grave,” and by implication, “to write (describe, inscribe, prescribe, subscribe).” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 223 times in the Old Testament, it is translated in the KJV as, “‘write’ 210 times, ‘describe’ seven times, ‘subscribe’ four times, ‘recorded’ once, and ‘write up’ once.”

It was just as well to translate this word as “wrote” ( RSV), seeing it fits the context well; but the KJV translators doubted that the art of writing existed at this period in Israel’s history. Thus, they translated the word as “he described.”

RSV, “And he caught a young man of Succoth, and questioned him; and he wrote down for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven men.”

Judges 8:23 And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.

Judges 8:23 And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.

Judges 8:23 “the LORD shall rule over you” - Comments - Gideon was a man of humble nature. Others, like Jephthah, wanted to rule over his fellow Israelites (See Judges 11:9). Gideon honoured the fact that the nation of Israel was a theocracy, ruled by God.

Judges 11:9, “And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head?”

Judges 8:31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.

Judges 8:31 Word Study on “Abimelech” Strong says the Hebrew name “Abimelech” ( אֲבִימֶלֶךְ ) (H40) mean, “father of (the) king.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Judges 8". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/judges-8.html. 2013.