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Bible Commentaries
Judges 6

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-40

Judges 6:1 . The Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian, the descendants of Abraham’s fourth son by Keturah, who oppressed them for seven years. Genesis 25:2.

Judges 6:3 . The children of the east, with Amalek, bloody Amalek and Midian. Some of Moab, of Ammon, and Ishmael, sister nations, leagued for death and hell. This invasion of plunder, war, and murder, extended from the Jordan to Gaza, and shows us by its characters what is in the heart of man. They brought their cattle, being prepared for booty rather than war.

Judges 6:8 . The Lord sent a prophet. God’s first step is to bring men to reason and repentance for all the sins connected with the worship of Baal and Venus. His name is unknown, but the glory of his work remains.

Judges 6:11 . An Angel of the Lord. The same as in chap. 2., of which Dr. Lightfoot says, “Christ himself came up from the camp of Judah in Gilgal, to the people assembled in Shiloh.” Vol. 1. p. 45. Ed. fol. This Angel is the WORD or Wisdom of God, though now disguised as a princely stranger. He sat under an oak, as at Mamre, waiting to be gracious.

Judges 6:14 . Go in this thy might. So says David: I will go in the strength of the Lord God. So says Paul; being strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.

Judges 6:22 . Alas, I have seen (the) Angel of the Lord. Callimachus cites the like sentiments of heathens, as of holy patriarchs, who feared to die after seeing the angelic glory in which the divinity was veiled.

Judges 6:24 . Gideon built an altar, and called it Jehovah-shalom, the Lord of peace. David afterwards built an altar, when the plague was stayed. Elijah also built one on mount Carmel, to commemorate the defeat of idolatry.

Judges 6:26 . Build an altar on the top of this rock. Though he was not a priest, Messiah made his call special. God having commanded high places to be built, and the holy patriarchs having worshipped there, occasioned a long contest in future ages when God had chosen Jerusalem as the only place of sacrifice. The people were not willing to give them up; and they became snares of idolatry.

Judges 6:32 . Jerubbaal; that is, pleading, contending, or fighting against Baal.

Judges 6:34 . The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon. The Hebrew is, the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon. The garments of our Saviour at his transfiguration were blanched beyond conception. St. Paul alludes to those ideas, when he says, Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 13:14.

Judges 6:37 . I will put this fleece. The ancients often slept on skins: it was at hand, and for the increase of his own weak faith, he asked this double sign of an indulgent God.


Scarcely had thirty years elapsed from the salvation effectuated by Barak, than inconstant Israel repeated their former sins, and God repeated his former strokes, and with severities greater than before. Midian, Amalek, and their neighbours oppressed them with a heavy hand, consuming for seven years the produce of the nation, and the blessings of a violated covenant. Ah, little did those robbers think that their measure was full. Little did they know that the tears of contrite Israel had brought the Lord to fight against them.

The consequences of this long and great affliction were weakness, fear, and gloom. The light was considered as departed from Israel. So we are apt to fear the worst in the day of adversity; but God has treasures of mercy in store. And even now, in those great calamities, Gideon had a vineyard and a little corn. God is never unmindful of his people, and especially in the day of trouble.

Mark also how the care of providence was extended to an oppressed people. He sent his prophet to bring them to recollection and repentance, while he himself hasted to commission and encourage their deliverer. Surely there never was a trait in history which marks in fairer characters the special interposition of heaven, nor was there ever a prince raised up by a more signal call than Gideon. The Lord approached his trembling servant in the character of a stranger, as he had often approached the patriarchs. And in the gracious salutation, well might he say, the Lord is with thee, when JEHOVAH the angel was seated at his side. Let us never be discouraged in the day of adversity, for when things, to human appearance, are come to the worst, God often opens a way far above our expectation. And why should we fear; for whether known or unknown, he is still present with us, and will be so to the end of time. The first step towards either national or personal salvation, is to put away our sins, and to call upon the name of the Lord: the altar of Baal must be thrown down, and an altar raised to the Lord, lest the people should say, that Baal had wrought for Israel that great salvation. May God, in like manner, cleanse our hands and our hearts, that our services may be acceptable in his sight. May the angel of his presence who kindled the sacrifice by a touch, grant us the supreme token that our devotion is accepted, by shedding abroad his love in our hearts.

But oh, how much of heaven it takes to raise a desponding mind. Gideon, seeing the multitude of the enemy, and conscious of his own weakness, asked an additional sign, that his army, small in comparison of Midian, might be relieved of all their fears. He required that his fleece might be watered while all the ground was dry; and again, that his fleece might be dry, while the dew lay thick on all the ground. In an age of discouragement his faith was weak; but out of weakness he waxed strong. Nothing less than the divine presence could have emboldened him to throw down the altar of Baal; now he asked these new tokens of the divine presence, that he might break in pieces the power of Midian. At all times the Lord’s presence is the purest source of comfort, and the best pledge of salvation to an afflicted people.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Judges 6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/judges-6.html. 1835.
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