Click here to join the effort!
This Chapter is but a continuation of the history of the battle, and success of Gideon, related in the former. It forms indeed the sequel of Gideon's life. The consequence of his victory excited the displeasure of the Ephramites, because he called them not to the battle. Gideon softens their displeasure by his mild answer. Some other events are related which took place after this victory. Gideon declined the government of Israel, but by his prudent conduct preserved, under the Lord, peace to Israel forty years, and died full of honor. These are the principal things recorded in this Chapter.
What cause so good, or what conduct so unexceptionable, but will meet with envy, and the baleful effects of our corrupt passions. But Reader! was not this displeasure of the men of Ephraim principally against God, by whose order Gideon had done what he had done? See the fruits of the same unrenewed spirit in the age before. Numbers 16:11 .
How gracious the mind of Gideon, in turning away wrath by gentleness. But observe, how Gideon points to the hand of God in all this business. See a sweet instance in the patriarch Joseph to the same effect. Genesis 45:7-8 .
Reader! remark the state of Gideon's little army; faint, yet pursuing. Is not this the exact representation of all the army of Jesus? Who more faint than the harassed soldier of the great Captain of our salvation? Who gives over less than he who holds on, and holds out, and is faithful unto death, that no man may take his crown? Revelation 3:11 .
The men of Succoth, and of Penuel, were Israelites by descent, but sadly degenerated from the spirit of Israel. The Reader will recollect, however, that these things happened during the time of the commonwealth of Israel, when every man did according to his own corrupt desires. The Judges, which from time to time the Lord raised up among his people, served to keep alive the remembrance of the Lord, and to preserve a seed in the earth. See Judges 21:25 .
This event, in the death of those princes, forms a song of praise, and a subject of prayer, in the after ages of the church. See Psalms 83:11 . But let the Reader remark, in their destruction, the sure ruin of all the church ' s foes; for this is the great improvement to be made of this history. It was for the church's sake the Lord came forth to the slaughter of Midian, with which, like Amalek, the Lord! hath declared war forever. Exodus 17:16 .
This request was apparently very proper, for who so suited to govern as one whom the Lord had honored. Reader! If you and I spiritualize this passage, and make application to the Lord Jesus, of the request made to Gideon and from the same cause, would it not be exceedingly pro per? For hath not Jesus delivered us out of the hand of our enemies? And is it not highly suitable and becoming, that he should be our King, who is, and was, the Prophet, and Priest, and Redeemer of his people? That is a sweet scripture to this propose, Isaiah 33:22 .
By Gideon ' s answer, it evidently appears, that there was a spirit of idolatry in Israel: they desired, like the nations around, a king, thereby denying the government of God. If you consult these scriptures, they will serve to throw a light upon the subject: 1 Samuel 8:4-7 and 1 Samuel 12:0 .
Whatever were the views of Gideon in this ephod, is not easily determined. Aaron had fallen into a similar transgression, in the time the church was in the wilderness. Alas! what are the best of men for a moment, if not upheld by grace? Exodus 32:1 .
There is somewhat very remarkable in the agreement, between the times of the several periods in which the Lord gave rest to his people from their enemies, Forty years. Moses' life was divided into three forties. The church was in a wilderness-state forty years. And this is spoken of by the Lord himself; as a period in which his patience was exercised. Psalms 95:10 . Othniel, Barak and Gideon, each governed forty years. The prophet Ezekiel was commissioned in after ages to tell the church somewhat himself, as typical of these things. Ezekiel 4:6 .
The retired state of Gideon, after the Lord had blessed Israel through his instrumentality, may serve to teach the believer the humbleness of mind becoming the Lord's servants. It is sweet, when we are enabled through grace to minister to God's glory in public; and equally so, when we are enabled to enjoy the Lord ourselves in private. Matthew 14:23 . That is a very precious precept, and brings its reward with it. Psalms 4:4 .
Although from the infirmities and corruptions of our fallen nature, many of the early followers of the Lord, had more than one wife, yet, the Holy Ghost hath pointed out both the sin and folly of it; for, in every instance, we are taught what a trouble it produced in families; witness Abraham ' s household. Gen_16:2-5; Gen_21:9-11 . But, that those indulgencies sprung out of the corruption of our poor fallen nature, is evident from what our blessed Lord hath said upon it. See Matthew 19:3-8 . Gideon seems to have had such partiality to this son of the concubine, as Abraham had to Ishmael: for the name Abimelech, signifies my father a king. How opposite, in many instances, are the feelings of nature to those of grace. Genesis 17:18 .
A good old age, in scripture language, is, I apprehend, a life of grace. To this same purport is that very precious word. Isaiah 65:20 .
What an awful representation do the Scriptures of God afford, of the total depravity and corruption of the heart. In all ages it breaks out. Lord, what is man? Baal-berith, in the original, signifies, the Lord of a Covenant; as if Israel had covenanted with an idol to their ruin.
Observe how they forgot God, and how should they be grateful to man! How beautifully doth the Psalmist introduce to view, the wonderful goodness of God, when from the very sins of his people, the Lord takes occasion to display the riches of his grace. Psalms 106:0 throughout, but particularly from Psalms 106:34 , to the end.
MY soul! pause over the review of this chapter. Call to mind the wonderful mercies shown to Israel, as related in the former chapter, and then behold the issue of divine deliverances, in the shameful departure of Israel to idolatry. My soul! art thou not astonished at the view of such perfidy? Couldst thou have believed, that there dwelt in the human heart, such vileness and corruption?
When, my soul, thou hast duly contemplated the church of God of old, look at the church of Jesus now. What, (saith the apostle), are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved, both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. Yes! my soul, thou art in the same condemnation by nature, and in heart and mind, prone to depart from God. Oh! precious Jesus! how dear and invaluable is thy salvation! how great that efficacy of thy blood and righteousness which pleads for the pardon of thy people. Oh, for grace to take shelter under both, from a conscious sense of my utterly ruined and undone state without it! Be thou my refuge all the day, and the justifying righteousness of my soul forevermore, for thou alone art the hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Judges 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany