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Friday, February 28 2014

Judges 8: Gideon's Victory

"I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you"

The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) permitted the Israelites to be conquered and oppressed whenever they became unfaithful and disobedient to Him (a cycle that extended far beyond the time of the Judges - including the time of the Messiah's first coming when He allowed the Romans to invade and occupy the land of Israel; see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Israel In History and Prophecy: Herod). When they repented, after their self-inflicted hard and painful lesson, the LORD gave them a deliverer to deliver the Deliver's Deliverance of them.

The LORD empowered Gideon to liberate (see also Liberty Under God or Liberty Under Satan?) the Israelites from the Midianites (see Judges 6: Gideon Of Manasseh and Judges 7: Gideon's Trumpets) - despite the juvenile-minded squabbling of the "leaders" of the tribes.

The land of Israel

"8:1 And the men of Ephraim [see also Joshua 16: Ephraim's Inheritance] said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.

8:2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 8:3 God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.

8:4 And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over [see Numbers 32: The Israel Of East Jordan], he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. 8:5 And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.

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?

8:7 And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

8:8 And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them likewise: and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him. 8:9 And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.

8:10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east: for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword. 8:11 And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure. 8:12 And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host.

8:13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up, 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. 8:15 And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary? 8:16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. 8:17 And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.

8:18 Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor?

And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king. 8:19 And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you. 8:20 And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth.

8:21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks." (Judges 8:1-21 KJV)

The "Judges" of the LORD were commissioned solely as deliverers, military leaders, not as kings - the LORD was their King (both Moses and Joshua had served, in effect, as the Prime Minister of Israel, under the LORD; see Exodus 3: The Sign Of The Flaming Bush and Joshua 1: Joshua's Commission). When the Israelites wanted to proclaim victorious Gideon as their king, Gideon rightfully replied, "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you."

Gideon built a monument to the LORD's deliverance of Israel. As was and is the case of most national monuments, it soon became an idol of the people's petty worship of themselves: "All Israel went thither a whoring after it."

"8:22 Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.

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. 8:24 And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)

8:25 And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey. 8:26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks. 8:27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house." (Judges 8:22-27 KJV)

So it was then that the cycle of deliverance (see Judges 2: The Rise Of The Judges) from idolatry and then a fall back into idolatry continued: "And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god."

8:28 Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

8:29 And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. 8:30 And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. 8:31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 8:32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

8:33 And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. 8:34 And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: 8:35 Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel." (Judges 8:28-35 KJV)

Fact Finder: What Books of the Bible account for the transition from Judges to Kings?
See 1 Samuel: From Judges To Kings and 2 Samuel: The Kingdom Of David


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This Day In History, February 28

202 BC: Liu Bang became Emperor Gaozu of Han, beginning four centuries of the Han Dynasty of China.

628 Persian King Khosrau II was assassinated (see also The Decrees Of The Persian Kings).

1066: Westminster Abbey opened. Originally an abbey church of Benedictine monks, it became a national shrine of Britain.

Westminster 1525: Aztec King Cuauhtemoc was executed by the forces of Hernan Cortes.

1638: The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.

1692: The Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria began (see also What Is Sorcery?).

1759: Pope Clement XIII granted permission for the Bible to be translated into the languages of the Roman Catholic states - provided that it was read and "interpreted" only by Catholic priests.

1784: John Wesley of the Church of England established his "Methodist Church" (also known as "the Wesleyan faith" or "the Methodists").

1825: A treaty was signed between Britain and Russia settling the border between Canada and Alaska. Alaska was then a Russian province.

1843: The Great March Comet of 1843 made its closest approach to the sun, only 120,000 km., less than a tenth of the solar diameter. For a few hours that day, the comet outshone any comet seen in the previous 7 centuries. Burning in the daytime sky like a brilliant, tailed star less than 1 degree from the limb of the sun, the comet's astronomical magnitude may have reached -17, more than 60 times brighter than the full moon. The tail eventually reached a length of 68 degrees, 3 weeks after perihelion, estimated to have stretched 300,000,000 km. across the inner solar system. The last time a comet was seen that close to the sun was in 1106.

1844: On the Potomac River, the U.S. navy was demonstrating its new frigate Princeton when one of its guns exploded, killing Secretary of State Abel Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas Gilmer and some other government officials.

1917: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), total ships sunk for the month by German submarines: 212.

1922: Britain declared Egypt's independence (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire), while keeping control of the Suez Canal (see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1940: British Colonial Secretary MacDonald terminated all further land sales to Jews in "Palestine" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism). The move was officially intended to prevent arousing the Arabs, thereby destabilizing the region, which would have benefited Nazi Germany.

1940: The superliner Queen Elizabeth was launched in Britain.

1948: The last British troops left India which had then become independent.

1954: The U.S. detonated its second hydrogen bomb, at Bikini atoll. The expected yield of the weapon of mass destruction was 8 megatons; the actual yield turned out to be 15 megatons.

1969: A Los Angeles court refused Robert Kennedy's assassin Sirhan Sirhan's request to be executed.

1974: The U.S. and Egypt re-established diplomatic relations after 7 years.

1993: The siege at Waco, Texas, began after U.S. federal agents tried to serve an arrest warrant for weapons charges on Branch Davidian sect leader David Koresh.

1996: Russia entered as the 39th member of the Council of Europe.

1997: An earthquake in northern Iran killed over 3,000 people.

2013: Pope Benedict XVI resigned - the first pope to do so since 1415.





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Copyright © Wayne Blank