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Gideon, Part 1

INTRODUCTION: Chapter 2 of the book of Judges provides a brief explanation of the displeasure of the LORD with Israel because they did not keep His covenant, as they began to mix with the pagans. But the LORD had compassion for Israel as they suffered severe conditions each time they were defeated in battle and subjected to servitude by the pagan people that they had stopped short of completely driving out from the land. Whenever Israel cried out to the LORD, He chose a Judge to overcome their oppression. Each time when the judge no longer ruled, Israel was quick to return to the idol worship in the land, and to mingle with the inhabitants and follow various evil practices. Chapters 3 through 5 describe other judges, but this Bible study concentrates on Gideon starting in chapter 6.

NOTE: All Scripture passages are from the American King James version (AKJV).


Judges 2 "1 And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you to the land which I swore to your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2 And you shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; you shall throw down their altars: but you have not obeyed my voice: why have you done this? 3 Why I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you. 4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there to the LORD. 6 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man to his inheritance to possess the land. 7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10 And also all that generation were gathered to their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel."

COMMENTS: Joshua was a very effective leader for service to the LORD for the descendants of Israel after the LORD had ended the leadership Moses had been given to bring them out of slavery in Egypt. When Joshua died the majority of the tribes of Israel had yet to claim their inheritance territories by completely driving out the pagans who were there with their idol worship. The LORD had sworn that He would never break the covenant for a new land of possession for Israel. But they were not to make any league with the inhabitants of this land; and they were to throw down their altars. The LORD had also said failure on Israel's part would result that He would not drive the inhabitants completely out, and they would become like thorns in their sides, and the false gods would be a snare to Israel. The Word of the LORD is reliable: for blessings, or for judgements.


Judges 2 "11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves to them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them: and they were greatly distressed. 16 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17 And yet they would not listen to their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves to them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. 18 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down to them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. 20 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people has transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not listened to my voice; 21 I also will not from now on drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: 22 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. 23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua."

COMMENTS: The people of Israel served the LORD until Joshua died at the age of 110, and even until the remaining elders of that generation passed away. Judges chapter 2 has descriptions about the failures of Israel to stay true to the LORD; and the result of defeats they suffered in battle, and the subsequent oppression that followed. But the compassionate mercy of the LORD also provided leadership through judges for additional opportunity for the people to return to Him when they cried out to the LORD.


Judges 6 "1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. 3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; 4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. 5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. 6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried to the LORD. 7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried to the LORD because of the Midianites, 8 That the LORD sent a prophet to the children of Israel, which said to them, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land; 10 And I said to you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but you have not obeyed my voice."

COMMENTS: Genesis tells of Isaac, the covenant son of Abraham and Sarah. But after Sarah died, Abraham took Keturah as a wife and had other sons; including one who would be the patriarch of the Midianites who oppressed Israel.

Genesis 17 "15 And God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her: yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 17 Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said to God, O that Ishmael might live before you! 19 And God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed; and you shall call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year. 22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham."

Genesis 21 "1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac."

Genesis 23 "1 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her."

Genesis 25 "1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 2 And she bore him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah."

Israel was greatly impoverished after the Midianites entered into the land in overwhelming numbers, and after seven years the children of Israel cried to the LORD. The LORD sent a prophet to give His response to their cry: they were brought out of bondage in Egypt by the LORD; and He delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and of all that oppressed them. The LORD drove the inhabitants out of their land as Israel advanced to take what the LORD had given for Israel. The LORD had said to them, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but they did not obeyed His voice!


Judges 6 11 And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor. 13 And Gideon said to him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD has forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 14 And the LORD looked on him, and said, Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent you? 15 And he said to him, Oh my Lord, with which shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. 16 And the LORD said to him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man. 17 And he said to him, If now I have found grace in your sight, then show me a sign that you talk with me. 18 Depart not hence, I pray you, until I come to you, and bring forth my present, and set it before you. And he said, I will tarry until you come again. 19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak, and presented it. 20 And the angel of God said to him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 22 And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face. 23 And the LORD said to him, Peace be to you; fear not: you shall not die. 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: to this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites."

COMMENTS: Apparently Gideon had not heard the words of the prophet (Judges 6:7-10) sent by the LORD, especially with the closing statement that Israel had not obeyed the LORD their God. When an angel of the LORD came and sat beneath an oak tree on land occupied by Joash: Gideon his son threshed wheat by the wine press, to hide it because the Midianites impoverished Israel by all that they would take away. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, He said The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor. Gideon's response was driven by his attitude that the LORD was not with Israel as when the LORD brought them out of slavery in Egypt with many miracles. Otherwise why should all of these oppressive actions be happening to Israel now except that the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD told Gideon he was being sent to save Israel from the Midianites, in the might of the LORD. Gideon only saw his weakness, saying his family was poor in Manasseh, and that he was the least in his father’s household. When the LORD said to Gideon, Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man. Gideon said to him, If now I have found grace in your sight, then show me a sign that you talk with me. The LORD said he would wait for Gideon to bring what he would prepare, and when Gideon brought it out under the oak, the LORD told him to place it on a rock. When the angel of the LORD touched it with His staff, fire came out from the rock and consumed it! Then the angel of the LORD disappeared. Now Gideon believed he had seen the LORD God face to face, and he expected to die. But the LORD told him to be at peace because he would not die. Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom, which combined two words which express that God is peace. That alter was still there at the writing of the book of Judges.


Judges 6 25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said to him, Take your father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the grove that is by it: 26 And build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which you shall cut down. 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said to him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. 28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered on the altar that was built. 29 And they said one to another, Who has done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing. 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, Bring out your son, that he may die: because he has cast down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the grove that was by it. 31 And Joash said to all that stood against him, Will you plead for Baal? will you save him? He that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one has cast down his altar. 32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he has thrown down his altar.

COMMENTS: The same night after Gideon had built an alter to the LORD where he had secretly threshed wheat, the LORD told him to take what was a more direct action to defy the god of the Midianites. Because he feared his father's household, and the worshippers of Baal in the city; Gideon took ten of his servants at night, and did as the LORD had said. This was not yet the time for the valor of Gideon to be openly displayed, so it was done at night. The alter of Baal was completely destroyed, and an alter for the LORD was built as designated. The grove was cut down and used to burn the offering of the second bullock that had belonged to Gideon's father. In the morning the men of the city told Gideon's father to bring him out to them that he may die. But Joash took an interesting firm position as he told all of them that if Baal was a god, he would kill anyone who took action that only Baal should take for himself. Even though the altar for Baal had been on the property of Joash and he had bullocks that could be used as offerings to Baal, he now took the opportunity to raise a question about whether Baal was really a god.


Judges 6 "33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers to Asher, and to Zebulun, and to Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36 And Gideon said to God, If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry on all the earth beside, then shall I know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said. 38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39 And Gideon said to God, Let not your anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray you, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew. 40 And God did so that night: for it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground."

COMMENTS: As the Midianites and their allies began to assemble in Jezreel for war, the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon and he blew a trumpet to call troops together throughout Manasseh, and the family line of Abiezer was already gathered together to follow him. This was significant because Gideon had in Judges 6:15 told the LORD that his own family line, and he as the son of Joash, was the least in Manasseh. A passage from the book of Joshua has the Abiathar family very close to the top of the list of family strength; and his family joined under the leadership of Gideon.

Joshua 17 "1 There was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh; for hf e was the firstborn of Joseph; to wit, for Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead: because he was a man of war, therefore he had Gilead and Bashan. 2 There was also a lot for the rest of the children of Manasseh by their families; for the children of Abiezer, and for the children of Helek, and for the children of Asriel, and for the children of Shechem, and for the children of Hepher, and for the children of Shemida: these were the male children of Manasseh the son of Joseph by their families."

Gideon sent messengers throughout all Manasseh first, then messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali; and those other family lines came up to meet with Manasseh. At this point in history, it would have taken some time for both sides to gather and prepare to engage their enemies in war. Gideon then wanted a sign to reassure him that the LORD would use him as the leader to have victory over the enemies. First he asked that the dew overnight would make the fleece he laid down to be very wet and the ground dry. Then Gideon asked the LORD to be patient and reverse that first sign so that overnight the fleece would be dry while the ground around it be very wet. The LORD both nights did as Gideon had requested with no rebuke, and Gideon then was confident that the LORD was with him. There is no indication that these two signs were witnessed by anyone else along with Gideon.


I thank you LORD that even though the children of Israel during the period of the Judges did not hold fast to their trust in the only true God; you gave them victory through a judge that you selected, when they finally cried out to you in desperation. Gideon thought the LORD had abandoned Israel and therefore no longer used miracles to protect them from the domination of the pagans in the land. He failed to realize that the tribes of Israel nullified the covenant of the LORD because they had not remained obedient to keep themselves separated from intermingling with the pagans, ans even worshipping their false gods. What a thought provoking sample from Scripture that bears a principal that Christians in the present time must not follow practices of non-believers in the world around them. The temptation to live primarily for self satisfaction has not left since the beginning in Eden. The mercy and grace of the LORD also was evident from that beginning, and will continue to be provided until the final trumpet call for believers in Christ. LORD, help me to keep your covenant as a child of God; and strengthen me to come back to serve and worship my Savior at any time that I have fallen short.

1 Corinthians 5 "9 I wrote to you in an letter not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortionists, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortionist; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not you judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judges. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person."

LORD,give me guidance through your Holy Spirit to properly apply this message in Scripture from the apostle Paul. Amen.

Published November 6, 2022