Judges 8 -“Gideon’s Revenge; Gideon’s Death”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Gideon requests bread from two towns, but the townspeople send him away. He kills the kings of Midian and takes revenge on the people who spurned his request by destroying the two towns. Gideon rejects an offer to be king, and the Israelites worship other gods after he dies.

II. Photo
Gideon takes revenge on the people who deny him bread: “And he took the elders of the city and, [bringing] desert thorns and briers, he punished the people of Succoth with them.” (v 16)

III. Important Verses
vv 1-3: And the men of Ephraim said to him, “Why did you do that to us — not calling us when you went to fight the Midianites?” And they rebuked him severely. But he answered them, “After all, what have I accomplished compared to you? Why, Ephraim’s gleanings are better than Abiezer’s vintage! God has delivered the Midianite generals Oreb and Zeeb into your hands, and what was I able to do compared to you?” And when he spoke in this fashion, their anger against him abated.
vv 15-17: Then he came to the people of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you mocked me, saying, ‘Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give your famished men bread?’” And he took the elders of the city and, [bringing] desert thorns and briers, he punished the people of Succoth with them. As for Penuel, he tore down its tower and killed the townspeople.
vv 18-21: Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “Those men you killed at Tabor, what were they like?” “They looked just like you,” they replied, “like sons of a king.”  “They were my brothers,” he declared, “the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had spared them, I would not kill you.” And he commanded his oldest son Jether, “Go kill them!” But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was timid, being still a boy.  Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, you slay us; for strength comes with manhood.” So Gideon went over and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescents that were on the necks of their camels.
vv 22-23: Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us — you, your son, and your grandson as well; for you have saved us from the Midianites.” But Gideon replied, “I will not rule over you myself, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD alone shall rule over you.”

IV. Outline
1-3. Gideon appeases the angry men of Ephraim
4-9. The towns of Succoth and Penuel deny Gideon’s request for bread
10-12. Gideon defeates the remaining Midianites and captures the kings
13-17. Gideon exacts revenge on the residents of Succoth and Penuel
18-21. Gideon kills the kings of Midian
22-23. Gideon rejects a request to be made king
24-27. Gideon makes an Ephod in Ophrah that causes the Israelites to go astray
28-32. Gideon’s family and death
33-35. The Israelites stray after other gods

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Trent C. Butler, “Judges” (Word Biblical Commentary vol. 8; Nashville: Nelson, 2009).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 15 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://www.alicewebb.com/ThroughTheThornsTmp18.JPG

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