Page images

where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us np from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites : have not I sent thee?

And he said unto him, Oh, my lord ! wherewith shall I save Israel? behold my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.

And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me : depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.

And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of four: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought in out unto him under the oak, and presented it.

And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh, and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.

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.

And when Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas! O LORD God! for because I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.

And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee ; fear not, thou shalt not die, L 3

Then Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom : -unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

And it came to pass the same night that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it ; and build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon 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 thou shalt cut down.

Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto 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. j

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 upon the altar that was built.

And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing ? and when they enquired and asked, they 'said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.

Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.

And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye 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 gne hath cast down his altar,

Therefore on that day, he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.



In the days of Balak and Balaam, the people of Israel almost entirely destroyed the Midianites, but it is likely, that some of them saved themselves by fight into other countries, and that after the Israelites were settled in Canaan, they returned to their own country again, and in two hundred years they might have 'repeopled the land, and still retain the name of Midianites:

We are told an Angel of the Lord appeared unto Gideon, acquainting him that he was chosen to be the deliverer of Israel. He 'who assumed the form of an Angel, appears, by the subsequent conversation, to have been no other than the LORD Himself; but Gideon did not at first" discover who talked with him; he seems to have thought that a prophet was sent to him ; and being in 'great despondency of mind, he began to express his doubts of deliverance; the LORD then in His own name promised to save Israel, saying, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one' man. Gideon could scarcely believe that the LORD manifested His Divine Presence in so humble a form, and that He had actually endued him with strength and abilities for the task required of him; he therefore asked for a sign that he might be convinced his ina. gination did not deceive him. Gideon then hastened into the house, and brought forth provisions to refresh his

guest, should he prove to be a man, or to offer as a sacrifice, if he were the LORD. He had soon a very satisfactory sign, for his present was accepted as a sacrifice, which would not have been the case had the AnGel been a created being. Gideon expressed his conviction by crying out « Alas, O LORD God, for bea cause I have seen the Angel of the LORD ;" upon which' L 4


the same Divine BEING, who had before appeared, spake to him words of consolation, assuring him, that he should not die. JEHOVAH SHALOM signifies the

God of peace.

The reproof which Joaşh gave to the people for their foolish anger against Gideon, shews, that he was himself convinced that idolatry was a great sin; and that though he had been a priest of Baal, he now clearly perceived Baal must be an impotent Deity, since he had not been able to defend his own altar.

From this time, Gideon. bore the name of Jerub-baal, that is, the opposer of Baal.

How deplorable was the condition to which the 1sraelitęs, through their apostasy, had reduced themselves ! All those evils Moses had foretold fell upon them, because they forsook the Lordi; and we may consider it as an instance of Divine mercy, that they were not totally extirpated; but the LORD had graciously promised, that if they would repent and seek His aid, He would return unto them, and deliver them for the sake of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and in reniembrance of His covenant : and we find in this section a remarkable proof of the faithfulness of GOD ; for no sooner did His people cry unto Him, than He sent a prophet to remind them of His former mercies, and their breach of duty, in order to excite them to a thorough repentance. This should teach us to place a firm trust in the divine promises.



From Judges, Chap. vi. vii. 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.



But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew

a trumpet ; and Abiezer was gathered after



And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also was gathered after him, and he sent gers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naph tali, and they came up to meet them.

And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, behold I will put a fleece of wool in the floor : and if the dew. be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.

And it was so : for he rose up early on the morrow and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the feece, a bowl full: of water.

And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will, speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece : let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.

And God did so that night : for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early; and pitched beside the well of Haród : so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley

And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel yaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him

L 5


« PreviousContinue »