Judges 8 Dust to Dust
Prequel to Saviors that fail: When: Israel was in slavery for 400 years. Then Moses led the Exodus into the desert. His successor, Joshua, let them into the promised land. The 12 tribes of Israel came from Jacob’s (aka Israel) 12 sons. The “Judges” didn’t judge in a courtroom. They were “deliverers” or “saviors”. The Canaanites were the people living in the promised land when the 12 tribes of Israel got there. The various “-ites” (like Perizzites or Midianites) can be thought of as sub-tribes of Canaanites. Last week on Saviors that fail: God’s people cried out to him. The Lord fights the battle that saves Israel. Gideon won and he’s busy hunting down Midianite... asking help from the people God sent away to not fight. This week on Saviors that fail: The King of Pop. Application →Do not forget the Lord your God who has rescued you. .... And will someone finally tell Spain about the Light of the world??? Gideon and Abimelech Outline Israel is hungry (6:1-10) • Midianites oppress Israel. God reminds them of the 1st commandment: Do not have other gods before me! Gideon’s call (6:11-24) • God calls Gideon but he doesn’t want to go. Gideon is scared. Gideon tears down Baal’s altar (6:25-32) • Gideon obeys God but is scared. He gets a new name that will haunt him. “Struggles with Baal.” Gideon puts out a fleece (6:33-40) • Gideon doesn’t want to go so he asks God to re-check and triple check the message. Why does God play along? Gideon’s first battle (7:1-8:3) • Gideon marches on the Midianites, but God re-checks and triple checks the number of troops. Doesn’t matter because God does all the fighting anyway. Midianites have nightmares about bread and Gideon is scared. Gideon’s second battle (8:4-21) • Gideon shows his petty, vengeful nature. Bread or dead. “King” Gideons becomes pagan (8:22-28) • Clothes make the man (these clothes are Midianite). Surprise! Israel become pagan again (8:33-35) • Full-pagan again, Israel hates Gideon’s dynasty. ‘bout get worse! Abimelech, son of “King” Gideon, becomes “king” (9:1-6) Abimelech’s little brother, Jotham, tells a story (9:7-21) “King” Abimelech’s reign of terror and civil war (9:22-55) God’s condemnation of Abimelech is completed (9:56-57) Tola and Jair save/rule Israel (10:1-5) Judges 7:24-8:35 (CSB) The Men of Ephraim Join the Battle Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim with this message: “Come down to intercept the Midianites and take control of the watercourses ahead of them as far as Bethbarah and the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they took control of the watercourses as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 They captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian; they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb, while they were pursuing the Midianites. They brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan. 24 8 The men of Ephraim said to him, “Why have you done this to us, not calling us when you went to fight against the Midianites?” And they argued with him violently. 2 So he said to them, “What have I done now compared to you? Is not the Oreb and Zeeb At this point in the story, Gideon is no longer scared, but large and in charge. Instead of taking orders from God, Gideon is giving orders. The tribe of Ephraim, most powerful of the northern tribes, wasn’t part of the battles up until now. Oreb and Zeeb (not quite kings) are not the point. Gideon solidifying his power over Israel is the new story now that Midian is defeated. Abiezer gleaning of Ephraim Abiezer was Gideon’s clan, subtribe of better than the grape Manasseh. They tried to kill Gideon harvest of when he tore down the altar of Baal, Abiezer? 3 God handed but his father talked them out of it. They follow Gideon to battle. over to you Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian. What was I able to do compared to you?” When he said this, their anger against him subsided. Gideon Pursues the Kings of Midian Gideon and the three hundred men came to the Jordan and crossed it. They were exhausted but still in pursuit. 5 He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give some loaves of bread to the troops under my command, because they are exhausted, for I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 4 But the princes of Succoth asked, “Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hands that we should give bread to your army?” 6 Gideon replied, “Very well, when the LORD has handed Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, I will tear your flesh with thorns and briers from the wilderness!” 8 He went from there to Penuel and asked the same thing from them. The men of Penuel answered just as the men of Succoth had 7 answered. 9 He also told the men of Penuel, “When I return safely, I will tear down this tower!” Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and with them was their army of about fifteen thousand men, who were all those left of the entire army of the Qedemites. Those who had been killed were one hundred twenty thousand armed men. 11 Gideon traveled on the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked their army while the army felt secure. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them. He captured these two kings of Midian and routed the entire army. 10 Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the Ascent of Heres. 14 He captured a youth from the men of Succoth and interrogated him. The youth wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven leaders Succoth and Penuel and elders of “Gideon’s 300” had enough strength 15 Succoth. Then he went to finish off the enemy. God had provided that. But was Gideon wrong to the men of Succoth to ask for bread? Was he wrong to and said, “Here are kill for not receiving bread? Succoth and Penuel were Israelite towns, large Zebah and Zalmunna. enough to have 77 elders and a You taunted me about castle. Did they refuse because Israel was fractured? WIIFM? Or was it a them, saying, ‘Are 13 specific rejection of Gideon? Zebah and Zalmunna now in your power that we should give bread to your exhausted men?’” 16 So he took the elders of the city, and he took some thorns and briers from the wilderness, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them. 17 He also tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city. Men at Tabor He asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?” 18 “They were like you,” they said. “Each resembled the son of a king.” We don’t know what the Midianites did at Tabor, other than kill Gideon’s family. Joash, his father, was the pagan leader of the area. Perhaps the seeds of Gideon’s kingship were planted at birth. So he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother! As the LORD lives, if you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20 Then he said to Jether, his firstborn, “Get up and kill them.” The youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid because he was still a youth. 19 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Get up and strike us down yourself, for a man is judged by his strength.” So Gideon got up, killed Zebah and 21 Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels. Gideon’s Legacy Midianites always own camels. Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for you delivered us from the power of Midian.” 22 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you.” 24 Then he said to them, “Let me make a request of you: Everyone give me an earring from his plunder.” Now the enemy had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites. 23 They said, “We agree to give them.” So they spread out a cloak, and everyone threw an earring from his plunder on it. 26 The weight of the gold earrings he requested was forty-three pounds of gold, in addition to the crescent ornaments and ear pendants, the purple garments on the kings of Midian, and the chains on the necks of their camels. 27 Gideon made an ephod from all this and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. Then all Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household. 25 So Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they were no longer a threat. The land had peace for forty years during the days of Gideon. 29 Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) son of Joash went back to live at his house. 28 Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, since he had many wives. 31 His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32 Then Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 30 When Gideon died, the Israelites turned and prostituted themselves by worshiping the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. 34 The Israelites did not remember the LORD their God who had rescued them from the hand of the enemies around them. 35 They did not show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) for all the good he had done for Israel. 33 Questions for personal application Have you seen a pattern of growth in your Christian life over time? Are you trusting in your own power to keep on believing in Christ, or in God’s power to keep your faith active and alive? Who do you hold a grudge against? When have you forgotten what God has done for you?