The major judge cycle about Gideon extends to the sequel about his aberrant son, Abimelech.
A hero of the tribe of Manasseh ends the oppression of his tribe by the Midianites, but leads Israel into worship of an idol
of his own making before his death.
Midian, a semi‐nomadic group from southern Transjordan that Israel had fought before (Num 25.16–18;31.1–54
The Amalekites, a semi‐nomadic group from the south (Ex 17.8–15; Num 13.19; Judg 1.16
A bitter oppression.
This time God answers Israel's cry by sending a prophet who levels a rebuke. God appoints a savior, however, before this rebuke
is answered by Israel's repentance.
A theophanic message from the LORD. Though characterized by extraordinary fearfulness and reluctance, Gideon (“hacker”) is the LORD's choice to save Israel.
Abiezrite, Josh 17.2; 1 Chr 7.18
A dull, cynical question and diatribe about God's treatment of the nation; this introduces, and typifies, Gideon's character.
Gideon is characterized by a need for signs.
Fire, a motif that recurs throughout the Gideon and Abimelech cycle (
6.26; 7.16,20; 9.15,20,49
Gideon destroys his father's Baal altar and sacred pole (i.e., Asherah pole), but only under the cover of darkness.
Gideon receives the name Jerubbaal. Ironically, judge Gideon (“hacker”), the son of apostate Joash, wears this Baal‐name (“Let Baal contend/indict”), a name
that occurs with increasing frequency in chs 7 and 8
Gideon mobilizes his troops, but he seeks more reassuring signs through the fleece. Gideon's testing of God speaks to his
unbelief. The tests with the fleece are God's second sign to Gideon, and they are doubled. No character in the book receives
more divine assurance than Gideon, and none displays more doubt.
Gideon's force is doubly reduced: Fearful Israelites are encouraged to leave (vv. 2–3
), and men are selected out arbitrarily according to how they drink water (vv. 4–8
). Only three hundred men are left. Hence, it is impossible to ascribe the victory over Midian to human prowess (
The spring of Harod is at the foot of Mount Gilboa. The hill of Moreh, a mountain to the north of Mount Gilboa in the Jezreel valley.
Gideon overhears a Midianite relate his dream and another interpret it, and mobilizes his force of three hundred for a surprise
attack against the Midianites. After this additional sign, he is fully confident in God's promise.
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