Midian Oppresses Israel (6.1-11) Israel did EVIL in the sight of the LORD The hand of Midian OVERPOWERED Israel Midian would DEVOUR the produce of the land, and would leave no food, ox, or donkey Israel CRIED out the LORD The LORD sent a PROPHET – He reminded them of the EXODUS – He told them do not be AFRAID – He called them out for not OBEYING God’s voice
And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves homes and strongholds in the mountains and the caves (6.2)
Mighty Menacing Midianites Descendants of Abraham by his wife Keturah following the death of Sarah. Moses wife was a Midianite They were quite prosperous when Israel conquered them (Number 31:32-54) They didn’t continue as a national people after the rise of the Israelite kings
Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under a turpentine tree…while Gideon, son of Joash, was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midinanites (6.11)
The Call of Gideon An angel of the LORD comes to Gideon and calls upon to realize that the “LORD is with you…” (6.11-12) If the LORD is with us, then why is all this happening? (6.13) Where are his wonderful deeds? The LORD has FORSAKEN us (6.13)
6.14 And the L ORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” 16 And the L ORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.”
So Gideon prepared his gift and placed it upon the rock…Then the angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the cakes and fire sprang from the rock and consumed the offering
Then the LORD told Gideon, take your father’s bull and pull down the altar of Baal your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God…So Gideon did as the LORD told him but by night for fear of his family.
The next morning the men of the town had DISCOVERED what Gideon had done. They demanded that Joash bring him out so that he could be put to DEATH (6.30) Joash stands up for his Son and says if Baal is real then he will have his vengeance of Gideon
Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan encamped in the Valley of Jezreel (6.33)
The Sign of the Fleece (6.36 – 40) Gideon’s request of God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, “behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.
The Sign of the Fleece Gideon then ask God the next night to REVERSE things. And God did. (6.39 – 40) Gideon’s challenge reveals his WEAK faith and confidence in the LORD. Gideon didn’t need SIGNS to ascertain the will of God; the LORD clearly revealed his will (v. 14) Gideon sought signs because he wanted the LORD to demonstrate his power
The Sign of the Fleece Despite a clear revelation of the LORD’s will, Gideon twice puts the LORD to a test, hoping to gain certainty for his faltering faith. Jesus said that an evil and adulterous generation looks for a SIGN. But when the LORD wishes to give us a sign, we are arrogant and reject it. And yet the LORD is continually patient with us, showing us mercy and grace.
TESTING OF FIRE 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, strwwaw— 13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod. And the camp of Midian was north of them (10 mi), by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. (7:1)
GIDEON’S THREE HUNDRED MEN The people with you are too many Why? (see 7:2) Say to ISRAEL, “whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.” 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. (7:3)
GIDEON’S THREE HUNDRED MEN 4 And the L ORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water.
The LORD said, Everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.
GIDEON’S THREE HUNDRED MEN 300 men put their hands to their mouth Apparently they were scooping water to their FACES as a dog scoops water with its tongue. Some have suggested that “lapping” the water in this manner indicated that these soldiers were more alert and ready for battle. Gideon’s ARMY is now ridiculously small Gideon would now be outnumbered 450 to 1
GOD’S PROMISE TO GIDEON “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” Judges 7:7
Go to the camp with Purah your servant and listen to what is being said and you will be strengthened. Judges 7:9 - 12
THE MIDIANITE DREAM 13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14 And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.”
Gideon heard the dream, worshipped the LORD, and then commanded his 300 men to ARISE. “The LORD has given MIDIAN into your hand. He divided them up into three groups, each with trumpets and empty jars, and torches
He told the men to follow his lead. When they come to outskirts of camp, blow the trumpet, light the torches, and yell “For the Lord and for Gideon”
GIDEON’S BATTLE PLAN “trumpets” – made of animals’ horns, usually rams, for Israel’s soldiers to signal one another. Gideon’s battle plan seemed crazy but was actually brilliant. For this night attack, swords would be an unnecessary encumbrance. Instead trumpet blasts and the glare of torch lights would create mayhem in the Midianite camp.
GIDEON’S BATTLE PLAN They came to the OUTSKIRTS of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch (shift change) Between 10 pm and 2 am (3 shifts of 4 hours) The darkness and the changing of the guard could confuse the enemy They BLEW the trumpets and SMASHED the jars that were in their hands. Cried out “a sword for the LORD and for GIDEON”
When they blew the 300 trumpets, the L ORD set every man's sword against his comrade and against all the army.
What is this you have done? (8.1) Why didn’t you call us to BATTLE? The tribe of Ephraim was as proud as it was powerful, resentful that Gideon had not enlisted soldiers from its ranks to assist in what had become a great victory. Gideon uses a SOFT tongue to calm their anger
SEEKING BREAD Gideon REQUESTS food from both the officials of Succoth and Penuel for his men He explains that he is chasing after the KINGS of Midian His request is DENIED He then gives a WARNING to both sets of officials, “when I come again in peace, I will bread down your cities and towers” See Judges 8:4 – 9
GIDEON’S VICTORY Gideon will capture the TWO Midianite kings and their remaining FORCES (8:10 – 12) He will teach the elders of Succoth and Penuel a LESSON for their betrayal (8:13 – 17) Gideon seeks to find out what happened to his brothers at Tabor. When he discovers they have been KILLED he orders the execution of the kings which he ultimately carries out himself (8:18 -21)
Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the L ORD will rule over you.”
THE LORD WILL RULE Theocracy (God’s rule over his people) is an important theme from Exodus to 1 Samuel Though Gideon’s reply sounds likes a pious refusal of kingship, his previous and subsequent behavior betray his bartering for leadership Gideon’s response magnifies his humility yet still secures his power.
Gideon’s ONE request. The earnings from your spoils. He spread a cloak and cloak and collected 1,700 shekels of gold and other fine jewels (8.25-26)
27 And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family. 28 So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.
LUTHER ON GIDEON How strange was the fall of that wondrous man Gideon…let everyone see to it that he is certain his worship and service of God has been instituted by God’s word, and not invented by pious notions or good intentions.
As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned and worshiped after the Baals and made Baal-berith their God. And the people of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies (8:29 – 35)