And it came to pass the same night
The night which followed the day in which the angel appeared to Gideon as he was threshing:
that the Lord said unto him;
perhaps in a dream, since it was in the night: take thy father's young bullock: or "the bullock, the ox" F16; a bullock which was a large grown ox, and was not only his father's property, but what his father designed and set apart for the service of Baal; and though it was his father's, yet having a divine warrant for it, it was sufficient for him to take it without his leave, and especially as it was designed for such an ill use:
even the second bullock of seven years old;
which, according to Hesiod
down the altar of Baal that thy father hath;
upon his ground, in some part of his possessions, and perhaps built at his own expense, though for public use:
and cut down
the grove that is by it;
or "about it", as the Vulgate Latin version; it being usual with the Heathens to plant groves near or around their altars and temples where religious worship was performed; partly to make them more pleasant and venerable, and partly for the commission of deeds which would not bear the light; or "over it", for they were commonly tall trees which grew over the altar they erected. Some render it, "upon it" F20, and understand by it an idol placed on it: so the Arabic version is,
``cut down the female idol Asira (perhaps the same with Astarte), which is upon the same altar;''and so the Syriac version to the same purpose, which calls it the idol Estere, set upon the altar.
F16 (rwvx rp) "juvencum bovem", Drusius; "juvencum adultiorem", Junius & Tremellius.
F17 Opera & dies, l. 2. ver. 54. 55.
F18 Iliad. 2. ver. 403. & Iliad. 7. ver. 35.
F19 (rpw) "et juvencum alium", Tigurine version; "et alterum taurum", V. L. "et juvencum secundum", Pagninus, Montanus.
F20 (wyle) (ep' anto) , Sept. "super illud", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius.