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Judges 6


1 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.
2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.
3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country.
4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys.
5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it.
6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.
7 When the Israelites cried out to the LORD because of Midian,
8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
9 I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land.
10 I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.
12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.
18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.”
19 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah[a] of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so.
21 Then the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared.
22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”
23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”
24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 That same night the LORD said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old.[b] Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole[c] beside it.
26 Then build a proper kind of[d] altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second[e] bull as a burnt offering.”
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
28 In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!
29 They asked each other, “Who did this?” When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”
30 The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”
31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.”
32 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal[f] that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”
33 Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.
34 Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him.
35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.
36 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—
37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.”
38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.”
40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

Images for Judges 6

Judges 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

Israel oppressed by Midianites. (1-6) Israel rebuked by a prophet. (7-10) Gideon set to deliver Israel. (11-24) Gideon destroys Baal's altar. (25-32) Signs given him. (33-40)

Verses 1-6 Israel's sin was renewed, and Israel's troubles were repeated. Let all that sin expect to suffer. The Israelites hid themselves in dens and caves; such was the effect of a guilty conscience. Sin dispirits men. The invaders left no food for Israel, except what was taken into the caves. They prepared that for Baal with which God should have been served, now God justly sends an enemy to take it away in the season thereof.

Verses 7-10 They cried to God for a deliverer, and he sent them a prophet to teach them. When God furnishes a land with faithful ministers, it is a token that he has mercy in store for it. He charges them with rebellion against the Lord; he intends to bring them to repentance. Repentance is real when the sinfulness of sin, as disobedience to God, is chiefly lamented.

Verses 11-24 Gideon was a man of a brave, active spirit, yet in obscurity through the times: he is here stirred up to undertake something great. It was very sure that the Lord was with him, when his Angel was with him. Gideon was weak in faith, which made it hard to reconcile the assurances of the presence of God with the distress to which Israel was brought. The Angel answered his objections. He told him to appear and act as Israel's deliverer, there needed no more. Bishop Hall says, While God calls Gideon valiant, he makes him so. God delights to advance the humble. Gideon desires to have his faith confirmed. Now, under the influences of the Spirit, we are not to expect signs before our eyes such as Gideon here desired, but must earnestly pray to God, that if we have found grace in his sight, he would show us a sign in our heart, by the powerful working of his Spirit there, The Angel turned the meat into an offering made by fire; showing that he was not a man who needed meat, but the Son of God, who was to be served and honoured by sacrifice, and who in the fulness of time was to make himself a sacrifice. Hereby a sign was given to Gideon, that he had found grace in God's sight. Ever since man has by sin exposed himself to God's wrath and curse, a message from heaven has been a terror to him, as he scarcely dares to expect good tidings thence. In this world, it is very awful to have any converse with that world of spirits to which we are so much strangers. Gideon's courage failed him. But God spoke peace to him.

Verses 25-32 See the power of God's grace, that he could raise up a reformer; and the kindness of his grace, that he would raise up a deliverer, out of the family of a leader in idolatry. Gideon must not think it enough not to worship at that altar; he must throw it down, and offer sacrifice on another. It was needful he should make peace with God, before he made war on Midian. Till sin be pardoned through the great Sacrifice, no good is to be expected. God, who has all hearts in his hands, influenced Joash to appear for his son against the advocates for Baal, though he had joined formerly in the worship of Baal. Let us do our duty, and trust God with our safety. Here is a challenge to Baal, to do either good or evil; the result convinced his worshippers of their folly, in praying to one to help them that could not avenge himself.

Verses 33-40 These signs are truly miraculous, and very significant. Gideon and his men were going to fight the Midianites; could God distinguish between a small fleece of Israel, and the vast floor of Midian? Gideon is made to know that God could do so. Is Gideon desirous that the dew of Divine grace might come down upon himself in particular? He sees the fleece wet with dew to assure him of it. Does he desire that God will be as the dew to all Israel? Behold, all the ground is wet. What cause we sinners of the Gentiles have, to bless the Lord that the dew of heavenly blessings, once confined to Israel, is now sent to all the inhabitants of the earth! Yet still the means of grace are in different measures, according to the purposes of God. In the same congregation, one man's soul is like Gideon's moistened fleece, another like the dry ground.

Cross References 72

  • 1. S Judges 2:11
  • 2. S Genesis 25:2; Numbers 25:15-18; Numbers 31:1-3
  • 3. 1 Samuel 13:6; Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 8:21; Isaiah 26:16; Isaiah 37:3
  • 4. Isaiah 2:19; Jeremiah 48:28; Jeremiah 49:8,30
  • 5. Job 24:8; Jeremiah 41:9; Hebrews 11:38
  • 6. Numbers 13:29; Judges 3:13
  • 7. S Genesis 25:6; Isaiah 11:14; Jeremiah 49:28
  • 8. Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:30,51; Isaiah 10:6; Isaiah 39:6; Isaiah 42:22
  • 9. S Genesis 10:19
  • 10. S Deuteronomy 28:42; Judges 7:12
  • 11. Judges 8:10; Isaiah 21:7; Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 49:32
  • 12. S Judges 3:9
  • 13. S Judges 3:9
  • 14. Deuteronomy 18:15; 1 Kings 20:13,22; 2 Kings 17:13,23; Nehemiah 9:29; Job 36:10; Jeremiah 25:5; Ezekiel 18:30-31
  • 15. S Judges 2:1
  • 16. Joshua 24:17
  • 17. S Numbers 10:9; Psalms 136:24
  • 18. Psalms 44:2
  • 19. S Exodus 20:5; 2 Kings 17:35
  • 20. S Joshua 24:15; Jeremiah 10:2
  • 21. S Genesis 16:7
  • 22. S Joshua 18:23
  • 23. ver 29; Judges 7:14; Judges 8:13,29
  • 24. S Numbers 26:30; Joshua 17:2
  • 25. Judges 7:1; Judges 8:1; Hebrews 11:32
  • 26. Ruth 2:17; Ruth 3:2; 1 Samuel 23:1; 1 Chronicles 21:20
  • 27. Nehemiah 13:15; Isaiah 16:10; Isaiah 63:3; Lamentations 1:15; Joel 3:13
  • 28. S Joshua 1:5; Ruth 2:4; 1 Samuel 10:7; Psalms 129:8; Judges 13:3; Luke 1:11,28
  • 29. Judges 11:1
  • 30. S Joshua 3:5
  • 31. 2 Samuel 7:22; Psalms 44:1; Psalms 78:3
  • 32. S Deuteronomy 31:17; 2 Chronicles 15:2
  • 33. Hebrews 11:34
  • 34. ver 36; Judges 10:1; 2 Kings 14:27
  • 35. Isaiah 60:22
  • 36. Exodus 3:11; 1 Samuel 9:21
  • 37. Exodus 3:12; S Numbers 14:43; Joshua 1:5
  • 38. ver 36-37; S Genesis 24:14; S Exodus 3:12; S Exodus 4:8; Isaiah 38:7-8
  • 39. Judges 13:15
  • 40. S Leviticus 19:36
  • 41. Genesis 18:7-8
  • 42. Judges 13:19
  • 43. S Exodus 4:2
  • 44. S Leviticus 9:24
  • 45. Judges 13:16,21
  • 46. Genesis 32:30; Exodus 33:20; Judges 13:22
  • 47. Daniel 10:19
  • 48. S Genesis 16:13; S Deuteronomy 5:26
  • 49. S Genesis 22:14
  • 50. S Joshua 18:23; Judges 8:32
  • 51. ver 26,28,30; Exodus 34:13; S Judges 2:13; Deuteronomy 7:5
  • 52. S Genesis 8:20
  • 53. ver 30; 1 Kings 16:32; 2 Kings 21:3
  • 54. S ver 11
  • 55. S ver 28
  • 56. 1 Samuel 24:15; Psalms 43:1; Jeremiah 30:13
  • 57. Judges 7:1; Judges 8:29,35; Judges 9:1; 1 Samuel 12:11
  • 58. Numbers 13:29
  • 59. S Genesis 25:6; ver 3
  • 60. S Joshua 15:56; Ezekiel 25:4; Hosea 1:5; Joshua 17:16
  • 61. S Judges 3:10; 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2 Chronicles 24:20
  • 62. S Joshua 6:20; S Judges 3:27
  • 63. S Joshua 17:2
  • 64. S Joshua 17:7
  • 65. S Judges 4:6
  • 66. Judges 7:23
  • 67. S ver 14
  • 68. Job 31:20
  • 69. S Numbers 18:27; 2 Samuel 6:6; 2 Samuel 24:16; Exodus 4:3-7
  • 70. S Genesis 24:14
  • 71. Genesis 18:32
  • 72. Exodus 4:3-7; Isaiah 38:7

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms
  • [b]. Or "Take a full-grown, mature bull from your father’s herd"
  • [c]. That is, a wooden symbol of the goddess Asherah; also in verses 26, 28 and 30
  • [d]. Or "build with layers of stone an"
  • [e]. Or "full-grown" ; also in verse 28
  • [f]. "Jerub-Baal" probably means "let Baal contend."

Chapter Summary


In this chapter we have an account of the distressed condition Israel was in through the Midianites, Jud 6:1-6, of a prophet being sent unto them to reprieve them for their sins, Jud 6:7-10 of an angel appearing to Gideon, with an order to him to go and save Israel out of the hands of the Midianites, Jud 6:11-16 and of a sign given him by the angel, whereby he knew this order was of God, Jud 6:17-24, and of the reformation from idolatry in his father's family he made upon this, throwing down the altar of Baal, and building one for the Lord, Jud 6:25-32, and of the preparation he made to fight the Midianites and others, Jud 6:33-35, but first desired a sign of the Lord, that Israel would be saved by his hand, which was granted and repeated, Jud 6:36-40.

Judges 6 Commentaries

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