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Judges 6:11-24

Context
Gideon Meets Some Visitors

6:11 The Lord’s angelic messenger 1  came and sat down under the oak tree in Ophrah owned by Joash the Abiezrite. He arrived while Joash’s son Gideon 2  was threshing 3  wheat in a winepress 4  so he could hide it from the Midianites. 5  6:12 The Lord’s messenger appeared and said to him, “The Lord is with you, courageous warrior!” 6:13 Gideon said to him, “Pardon me, 6  but if the Lord is with us, why has such disaster 7  overtaken us? Where are all his miraculous deeds our ancestors told us about? They said, 8  ‘Did the Lord not bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.” 6:14 Then the Lord himself 9  turned to him and said, “You have the strength. 10  Deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites! 11  Have I not sent you?” 6:15 Gideon 12  said to him, “But Lord, 13  how 14  can I deliver Israel? Just look! My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family.” 15  6:16 The Lord said to him, “Ah, but 16  I will be with you! You will strike down the whole Midianite army.” 17  6:17 Gideon 18  said to him, “If you really are pleased with me, 19  then give me 20  a sign as proof that it is really you speaking with me. 6:18 Do not leave this place until I come back 21  with a gift 22  and present it to you.” The Lord said, “I will stay here until you come back.”

6:19 Gideon went and prepared a young goat, 23  along with unleavened bread made from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. He brought the food 24  to him under the oak tree and presented it to him. 6:20 God’s messenger said to him, “Put the meat and unleavened bread on this rock, 25  and pour out the broth.” Gideon did as instructed. 26  6:21 The Lord’s messenger touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of his staff. 27  Fire flared up from the rock and consumed the meat and unleavened bread. The Lord’s messenger then disappeared. 28 

6:22 When Gideon realized 29  that it was the Lord’s messenger, he 30  said, “Oh no! 31  Master, Lord! 32  I have seen the Lord’s messenger face to face!” 6:23 The Lord said to him, “You are safe! 33  Do not be afraid! You are not going to die!” 6:24 Gideon built an altar for the Lord there, and named it “The Lord is on friendly terms with me.” 34  To this day it is still there in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

1 tn The adjective “angelic” is interpretive.

sn The Lord’s angelic messenger is also mentioned in Judg 2:1.

2 tn Heb “Now Gideon his son…” The Hebrew circumstantial clause (note the pattern vav [ו] + subject + predicate) breaks the narrative sequence and indicates that the angel’s arrival coincided with Gideon’s threshing.

3 tn Heb “beating out.”

4 sn Threshing wheat in a winepress. One would normally thresh wheat at the threshing floor outside the city. Animals and a threshing sledge would be employed. Because of the Midianite threat, Gideon was forced to thresh with a stick in a winepress inside the city. For further discussion see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 63.

5 tn Heb “Midian.”

6 tn Heb “But my lord.”

7 tn Heb “all this.”

8 tn Heb “saying.”

9 sn Some interpreters equate the Lord and the messenger in this story, but they are more likely distinct. In vv. 22-23 the Lord and Gideon continue to carry on a conversation after the messenger has vanished (v. 21).

10 tn Heb “Go in this strength of yours.”

11 tn Heb “the hand of Midian.”

12 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Gideon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 tn Note the switch to אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “Lord”). Gideon seems aware that he is speaking to someone other than, and superior to, the messenger, whom he addressed as אֲדֹנִי (’adoniy, “my lord”) in v. 13.

14 tn Heb “with what.”

15 tn Heb “in my father’s house.”

16 tn Or “certainly.”

17 tn Heb “You will strike down Midian as one man.” The idiom “as one man” emphasizes the collective unity of a group (see Judg 20:8, 11). Here it may carry the force, “as if they were just one man.”

18 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Gideon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “If I have found favor in your eyes.”

20 tn Heb “perform for me.”

21 tn The Hebrew text adds “to you,” but this has not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

22 tn Heb “and I will bring out my gift.” The precise nuance of the Hebrew word מִנְחָה (minkhah, “gift”) is uncertain in this context. It may refer to a gift offered as a sign of goodwill or submission. In some cases it is used of a gift offered to appease someone whom the offerer has offended. The word can also carry a sacrificial connotation.

23 tn Heb “a kid from among the goats.”

24 tn The words “the food” are not in the Hebrew text (an implied direct object). They are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.

25 tn Heb “Take the meat…and put [it] on this rock.”

26 tn Heb “and he did so.”

27 tn Heb “extended the tip of the staff which was in his hand and touched the meat and unleavened bread.”

28 tn Heb “went from his eyes.”

29 tn Heb “saw.”

30 tn Heb “Gideon.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

31 tn Or “Ah!”

32 tn The Hebrew text reads אֲדֹנַי יְהוִה (’adonay yÿhvih, “Lord [the same title used in v. 15], Lord”).

33 tn Heb “Peace to you.” For a similar use of this idiom to introduce a reassuring word, see Gen 43:23.

34 tn Heb “The Lord is peace.” Gideon’s name for the altar plays on the Lord’s reassuring words to him, “Peace to you.”



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