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Judges 6:6-16

Context
6:6 Israel was so severely weakened by Midian that the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.

6:7 When the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help because of Midian, 6:8 he 1  sent a prophet 2  to the Israelites. He said to them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I brought you up from Egypt 3  and took you out of that place of slavery. 4  6:9 I rescued you from Egypt’s power 5  and from the power of all who oppressed you. I drove them out before you and gave their land to you. 6:10 I said to you, “I am the Lord your God! Do not worship 6  the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living!” But you have disobeyed me.’” 7 

Gideon Meets Some Visitors

6:11 The Lord’s angelic messenger 8  came and sat down under the oak tree in Ophrah owned by Joash the Abiezrite. He arrived while Joash’s son Gideon 9  was threshing 10  wheat in a winepress 11  so he could hide it from the Midianites. 12  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, 13  but if the Lord is with us, why has such disaster 14  overtaken us? Where are all his miraculous deeds our ancestors told us about? They said, 15  ‘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 16  turned to him and said, “You have the strength. 17  Deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites! 18  Have I not sent you?” 6:15 Gideon 19  said to him, “But Lord, 20  how 21  can I deliver Israel? Just look! My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family.” 22  6:16 The Lord said to him, “Ah, but 23  I will be with you! You will strike down the whole Midianite army.” 24 

1 tn Heb “the Lord”; the proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

2 tn Heb “a man, a prophet.” Hebrew idiom sometimes puts a generic term before a more specific designation.

3 tc Some ancient witnesses read “from the land of Egypt.” מֵאֶרֶץ (meerets, “from the land [of]”) could have been accidentally omitted by homoioarcton (note the following מִמִּצְרַיִם [mimmitsrayim, “from Egypt”]).

4 tn Heb “of the house of slavery.”

5 tn Heb “hand” (also a second time later in this verse).

6 tn Heb “Do not fear.”

7 tn Heb “you have not listened to my voice.”

8 tn The adjective “angelic” is interpretive.

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

9 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.

10 tn Heb “beating out.”

11 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.

12 tn Heb “Midian.”

13 tn Heb “But my lord.”

14 tn Heb “all this.”

15 tn Heb “saying.”

16 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).

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

18 tn Heb “the hand of Midian.”

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

20 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.

21 tn Heb “with what.”

22 tn Heb “in my father’s house.”

23 tn Or “certainly.”

24 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.”



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