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Judges 6:28-40

Context

6:28 When the men of the city got up the next morning, they saw 1  the Baal altar pulled down, the nearby Asherah pole cut down, and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar. 6:29 They said to one another, 2  “Who did this?” 3  They investigated the matter thoroughly 4  and concluded 5  that Gideon son of Joash had done it. 6:30 The men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, so we can execute him! 6  He pulled down the Baal altar and cut down the nearby Asherah pole.” 6:31 But Joash said to all those who confronted him, 7  “Must you fight Baal’s battles? 8  Must you rescue him? Whoever takes up his cause 9  will die by morning! 10  If he really is a god, let him fight his own battles! 11  After all, it was his altar that was pulled down.” 12  6:32 That very day Gideon’s father named him Jerub-Baal, 13  because he had said, “Let Baal fight with him, for it was his altar that was pulled down.”

Gideon Summons an Army and Seeks Confirmation

6:33 All the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people from the east 14  assembled. They crossed the Jordan River 15  and camped in the Jezreel Valley. 6:34 The Lord’s spirit took control of 16  Gideon. He blew a trumpet, 17  summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 18  6:35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh and summoned them to follow him as well. 19  He also sent messengers throughout Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet him.

6:36 Gideon said to God, “If you really intend to use me to deliver Israel, 20  as you promised, then give me a sign as proof. 21  6:37 Look, I am putting a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece, and the ground around it 22  is dry, then I will be sure 23  that you will use me to deliver Israel, 24  as you promised.” 6:38 The Lord did as he asked. 25  When he got up the next morning, he squeezed the fleece, and enough dew dripped from it to fill a bowl. 26  6:39 Gideon said to God, “Please do not get angry at me, when I ask for just one more sign. 27  Please allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make only the fleece dry, while the ground around it is covered with dew.” 28  6:40 That night God did as he asked. 29  Only the fleece was dry and the ground around it was covered with dew.

1 tn Heb “look!” The narrator uses this word to invite his audience/readers to view the scene through the eyes of the men.

2 tn Heb “each one to his neighbor.”

3 tn Heb “this thing.”

4 tn Heb “they inquired and searched.” The synonyms are joined to emphasize the care with which they conducted their inquiry.

5 tn Heb “and said.” Perhaps the plural subject is indefinite. If so, it could be translated, “they were told.”

6 tn Heb “and let him die.” The jussive form with vav after the imperative is best translated as a purpose clause.

7 tn Heb “to all who stood against him.”

8 tn Heb “Do you fight for Baal?”

9 tn Heb “fights for him.”

10 sn Whoever takes up his cause will die by morning. This may be a warning to the crowd that Joash intends to defend his son and to kill anyone who tries to execute Gideon. Then again, it may be a sarcastic statement about Baal’s apparent inability to defend his own honor. Anyone who takes up Baal’s cause may end up dead, perhaps by the same hand that pulled down the pagan god’s altar.

11 tn Heb “fight for himself.”

12 tn Heb “for he pulled down his altar.” The subject of the verb, if not Gideon, is indefinite (in which case a passive translation is permissible).

13 tn Heb “He called him on that day Jerub-Baal.” The name means, at least by popular etymology, “Let Baal fight!”

14 tn Heb “Midian, Amalek, and the sons of the east.”

15 tn The words “the Jordan River” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarification.

16 tn Heb “clothed.”

17 tn That is, “mustered an army.”

18 tn Heb “Abiezer was summoned after him.”

19 tn Heb “and he also was summoned after him.”

20 tn More literally, “you are about to deliver Israel by my hand.”

21 tn The words “then give me a sign as proof” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

22 tn Heb “all the ground.”

23 tn Or “know.”

24 tn Heb “you will deliver Israel by my hand.”

25 tn Heb “And it was so.”

26 tn Heb “dew dripped from the fleece – a bowl full of water.”

27 tn Heb “Let your anger not rage at me, so that I might speak only this once.”

28 tn Heb “let the fleece alone be dry, while dew is on all the ground.”

29 tn Heb “God did so that night.”



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