Today’s passage: Judges 8:22-36
- This passage reminds us that Israel’s years of rest were not necessarily years of God-honoring righteous living. They were simply years where enemy peoples were not invading or warring with them.
- Jerubbaal is Gideon. He was given this name in Judges 6:32 because the people thought Baal would contend against Gideon after he tore down that altar.
- One thing Gideon did prevent Israel from doing was worshiping Baal specifically (That ephod on the other hand…).
- As soon as Gideon died, Israel went back to Baal worship, to the extent of officially declaring Baal-berith their national god!
- Berith means covenant. They were worshiping the Baal of the Covenant! (Joshua 24:24-25)
- As bad as things got during Gideon’s time, it would have been even worse without him!
- Gideon declared he would not reign in Israel (Which was the right thing to say), yet:
- He requested part of the spoil from every man. This was a typical show of submission.
- He kept the royal collars from the camels of the Midianite royalty. Only royalty had a right to do that.
- He made his city a center of pagan worship with the ephod. Worship of that false god would be an act of subservience to Gideon/Jerubbaal.
- This act also made Ophrah Israel’s capital city.
- He took multiple wives and had seventy sons.
- He named one of his sons Abimelech, which either means “My father is king” or “My father is Melech” (A pagan god). The latter meaning was the same name used by other kings/princes in the region. Either way, it was a name for royalty.
Questions to consider:
- What have you learned over the last few days in the narrative of Gideon that was surprising/new to you? How is Gideon usually perceived today? What does the Word of God say?
- Why is it hard to simply declare that Gideon was a “good guy” or a “bad guy”? (In Sunday school classes for instance, children might hear, “Gideon was a mighty man of valor who had faith in God and defeated the Midianites…be like Gideon!”) How might this generalization mislead us as to the true nature of man, the right application of these Old Testament “Bible stories”, and our need of the Gospel?
- What is/are the right application(s) of this “Bible story”? What are you learning that can help you grow as a follower of Jesus Christ?