Thoughts on Judges 8

Note: I had some issues with my site over the weekend and lost a couple of posts. If you have already seen this, I apologize for the re-post.

We’re reading through Judges at Oak Tree Church, and I’m posting some observations from my daily readings here within a day or two after the reading. I’d love for you to join in the discussion.

Thoughts on Judges 8

The officials of Succoth said, “You have not yet overpowered Zebah and Zalmunna. So why should we give bread to your army?” … He went up from there to Penuel and made the same request. The men of Penuel responded the same way the men of Succoth had. Judges 8:6, 8 NET

Gideon’s request and response to these city elders remind me of what Jesus told his messengers to do if their message was rejected in a city (see Matthew 10:14-15). God seems to have little patience for those who talk a good spiritual/religious game but get in the way of those actually trying to do his work.

Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” Gideon continued, “I would like to make one request. Each of you give me an earring from the plunder you have taken.” (The Midianites had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites.) They said, “We are happy to give you earrings.” So they spread out a garment, and each one threw an earring from his plunder onto it. The total weight of the gold earrings he requested came to seventeen hundred gold shekels. This was in addition to the crescent-shaped ornaments, jewelry, purple clothing worn by the Midianite kings, and the necklaces on the camels. Gideon used all this to make an ephod, which he put in his hometown of Ophrah. All the Israelites prostituted themselves to it by worshiping it there. It became a snare to Gideon and his family.

The Israelites humiliated Midian; the Midianites’ fighting spirit was broken. The land had rest for forty years during Gideon’s time. Then Jerub-Baal son of Joash went home and settled down. Gideon fathered seventy sons through his many wives. His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also gave him a son, whom he named Abimelech. Gideon son of Joash died at a very old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash located in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Judges 8:23-32 NET

Gideon did at least 5 things contrary to God’s plan that hurt him, his family, and all of Israel:

  1. Put on a face of false humility and spirituality that was not reflected in his actions (vs. 23)
  2. Took advantage of his popularity to gain great wealth at the expense of the people (vs. 24-26)
  3. Crossed the line between political leader/judge and spiritual leader/priest by making an ephod (a priest’s robe). Even though he didn’t accept worship directly, he led Israel and his family in false worship away God (vs. 27)
  4. Followed the practices of the pagan peoples around him in marrying many women (including those who didn’t worship God), thus turning his back on God’s ways for marriage and family (vs. 30)
  5. Set up a royal dynasty, even though he said he wouldn’t (vs. 23). He named his son “Abimelech” which means “my father is king” (vs. 31).

What did you see in these verses? What was important to you in Judges 8 that I did not see?