Judges Chapter 7  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Judges 7
Jdg 7:1

“by the hill of Moreh in the plain.” The “plain” is part of what we know as the Jezreel Valley, but it is so broad it is really a plain at this point. Gideon’s men were about a mile away from the Midianites.

Jdg 7:2(top)
Jdg 7:3

“Whoever is fearful and trembling.” God told Israel not to be fearful going into battle (Deut. 20:1-9). If part of the army is fearful, it can ruin the morale of the rest of the army.

“from Mount Gilead.” The Ein Harod spring is at the foot of Mount Gilboa, whereas “Gilead” is in the Transjordan. It is possible that here the Hebrew word “Gilead” is translated from a root that can mean “afraid,” and that this is related somehow to being afraid. There are other possibilities as well, one being that there was a mountain referred to as Gilead that was close by but which is now unknown.

Jdg 7:4

“separate them.” This is a word used in the refining of metals.

Jdg 7:5(top)
Jdg 7:6(top)
Jdg 7:7(top)
Jdg 7:8

“So they took the people’s food.” Gideon’s 300 men took the shofars and food of the other men, who returned to their tents.

“all the men of Israel.” This is a hyperbole for the vast majority. Gideon sent home 9,700 men of the 10,000.

“was beneath him in the plain.” So at some point, Gideon and his army climbed Mount Gilboa.

Jdg 7:9

“go down against the camp.” In other words, go and attack the camp.

Jdg 7:10

“go down with Purah your servant to the camp.” It is unfortunate that Judges 7:10 breaks here, because the whole sentence is: “But if you are afraid to go down and attack, you go down with Purah your servant to the camp and hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened to go down against the camp.” The text is playing “go down” against itself. Gideon could “go down” and attack, but if he is too afraid to do that, then he can “go down” and hear what the people are saying. The verse breaks were added centuries after even the text of the New Testament was written.

Jdg 7:11(top)
Jdg 7:12

“as the sand that is on the seashore for multitude.” It was Abraham’s descendants that were to be as numerous as the sand on the seashore, but due to the sin of Israel the situation is reversed and the enemy is that numerous (Gen. 22:17; 32:12).

Jdg 7:13

“turned it upside down.” The Hebrew is related to the tumbling of the barley bread loaf. The loaf tumbled and the tent tumbled.

Jdg 7:14(top)
Jdg 7:15

“interpretation.” The Hebrew is “breaking,” like police “breaking” a case; discovering the truth of it. “Interpretation” catches the sense in this case.

“bowed down in worship.” Gideon was so struck by the power and providence of God that he bowed down right there on the spot. The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body to the earth. It is the same Hebrew word as “worship.”

[For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20.]

Jdg 7:16(top)
Jdg 7:17(top)
Jdg 7:18

“shofar.” The ram’s horn trumpet, not the metal trumpet.

Jdg 7:19

“just set the watch.” The Hebrew uses the figure polyptoton to emphasize that the watch was newly set. They set, set the watch.

[See figure of speech “polyptoton.”]

Jdg 7:20

“for Yahweh and for Gideon.” This can also be translated, “of Yahweh and of Gideon,” which has more emphasis on Yahweh’s part in the battle.

Jdg 7:21

“They each stood in his place.” Gideon’s godly men stood firm and the enemy did not, they cried out and ran away.

Jdg 7:22

“the army fled.” They are fleeing to the east, as we would expect; heading toward home.

Jdg 7:23

“The men of Israel.” The Hebrew is “the man of Israel.” The warriors of Israel were together like one man.

“out of Naphtali and out of Asher.” A lot of these warriors were likely among the men who were sent home. Where are the men of Zebulun? We would expect them in this list.

Jdg 7:24

“fords.” The Hebrew is literally “waters,” but in this case, it refers to the fording areas used for crossing the Jordan.

Jdg 7:25

“Oreb.” Hebrew means “Raven.”

“Zeeb.” Hebrew means “Wolf.”

“beyond the Jordan.” This refers to the west side of the Jordan River. Judges 8:4 shows that Gideon was west of the Jordan.

“And they pursued Midian, and they brought the heads.” The Hebrew text is difficult to exactly translate, which explains the numerous English translations. It seems that Ephraim joined the battle with new energy and defeated Oreb and Zeeb and continued the chase of Midian while sending the heads of the commanders to Gideon as evidence of what they had accomplished.


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