Lesson 29- A Reluctant Leader
v Questions concerning reading
Ø What was Gideon doing when the angel spoke to him? ()
Ø According to the angel, how would God deliver the people? ()
Ø What excuses did Gideon give to God? (6:13,15)
Ø What happened when Gideon put the unleavened cakes and meat on the rock and poured out the broth? ()
Ø Whose altar did Gideon destroy? ()
Ø Why did Gideon destroy the altar at night? ()
Ø How did Gideon first us the fleece to test God? ()
Ø What was the second test Gideon put before God using the fleece? ()
Ø Why did God insist on fewer troops? (7:2)
Ø What two mtheods did God use to decide which trouops would fight the Midianites? (7:3, 5-7)
Ø What did the cake of barley bread represent in the Midianite soldier’s dream? (7:13-14)
Ø What did Gideon’s trouoops hold in their hands when they attacked the Midianite camp? ()
Ø What did Gideon’s troops yell when they attacked? ()
Ø What happened as a result of what Gideon’s troops did? (7:21-22)
v Making the story your own.
Ø Have you ever felt called by God to do something?
§ Were you reluctant or eager?
§ Have you ever failed to do something you felt God was calling you to do?
Ø What do you think about Gideon testing God?
§ Why did he do it?
Ø Have you ever tested God?
Ø Do you believe this is right or wrong?
Ø What tests did God put before Gideon?
Ø Does God ever test us today?
"Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise."
:The story of Gideon's
call reads like the story of the call of a prophet or the call of Moses himself. It is a long story,
showing that Gideon was clearly one of the best known and most respected of the
2The story of the
angel's calling him shows his caution
as well. Is it really God who is calling Gideon?
God has been strangely inactive during
3Gideon's next step is
to show that he is really committed to the worship of
4Gideon is now identified as firmly committed to the cause of the God of Israel. When God calls on him to lead the Israelites against the Midianites and the Amalekites who have again settled in the land, Gideon is quick to call for volunteers to fight in holy warfare against these invaders. His own clan of Abiezer comes first, then others from his tribe of Manasseh. Even then, Gideon tests the call of God twice, by laying a woolen fleece on the threshing floor overnight to see how the dew affects it. Gideon's test of God is that the first morning the fleece is to be wet and the rock dry. So it is. Then the following morning, the fleece is to be dry and the rock wet. And again, that happens. So Gideon goes out to fight.
5Then God puts Gideon to the test! Gideon must reduce his numbers by letting any who are fearful go home. Gideon is left with 10,000 out of 32,000. But the numbers are still too large, so the troops are led to a stream for water; those who lap the water with their tongues are selected, while those who kneel and dip up water with their hands are sent home. Three hundred remain of the 10,000. Now Gideon is almost ready to fight.
6The marvelous story of the rout of the thousands of Midianites is well known. God gives Gideon one further assurance: Gideon goes to the Midianite encampment to check on the morale of the enemy troops. He hears one soldier telling another about a dream. The dream is of a barley cake that comes rolling down the mountainside, striking his tent and destroying it. The other soldier interprets the dream: That barley cake is Gideon! The Lord has delivered this vast host of Midianites and their allies into Gideon's hand.
7It is also intended to be amusing to see Gideon's warriors carrying their equipment to battle. They each have a trumpet, a torch, and a jar to cover the torch. That is quite a lot to manage as one scrambles up the hillsides overlooking the Midianite armies. At the signal, each person sounds the trumpet, waves the torch, and smashes the jar. The noise and the lit-up hillsides throw the Midianites into a panic and they race away, leaving their equipment and their loot behind them. Gideon's three hundred warriors have routed a massive army without striking a single blow.
8Gideon is then asked
by the victorious Israelites to become their hereditary king, with his sons to rule after his
death. Gideon roundly condemns this idea and refuses the kingship .God alone is king; God alone rules over
the people of God. But Gideon, who is only human, does accept a large present from the people and makes some kind of a
religious object. It is called an ephod,
which normally means a short outer
garment worn by priests when they are asking
for God's guidance. Here it refers to something weighty, perhaps a
statue that has a large, decorated cloak
around it. This ephod does become an occasion for the Israelites to go astray
from God; it is therefore no credit
to Gideon or his family, even though Gideon had modestly and
courageously refused to rule as king over
the people. It will not be long,
however, before the Philistines will become such a menace to the people of
1 The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years.
2 The hand of Midian prevailed over
3 For whenever the Israelites put in seed, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them.
4 They would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the land,
as far as the neighborhood of
5 For they and their livestock would come up, and they would even bring their tents, as thick as locusts; neither they nor their camels could be counted; so they wasted the land as they came in.
7 When the Israelites cried to the LORD on account of the Midianites, the LORD sent a prophet to the Israelites; and he said to them, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of slavery; and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians, and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you, and gave you their land; and I said to you, 'I am the LORD your God; you shall not pay reverence to the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.' But you have not given heed to my voice."
11 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites.
12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, you mighty warrior."
13 Gideon answered him, "But sir, if the LORD is with us, why then
has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our
ancestors recounted to us, saying, 'Did not the LORD
bring us up from
14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go in this might of
yours and deliver
15 He responded, "But sir, how can I deliver
16 The LORD said to him, "But I will be with you, and you shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them."
17 Then he said to him, "If now I have found favor with you, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me.
18 Do not depart from here until I come to you, and bring out my present, and set it before you." And he said, "I will stay until you return."
19 So Gideon went into his house and prepared a kid, and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour; the meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the oak and presented them.
20 The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour out the broth." And he did so.
21 Then the angel of the LORD reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.
22 Then Gideon perceived that it was the angel of the LORD; and Gideon said, "Help me, Lord GOD! For I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face."
23 But the LORD said to him, "Peace be to you; do not fear, you shall not die."
24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it, The LORD is peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
25 That night the LORD said to him, "Take your father's bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, in proper order; then take the second bull, and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the sacred pole that you shall cut down."
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants, and did as the LORD had told him; but because he was too afraid of his family and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it by night.
28 When the townspeople rose early in the morning, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the sacred pole beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built.
29 So they said to one another, "Who has done this?" After searching and inquiring, they were told, "Gideon son of Joash did it."
30 Then the townspeople said to Joash, "Bring out your son, so that he may die, for he has pulled down the altar of Baal and cut down the sacred pole beside it."
31 But Joash said to all who were arrayed against him, "Will you contend for Baal? Or will you defend his cause? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been pulled down."
32 Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, "Let Baal contend against him," because he pulled down his altar.
33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and
34 But the spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon; and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.
35 He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. He also sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.
36 Then Gideon said to God, "In order to see whether you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said, I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said."
38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, "Do not let your anger burn against me, let me speak one more time; let me, please, make trial with the fleece just once more; let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew."
40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.
1 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the troops that were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was north of them, below the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
2 The LORD said to Gideon, "The troops with you are too many for
me to give the Midianites into their hand.
3 Now therefore proclaim this in the hearing of the troops, 'Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home.'" Thus Gideon sifted them out; twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained.
4 Then the LORD said to Gideon, "The troops are still too many; take them down to the water and I will sift them out for you there. When I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go with you; and when I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go."
5 So he brought the troops down to the water; and the LORD said to Gideon, "All those who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, you shall put to one side; all those who kneel down to drink, putting their hands to their mouths, you shall put to the other side."
6 The number of those that lapped was three hundred; but all the rest of the troops knelt down to drink water.
7 Then the LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred that lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the others go to their homes."
8 So he took the jars of the troops from their hands, and their
trumpets; and he sent all the rest of
9 That same night the LORD said to him, "Get up, attack the camp; for I have given it into your hand.
10 But if you fear to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah; and you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to attack the camp." Then he went down with his servant Purah to the outposts of the armed men that were in the camp.
12 The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley as thick as locusts; and their camels were without number, countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling a dream to his comrade; and he said, "I had a dream, and in it a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell; it turned upside down, and the tent collapsed."
14 And his comrade answered, "This is no other than the sword of
Gideon son of Joash, a man of
15 When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation,
he worshiped; and he returned to the camp of
16 After he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and put trumpets into the hands of all of them, and empty jars, with torches inside the jars, he said to them, "Look at me, and do the same; when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do.
18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets around the whole camp, and shout, 'For the LORD and for Gideon!'"
19 So Gideon and the hundred who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands.
20 So the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars, holding in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow; and they cried, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!"
21 Every man stood in his place all around the camp, and all the men in camp ran; they cried out and fled.
22 When they blew the three hundred trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.
23 And the men of
24 Then Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of
Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites
and seize the waters against them, as far as Beth-barah,
and also the
25 They captured the two captains of Midian, Oreb
and Zeeb; they killed Oreb
at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb
they killed at the wine press of Zeeb, as they
pursued the Midianites. They brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond
1 Then the Ephraimites said to him, "What have you done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against the Midianites?" And they upbraided him violently.
2 So he said to them, "What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?
3 God has given into your hands the captains of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; what have I been able to do in comparison with you?" When he said this, their anger against him subsided.
4 Then Gideon came to the
5 So he said to the people of Succoth, "Please give some loaves of bread to my followers, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian."
6 But the officials of Succoth said, "Do you already have in your possession the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna, that we should give bread to your army?"
7 Gideon replied, "Well then, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will trample your flesh on the thorns of the wilderness and on briers."
8 From there he went up to Penuel, and made the same request of them; and the people of Penuel answered him as the people of Succoth had answered.
9 So he said to the people of Penuel, "When I come back victorious, I will break down this tower."
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the East; for one hundred twenty thousand men bearing arms had fallen.
11 So Gideon went up by the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the army; for the army was off its guard.
12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled; and he pursued them and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and threw all the army into a panic.
13 When Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres, he caught a young man, one of the people of Succoth, and questioned him; and he listed for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven people.
15 Then he came to the people of Succoth, and said, "Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, 'Do you already have in your possession the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna, that we should give bread to your troops who are exhausted?'"
16 So he took the elders of the city and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them he trampled the people of Succoth.
17 He also broke down the
18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What about the men whom you killed at Tabor?" They answered, "As you are, so were they, every one of them; they resembled the sons of a king."
19 And he replied, "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother; as the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you."
20 So he said to Jether his firstborn, "Go kill them!" But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a boy.
21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, "You come and kill us; for as the man is, so is his strength." So Gideon proceeded to kill Zebah and Zalmunna; and he took the crescents that were on the necks of their camels.
22 Then the Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also; for you have delivered us out of the hand of Midian."
23 Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you."
24 Then Gideon said to them, "Let me make a request of you; each of you give me an earring he has taken as booty." (For the enemy had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)
25 "We will willingly give them," they answered. So they spread a garment, and each threw into it an earring he had taken as booty.
26 The weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold (apart from the crescents and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and the collars that were on the necks of their camels).
27 Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his town, in Ophrah; and all
28 So Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they lifted up their heads no more. So the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.
29 Jerubbaal son of Joash went to live in his own house.
30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives.
31 His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech.
32 Then Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites relapsed and prostituted themselves with the Baals, making Baal-berith their god.
34 The Israelites did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued
them from the hand of all their enemies on every side; and
they did not exhibit loyalty to the house of Jerubbaal
(that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to