וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה וַיִּתְּנֵם יְהוָה בְּיַד־מִדְיָן שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים׃ 6:1
Judg. 6:1 And the children of Israel did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
וַתָּעָז יַד־מִדְיָן עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִפְּנֵי מִדְיָן עָשׂוּ לָהֶם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַמִּנְהָרוֹת אֲשֶׁר בֶּהָרִים וְאֶת־ 6:2
Judg. 6:2 And the hand of Midian prevailed over Israel; because of Midian the children of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds.
I imagine that these might have eventually become the caves near the site of Qumran, as well as the fortress at Masada.
וְהָיָה אִם־זָרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעָלָה מִדְיָן וַעֲמָלֵק וּבְנֵי־קֶדֶם וְעָלוּ עָלָיו׃ 6:3
Judg. 6:3 So it would be when Israel had planted that Midian would come up, and Amalek, and the children of the east; and they would come up against him,
וַיַּחֲנוּ עֲלֵיהֶם וַיַּשְׁחִיתוּ אֶת־יְבוּל הָאָרֶץ עַד־בּוֹאֲךָ עַזָּה וְלֹא־יַשְׁאִירוּ מִחְיָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וְשֶׂה וָשׁוֹר 6:4
Judg. 6:4 and they camped against them and they destroyed the produce of the earth as far as your coming into Gaza, and would not leave any sustenance in Israel, or sheep or ox or ass.
כִּי הֵם וּמִקְנֵיהֶם יַעֲלוּ וְאָהֳלֵיהֶם יבאו כְדֵי־אַרְבֶּה לָרֹב וְלָהֶם וְלִגְמַלֵּיהֶם אֵין מִסְפָּר וַיָּבֹאו בָאָרֶץּ 6:5
Judg. 6:5 For they, with their cattle, would come up, and bring their tents, as much as locusts for multitude, that for them and for their camels there was no number; and they came into the land to destroy it.
וַיִּדַּל יִשְׂרָאֵל מְאֹד מִפְּנֵי מִדְיָן וַיִּזְעֲקוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־יְהוָה׃ 6:6
Judg. 6:6 And Israel was very impoverished because of Midian, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.
וַיְהִי כִּי־זָעֲקוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־יְהוָה עַל אֹדוֹת מִדְיָן׃ 6:7
Judg. 6:7 And it was when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of Midian,
וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהוָה אִישׁ נָבִיא אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָנֹכִי הֶעֱלֵיתִי 6:8
אֶתְכֶם מִמִּצְרַיִם וָאֹצִיא אֶתְכֶם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים׃
Judg. 6:8 that the Lord sent an inspired man to the children of Israel, and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt so I could bring you forth from the house of bondage,
וָאַצִּל אֶתְכֶם מִיַּד מִצְרַיִם וּמִיַּד כָּל־לֹחֲצֵיכֶם וָאֲגָרֵשׁ אוֹתָם מִפְּנֵיכֶם וָאֶתְּנָה לָכֶם אֶת־אַרְצָם׃ 6:9
Judg. 6:9 so I could rescue you from the hand of the Egyptians, and from the hand of everyone oppressing you, so I could drive them out from before you and give their land to you,
וָאֹמְרָה לָכֶם אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לֹא תִירְאוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵי הָאֱמֹרִי אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם יוֹשְׁבִים בְּאַרְצָם וְלֹא 6:10
Judg. 6:10 so I could say to you, ‘I am the Lord, your God. You shall not revere the gods of the Amorite in whose land you will be dwelling,’ but you have not listened in to My voice.’”
וַיָּבֹא מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה וַיֵּשֶׁב תַּחַת הָאֵלָה אֲשֶׁר בְּעָפְרָה אֲשֶׁר לְיוֹאָשׁ אֲבִי הָעֶזְרִי וְגִדְעוֹן בְּנוֹ חֹבֵט 6:11
חִטִּים בַּגַּת לְהָנִיס מִפְּנֵי מִדְיָן׃
Judg. 6:11 And an angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak tree that was in Ophrah, which was Joash’s, an Abi-ezrite, and Gideon, his son, was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide from the face of Midian.
וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְהוָה עִמְּךָ גִּבּוֹר הֶחָיִל׃ 6:12
Judg. 6:12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו גִּדְעוֹן בִּי אֲדֹנִי וְיֵשׁ יְהוָה עִמָּנוּ וְלָמָּה מְצָאַתְנוּ כָּל־זֹאת וְאַיֵּה כָל־נִפְלְאֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר 6:13
סִפְּרוּ־לָנוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לֵאמֹר הֲלֹא מִמִּצְרַיִם הֶעֱלָנוּ יְהוָה וְעַתָּה נְטָשָׁנוּ יְהוָה וַיִּתְּנֵנוּ בְּכַף־מִדְיָן׃
Judg. 6:13 And Gideon said to him, “Oh my lord, so where is the Lord with us, and why has all this befallen us, and where are all His wondrous works of which our fathers told to us saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has cast us off and delivered us into the palm of Midian.”
Notice, the angel tells Gideon in v. 6:12 that “The Lord is with you,” the pronoun you being singular. But in this verse Gideon responds with “... so where is the Lord with us,...,” using a plural pronoun. He apparently did not regard the Lord as personal to him but only as Master or Guardian of Israel. Perhaps this attitude or understanding led him to resort to his tests described later in the chapter. Only after a personal demonstration would he accept that the Lord was with him.
וַיִּפֶן אֵלָיו יְהוָה וַיֹּאמֶר לֵךְ בְּכֹחֲךָ זֶה וְהוֹשַׁעְתָּ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִכַּף מִדְיָן הֲלֹא שְׁלַחְתִּיךָ׃ 6:14
Judg. 6:14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Pursue this with your might and you will save Israel from the grip of Midian. Have I not sent you?”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו בִּי אֲדֹנָי בַּמָּה אוֹשִׁיעַ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל הִנֵּה אַלְפִּי הַדַּל בִּמְנַשֶּׁה וְאָנֹכִי הַצָּעִיר בְּבֵית אָבִי׃ 6:15
Judg. 6:15 And he said to Him, “Excuse me, my Lord, with what shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh and I am the youngest in the house of my father.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְהוָה כִּי אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ וְהִכִּיתָ אֶת־מִדְיָן כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד׃ 6:16
Judg. 6:16 And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you so you will smite Midian as if one man.”
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אִם־נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וְעָשִׂיתָ לִּי אוֹת שָׁאַתָּה מְדַבֵּר עִמִּי׃ 6:17
Judg. 6:17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then You will show a sign to me that it is You who is speaking with me.”
Please take notice of how I have interpreted this verse by my capitalization of the various second-person pronouns in the verse. I have to do this because vss. 6:12 to 6:18 present a confusing picture of the situation. Are both the Lord and an angel there? Are the Lord and the angel one? Is the Lord speaking through the angel? Is the Lord speaking directly to Gideon? Does Gideon understand that the Lord is there with him? None of these questions can be answered by the information in the narrative. So I have taken the liberty to assume that the Lord was speaking through the angel, and Gideon would need some kind of proof that it was indeed the Lord speaking. Thus as I see it, Gideon was addressing the angel, but speaking through him to the Lord.
אַל־נָא תָמֻשׁ מִזֶּה עַד־בֹּאִי אֵלֶיךָ וְהֹצֵאתִי אֶת־מִנְחָתִי וְהִנַּחְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ וַיֹּאמַר אָנֹכִי אֵשֵׁב עַד שׁוּבֶךָ׃ 6:18
Judg. 6:18 “Please do not withdraw from this until my return to you and I bring out my gift and set down before you.” And he said, “I will wait until your return.”
וְגִדְעוֹן בָּא וַיַּעַשׂ גְּדִי־עִזִּים וְאֵיפַת־קֶמַח מַצּוֹת הַבָּשָׂר שָׂם בַּסַּל וְהַמָּרַק שָׂם בַּפָּרוּר וַיּוֹצֵא אֵלָיו 6:19
אֶל־תַּחַת הָאֵלָה וַיַּגַּשׁ׃
Judg. 6:19 So Gideon went in and prepared a kid and an ephah of meal of unleavened cakes. The flesh he put in a basket and the broth he put in a pot, and he brought out to him, to under the oak tree, and he offered.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים קַח אֶת־הַבָּשָׂר וְאֶת־הַמַּצּוֹת וְהַנַּח אֶל־הַסֶּלַע הַלָּז וְאֶת־הַמָּרַק 6:20
שְׁפוֹךְ וַיַּעַשׂ כֵּן׃
Judg. 6:20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes and lay by this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so.
וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה אֶת־קְצֵה הַמִּשְׁעֶנֶת אֲשֶׁר בְּיָדוֹ וַיִּגַּע בַּבָּשָׂר וּבַמַּצּוֹת וַתַּעַל הָאֵשׁ מִן־הַצּוּר 6:21
וַתֹּאכַל אֶת־הַבָּשָׂר וְאֶת־הַמַּצּוֹת וּמַלְאַךְ יְהוָה הָלַךְ מֵעֵינָיו׃
Judg. 6:21 Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand and made contact with the flesh and the unleavened cakes and there rose the fire from the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and the angel of the Lord departed from his sight.
וַיַּרְא גִּדְעוֹן כִּי־מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה הוּא וַיֹּאמֶר גִּדְעוֹן אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה כִּי־עַל־כֵּן רָאִיתִי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה 6:22
Judg. 6:22 And Gideon saw that he was an angel of the Lord, and Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord, it is the Lord! Forasmuch as I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face!”
וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ יְהוָה שָׁלוֹם לְךָ אַל־תִּירָא לֹא תָּמוּת׃ 6:23
Judg. 6:23 And the Lord said to him, “Peace to you; do not fear, you shall not die.”
וַיִּבֶן שָׁם גִּדְעוֹן מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהוָה וַיִּקְרָא־לוֹ יְהוָה שָׁלוֹם עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה עוֹדֶנּוּ בְּעָפְרָת אֲבִי הָעֶזְרִי׃ 6:24
Judg. 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and he called it Adonai-shalom. Until this day, until us, it is in Ophrah of Abi-ezrite.
וַיְהִי בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ יְהוָה קַח אֶת־פַּר־הַשּׁוֹר אֲשֶׁר לְאָבִיךָ וּפַר הַשֵּׁנִי שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וְהָרַסְתָּ 6:25
אֶת־מִזְבַּח הַבַּעַל אֲשֶׁר לְאָבִיךָ וְאֶת־הָאֲשֵׁרָה אֲשֶׁר־עָלָיו תִּכְרֹת׃
Judg. 6:25 And it was in that same night that the Lord said to him, “Take a young bullock that is your father's and a second bullock of seven years, and throw down the altar of Baal that is your father's, and cut down the Asherah that is above it,
וּבָנִיתָ מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ עַל רֹאשׁ הַמָּעוֹז הַזֶּה בַּמַּעֲרָכָה וְלָקַחְתָּ אֶת־הַפָּר הַשֵּׁנִי וְהַעֲלִיתָ עוֹלָה 6:26
בַּעֲצֵי הָאֲשֵׁרָה אֲשֶׁר תִּכְרֹת׃
Judg. 6:26 and build an altar to the Lord, your God, on top of this stronghold in an ordered place, and you shall take the second bullock and you shall offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you will have cut down.”
וַיִּקַּח גִּדְעוֹן עֲשָׂרָה אֲנָשִׁים מֵעֲבָדָיו וַיַּעַשׂ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֵלָיו יְהוָה וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר יָרֵא אֶת־בֵּית אָבִיו 6:27
וְאֶת־אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר מֵעֲשׂוֹת יוֹמָם וַיַּעַשׂ לָיְלָה׃
Judg. 6:27 Then Gideon took ten men from his servants and did as the Lord had spoken to him, but it was that he did by night, as he feared the household of his father and the men of the city by doing by day.
וַיַּשְׁכִּימוּ אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר בַּבֹּקֶר וְהִנֵּה נֻתַּץ מִזְבַּח הַבַּעַל וְהָאֲשֵׁרָה אֲשֶׁר־עָלָיו כֹּרָתָה וְאֵת הַפָּר הַשֵּׁנִי 6:28
הֹעֲלָה עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ הַבָּנוּי׃
Judg. 6:28 When the men of the city rose early in the morning, then behold, the altar of Baal was thrown down, and the Asherah that was over it was cut down, and the second bullock had been offered on the altar that had been built.
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵהוּ מִי עָשָׂה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וַיִּדְרְשׁוּ וַיְבַקְשׁוּ וַיֹּאמְרוּ גִּדְעוֹן בֶּן־יוֹאָשׁ עָשָׂה הַדָּבָר 6:29
Judg. 6:29 And they said one to another, “Who did this thing?” When they inquired and asked, then they said, “Gideon son of Joash did this thing.”
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר אֶל־יוֹאָשׁ הוֹצֵא אֶת־בִּנְךָ וְיָמֹת כִּי נָתַץ אֶת־מִזְבַּח הַבַּעַל וְכִי כָרַת הָאֲשֵׁרָה 6:30
Judg. 6:30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and because he has cut down the Asherah that was over it.”
וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹאָשׁ לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־עָמְדוּ עָלָיו הַאַתֶּם תְּרִיבוּן לַבַּעַל אִם־אַתֶּם תּוֹשִׁיעוּן אוֹתוֹ אֲשֶׁר יָרִיב לוֹ 6:31
יוּמַת עַד־הַבֹּקֶר אִם־אֱלֹהִים הוּא יָרֶב לוֹ כִּי נָתַץ אֶת־מִזְבְּחוֹ׃
Judg. 6:31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Who contends for him will be put to death by morning. If he is a god, he will contend for himself, seeing one has thrown down his altar.”
וַיִּקְרָא־לוֹ בַיּוֹם־הַהוּא יְרֻבַּעַל לֵאמֹר יָרֶב בּוֹ הַבַּעַל כִּי נָתַץ אֶת־מִזְבְּחוֹ׃ 6:32
Judg. 6:32 So a name was given to him on that day of Jerubbaal saying, “Let Baal contend with him because he has thrown down his altar.
The pronoun him refers to Gideon. Jerubbaal means let Baal contend.
וְכָל־מִדְיָן וַעֲמָלֵק וּבְנֵי־קֶדֶם נֶאֶסְפוּ יַחְדָּו וַיַּעַבְרוּ וַיַּחֲנוּ בְּעֵמֶק יִזְרְעֶאל׃ 6:33
Judg. 6:33 Now all Midian and Amalek and the children of the east had assembled together and they had passed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel.
וְרוּחַ יְהוָה לָבְשָׁה אֶת־גִּדְעוֹן וַיִּתְקַע בַּשּׁוֹפָר וַיִּזָּעֵק אֲבִיעֶזֶר אַחֲרָיו׃ 6:34
Judg. 6:34 But the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew on a horn, and gathered Abiezer behind him.
וּמַלְאָכִים שָׁלַח בְּכָל־מְנַשֶּׁה וַיִּזָּעֵק גַּם־הוּא אַחֲרָיו וּמַלְאָכִים שָׁלַח בְּאָשֵׁר וּבִזְבֻלוּן וּבְנַפְתָּלִי 6:35
Judg. 6:35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh and he also gathered behind him; and he sent messengers throughout Asher and throughout Zebulun and throughout Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.
וַיֹּאמֶר גִּדְעוֹן אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִים אִם־יֶשְׁךָ מוֹשִׁיעַ בְּיָדִי אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ׃ 6:36
Judg. 6:36 And Gideon said to He Who is God, “Oh, that it be Your will to save Israel by my hand as You have spoken!”
הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מַצִּיג אֶת־גִּזַּת הַצֶּמֶר בַּגֹּרֶן אִם טַל יִהְיֶה עַל־הַגִּזָּה לְבַדָּהּ וְעַל־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ חֹרֶב וְיָדַעְתִּי 6:37
כִּי־תוֹשִׁיעַ בְּיָדִי אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ׃
Judg. 6:37 “Behold, I am putting a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if dew will be on only the fleece and drought on all the ground, then I will know that You will save Israel by my hand as You have spoken.”
וַיְהִי־כֵן וַיַּשְׁכֵּם מִמָּחֳרָת וַיָּזַר אֶת־הַגִּזָּה וַיִּמֶץ טַל מִן־הַגִּזָּה מְלוֹא הַסֵּפֶל מָיִם׃ 6:38
Judg. 6:38 And it was so; and he rose early the next day and squeezed the fleece and wrung out dew from the fleece the fullness of a bowl of water.
וַיֹּאמֶר גִּדְעוֹן אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִים אַל־יִחַר אַפְּךָ בִּי וַאֲדַבְּרָה אַךְ הַפָּעַם אֲנַסֶּה נָּא־רַק־הַפַּעַם בַּגִּזָּה יְהִי־ 6:39
נָא חֹרֶב אֶל־הַגִּזָּה לְבַדָּהּ וְעַל־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ יִהְיֶה־טָּל׃
Judg. 6:39 Then Gideon said to He Who is God, “Let not Your ‘anger’ be kindled against me, then I will speak only this time; please, I will test just this time with the fleece; let there now be a dryness to the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.”
וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים כֵּן בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיְהִי־חֹרֶב אֶל־הַגִּזָּה לְבַדָּהּ וְעַל־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ הָיָה טָל׃ 6:40
Judg. 6:40 And God did so in that night, and there was dryness to the fleece only and on all the ground there was dew.
Warning! Don’t try this test at home. I doubt that it would be physically dangerous, but it’s likely to fail, and may weaken your faith. On another note, observe how the Lord indulges Gideon in these last few verses. That’s what infinite patience and love look like.
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