Then said he to Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom you slew at Tabor? And they answered, As you are, so were they…
I. As a man is PHYSICALLY, so is his strength. If we are to estimate him by his muscular strength, we must take into account his bodily form, his age, his health, his build, his stature. Gideon belonged, as we may say, to the order of nature's nobility. Now, it is perfectly true that we cannot give to ourselves a handsome mien, nor add one cubit to our stature; nevertheless, it is equally true that we can do much to promote our health, to build up our constitution, and even to give dignity to our physical presence. By a regular life, by scrupulous temperance, by due bodily exercise, by habits of order and cleanliness, every one can do not a little in this direction.
II. As a man is INTELLECTUALLY so is his strength. I use the word "strength" here as meaning power of work, capacity for accomplishing the ends of life, and making the world the better for his existence. I suppose that, during the past hundred years, no proverb has been more often quoted, as none has been more largely illustrated, than the pithy aphorism of Lord Bacon, "Knowledge is power." In order to succeed, it is requisite to have intelligence and brains. The commerce of England is not indeed in the hands of learned scholars; but it is, for the most part, in the hands of shrewd, clear-headed, practical men, who understand their business, and know how to push it. Thus intellect becomes an equivalent for strength, and mind means money. In real power of work, the skilled artisan leaves the mere labourer far behind, and the thoughtful clerk the mere mechanical penman; so that as a man is in intelligence so is his strength.
III. As a man is MORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY, so is his strength. Character and faith, I will venture to say, more than anything else, determine your power of overcoming difficulty and of accomplishing good. This is the sure gauge of your personal force in society and in the world. A man with a resolute conscience will always be a power.
IV. As the man is IN FAITH, so is his strength. Ah! that's the main point of all. What a work that brave soul accomplished all through unshaken confidence in his God! Be that faith yours, young men, and you shall be strong, and shall overcome the wicked one. There is no strength in the world to compare with that which faith imparts, especially the faith which lays hold of a risen and all-sufficient Redeemer. The splendid undertakings of an Alexander, Hannibal, a Caesar, are nothing to the achievements which it has accomplished. It has mastered legions of passions, quelled the turbulence of lust, overcome the world, driven the devil to flight, and thrown open an entrance to the palaces of heaven!
(J. T. Davidson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king.