Patience Under Provocation
Judges 8:6-17
And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?…

Instead of being supported, as they had good right to expect they would have been, by those who profess to be the Lord's people, instances are by no means rare of men of Gideon's stamp being met on their part by scoffs and insinuations, and positive refusals along with cold prudential admonitions to attend to their own business, and allow matters just to take their course. Nor is this all. There are some who go even farther still — men who, while professing to be the friends of truth, are found actually, out of deliberate malice, envy, or jealousy, refusing to lend a lending hand and casting obstacles in the way of accomplishing the reformation on which their generous hearts are set. Now of all this we are furnished with a striking illustration in what is here recorded as having passed between Gideon and the men of Succoth and Penuel. Yet mark how nobly he continued to restrain the impulse of his resentment — an example which naturally reminds us of that of one greater far than Gideon, when He met with treatment similar, yet worse still, at the hands of those whom He had come to seek and to save from a servitude more deplorable by far. Oh, how amazing was His long-suffering forbearance! How analogous also to the conduct of Gideon, while infinitely more worthy of our admiration, was the patient perseverance with which He went on His way, still carrying forward the work which His Father had given Him to do, and for the sake of those very people who thus shamefully requited His love and service and self-denial, exposed Himself to still greater privations and still severer sufferings than any He had yet borne! Oh, if we wonder at the behaviour of the Ephraimites and the men of Succoth and Penuel toward Gideon son of Joash under provocation so aggravated, what ought we to think of Jesus the Son of God in bearing with us as He does! Yet, from what afterwards took place, let us beware how we presume on the long-suffering to which we owe so much. If the promises of Christ are yea and amen, so also are His threatenings; let us never for one moment lose sight of that! Gideon contented himself meanwhile with simply threatening the men of Succoth and Penuel, the former that he would tear their flesh with thorns (ver. 7), the latter that he would "break down their tower" (ver. 8) But afterwards, when he returned from taking vengeance on his country's enemies at Karkor, thereby crowning his enterprise with complete success, then he fulfilled these threatenings to the very letter. And even so it shall be with all the enemies of Jesus, with all who decline to come to the help of the Lord against the mighty, at that day when He shall "come again, to be admired of all them that love Him," and to "take vengeance" on all besides. Sooner or later the judgment He has threatened shall descend upon them.

(W. W. Duncan, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?

WEB: The princes of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?"

The Victor in Pursuit
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