Judges 6:33
Then all the Midianites, Amalekites, and other people of the east gathered together, crossed over the Jordan, and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.
The Victory Over the MidianitesJ. Bailey, . Ph. D.Judges 6:33
Divine Mercy: its Adaptation and SufficiencyA.F. Muir Judges 6:7, 8, 11, 34
The Crisis and the ConfirmationA.F. Muir Judges 6:33-40

Gideon's first task demanded moral rather than physical courage. It was restricted in its sphere. It witnessed to the principle that sin must be removed ere national or individual calamities can be permanently cured, or God's help vouchsafed. The stage now clears for the larger life and wider influence.

I. THE ENEMY PRESENTS HIMSELF IN SUDDEN, OVERWHELMING FORCE. A remarkable juncture. Esdraelon, the battle-field of Canaan. Here thrones and kingdoms had been lost and won. To the heart of flesh it would have been the death-knell of hope. There was no proportion between the extent of his possible preparation and the magnitude of the crisis. Many would have advised a policy of temporizing inaction. To the sent of God the circumstances pointed all the other way. Elijah at Horeb. Paul at Athens. The Son of man longing for his "hour." Are you in a minority; the only Christian in your office; with everything to discourage and tempt you? "Let not your heart be troubled." Outward difficulties are balanced and overpowered by spiritual reinforcements. "The Spirit of the Lord came upon him."

II. GIDEON'S SUMMONS TO ARMS MEETS WITH UNEXPECTED SUCCESS. "He blew a trumpet," i.e. he used the means. But probably he did not expect anything like the result. He was touching chords that vibrated in unforeseen directions. He didn't know the moral power he had acquired by his first work. We never can gauge the extent of our moral influence. Jerubbaal is the magnet. Strong in God, in himself, at home, throughout the nation. We are all guilty herein; we think God's people fewer and worse than they are. How much one steadfast, heroic soul can effect; how many others he can fire with enthusiasm and endue with courage by his example and actions!

III. SUDDEN SUCCESS OCCASIONS HUMILITY AND DOUBT. Clearly this man is not as others. He becomes strong against odds and vast oppositions, weak and hesitating when all goes well. Adversity and difficulty are plainer in their problems to the spiritual man than prosperity. But perhaps it was the quality of his soldiery he mistrusted. They did not seem of the right stuff for a duel a outrance. Perhaps the very suddenness of his power terrified him.


1. Probably the very scene of his first vision - Association helps an imaginative, spirit. Spiritual associations are mightiest.

2. He proposes a sign that shall reveal his duty. Under ordinary circumstances this is dangerous and misleading. But the whole background of Gideon's career is miraculous, and he had a warrant to expect miracles. We have a complete revelation and a Divine example. The dew abundant in Canaan; the wetting of the fleece a rustic idea. The doubt is then suggested, What if all this be natural? Therefore -

3. The proof is reversed. As in experimental science the test of variations is employed, so here in spiritual divination. God accommodates himself to our weakness that he may vanquish it. Henceforth the path is clear and his mind is made up. Have we done all that conscience and revelation have made plain and obligatory? Have we gone to the Divine footstool for the wisdom and strength we required? - M.

The Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east.
The mind of man is by nature like two hostile camps. In the higher region are principles of innocence, hope, love, justice, trust, kindness, purity, and tenderness — those angels of the soul — "For of such is the kingdom of heaven." In the lower regions of the soul are selfishness, pride, vanity, contempt for others, injustice, faithlessness, harshness, impurity, and violence, and of such is the kingdom of hell. There can be no peace between these two (Isaiah 57:20, 21). Life is a state of conflict, both for the virtuous and the evil. The virtuous, however, strive on the side of heaven, and they are assisted by heavenly powers, and by the Saviour Himself. They have often cessations of warfare, seasons of blessing, and their end is peace. The wicked struggle against their better part; they oppose their inner convictions; they stifle the voice of conscience; they smother their nobler impulses; they harden themselves against God and goodness. It is in reflecting light upon these mental struggles, and affording guidance to the earnest Christian, that the history of the wars of the Israelites is of inestimable value. Let us trace and apply the lesson in the narrative before us. The Israelites had been much infested by three nations in their immediate neighbourhood, the Amalekites, the Midianites, and a people called the children of the east. They oppressed them with a cruel hand: they destroyed even the means of subsistence. These people — at least the Amalekites and the Midianites — were descendants from Abraham indirectly, and inhabited the borders of Canaan on the south, south-east, and east. They were at the land, but not in the land. Hence they correspond to the principles of those who border on the Church, but are not in it. They know and believe what the gospel teaches in a certain fashion, but do not love and do it. They are opposed to, and hasten to destroy, a growing and progressive religion. They assailed Israel most cruelly on their march, and came, as recorded in the narrative before us, to destroy the rising corn. They were all at this time deadly enemies of Israel. The Amalekites were the most malignant. It is recorded of them that they insidiously hung around the Israelites on their march, and when any remained behind from weakness or weariness they were put to death by these lurking and harassing foes (Deuteronomy 25:17, 18). Amalek was the most powerful foe of Israel during the pilgrimage in the wilderness, as well as the most malignant (Numbers 24:20). Amalek has an awful peculiarity of notice from Jehovah (Exodus 17:14-16). From all this it is not difficult to draw the inference that Amalek must be the representative of some peculiarly deadly principle, some malignant strong delusion, to which the Spirit of the Lord is incessantly opposed. There are times in our journey of life when we feel weary and toilworn; when we are tired of our struggles against our evils and our difficulties, and become almost hopeless. Life seems hollow and a blank. We are weary with the world and with ourselves. Perhaps high hopes have been blighted. At such times the deadly fallacy will break in upon us, "Give up; throw all good aside; strive no longer. Do as other people do; get as much sinful pleasure and sinful gain as you can, and take your chance with the millions who are reckless." This is Amalek. Many a poor weak soul, battered and downcast in the struggle of life, has sunk under this direful despairing suggestion. Oh! that men would learn to remember that this principle of despairing delusion is abhorrent to the Divine love. "Jehovah has war with Amalek, from generation to generation." "Never despair," should be the motto of life. The Midianites were not always enemies of Israel. They were traders and intermediate between Egypt and Canaan. Midianites drew Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites, thus saving his life. That they were representatives is evident from their being mentioned in the prophetical part of the Scriptures as taking part in operations of the future Church, in times when Midian, as a distinct nation or tribe, would long have ceased to be (Isaiah 60:6). On the other hand, in that sublime and mysterious vision of the prophet Habakkuk the prophet says (Habakkuk 3:7, 8). Midian, then, sometimes the friend and sometimes the foe of the Church; sometimes assisting the praises of the Lord, and sometimes covering the soul with curtains which tremble before the judgment and presence of the Lord, is the type of that kind of general belief in the doctrines of religion which may lead to something better, but in which great numbers often rest, so as to make a profession of a kind of faith which is not saving, because neither grounded in love, nor flowing into practice. The children of the east, the coadjutors of the two former, represent all such portions of the Scriptures as can be pressed into the service of an inward aversion to God and goodness, but combined with an outward profession of piety and regard for holiness.

(J. Bailey, . Ph. D.)

Abiezer, Abiezrites, Amalek, Amalekites, Amorites, Asher, Egyptians, Ephah, Gideon, Israelites, Jerubbaal, Jezreel, Joash, Manasseh, Midianites, Naphtali, Ophrah, Zebulun
Egypt, Gaza, Jezreel Valley, Jordan River, Midian, Ophrah
Amalek, Amalekites, Amal'ekites, Assembled, Banding, Camped, Crossed, Crossing, East, Eastern, Encamp, Encamped, Forces, Gathered, Jezreel, Joined, Jordan, Midian, Midianites, Mid'ianites, Pass, Passed, Peoples, Pitched, Sons, Tents, Themselves, Valley
1. The Israelites for their sin are oppressed by Midian
8. A prophet rebukes them
11. An angel sends Gideon for their deliverance
17. Gideon's present is consumed with fire
24. Gideon destroys Baal's altar; offers a sacrifice upon the altar Jehovah-shalom
28. Joash defends his son, and calls him Jerubbaal
33. Gideon's army
36. Gideon's signs

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Judges 6:33

     4290   valleys
     4821   east

Judges 6:33-7:25

     8131   guidance, results

Judges 6:33-35

     5595   trumpet
     7266   tribes of Israel

Gideon's Altar
'Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah- shalom [God is peace].'--JUDGES vi. 24. I need not tell over again, less vividly, the picturesque story in this chapter, of the simple husbandman up in the hills, engaged furtively in threshing out a little wheat in some hollow in the rock where he might hide it from the keen eyes of the oppressors; and of how the angel of the Lord, unrecognised at first, appeared to him; and gradually there dawned upon his mind the suspicion
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Gideon's Fleece
'Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that Thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as Thou hast said.'-- JUDGES vi. 37. The decisive moment had come when Gideon, with his hastily gathered raw levies, was about to plunge down to the plain to face immensely superior forces trained to warfare. No wonder that the equally untrained leader's heart heat faster. Many a soldier, who will be steadfastly
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Jehovam-Shalem, the Lord Send Peace. Judg 6:24

John Newton—Olney Hymns

Whether it is a Sin to Tempt God?
Objection 1: It would seem that it is not a sin to tempt God. For God has not commanded sin. Yet He has commanded men to try, which is the same as to tempt, Him: for it is written (Malach. 3:10): "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house; and try Me in this, saith the Lord, if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven." Therefore it seems not to be a sin to tempt God. Objection 2: Further, a man is tempted not only in order to test his knowledge and his power,
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Man Now Deprived of Freedom of Will, and Miserably Enslaved.
1. Connection of the previous with the four following chapters. In order to lay a proper foundation for the discussion of free will, two obstacles in the way to be removed--viz. sloth and pride. The basis and sum of the whole discussion. The solid structure of this basis, and a clear demonstration of it by the argument a majori ad minus. Also from the inconveniences and absurdities arising from the obstacle of pride. 2. The second part of the chapter containing the opinions of others. 1. The opinions
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Unity of the Divine Essence in Three Persons Taught, in Scripture, from the Foundation of the World.
1. Scripture, in teaching that the essence of God is immense and spiritual, refutes not only idolaters and the foolish wisdom of the world, but also the Manichees and Anthropomorphites. These latter briefly refuted. 2. In this one essence are three persons, yet so that neither is there a triple God, nor is the simple essence of God divided. Meaning of the word Person in this discussion. Three hypostases in God, or the essence of God. 3. Objection of those who, in this discussion, reject the use of
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Subterraneous Places. Mines. Caves.
Thus having taken some notice of the superficies of the land, let us a little search into its bowels. You may divide the subterraneous country into three parts: the metal mines, the caves, and the places of burial. This land was eminently noted for metal mines, so that "its stones," in very many places, "were iron, and out of its hills was digged brass," Deuteronomy 8:9. From these gain accrued to the Jews: but to the Christians, not seldom slavery and misery; being frequently condemned hither by
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Jesus Calls Four Fishermen to Follow Him.
(Sea of Galilee, Near Capernaum.) ^A Matt. IV. 18-22; ^B Mark I. 16-20; ^C Luke V. 1-11. ^a 18 And walking ^b 16 And passing along by the sea of Galilee [This lake is a pear-shaped body of water, about twelve and a half miles long and about seven miles across at its widest place. It is 682 feet below sea level; its waters are fresh, clear and abounding in fish, and it is surrounded by hills and mountains, which rise from 600 to 1,000 feet above it. Its greatest depth is about 165 feet], he [Jesus]
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Of the Sacraments.
1. Of the sacraments in general. A sacrament defined. 2. Meaning of the word sacrament. 3. Definition explained. Why God seals his promises to us by sacraments. 4. The word which ought to accompany the element, that the sacrament may be complete. 5. Error of those who attempt to separate the word, or promise of God, from the element. 6. Why sacraments are called Signs of the Covenant. 7. They are such signs, though the wicked should receive them, but are signs of grace only to believers. 8. Objections
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Doctrine of God
I. THE EXISTENCE OF GOD: (Vs. Atheism). 1. ASSUMED BY THE SCRIPTURES. 2. PROOFS OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. a) Universal belief in the Existence of God. b) Cosmological:--Argument from Cause. c) Teleological:--Argument from Design. d) Ontological:--Argument from Being. e) Anthropological:--Moral Argument. f) Argument from Congruity. g) Argument from Scripture. II. THE NATURE OF GOD: (Vs. Agnosticism) 1. THE SPIRITUALITY OF GOD: (Vs. Materialism). 2. THE PERSONALITY OF GOD: (Vs. Pantheism). 3. THE UNITY
Rev. William Evans—The Great Doctrines of the Bible

And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the thousands of Judah
"And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall come forth unto Me (one) [Pg 480] to be Ruler in Israel; and His goings forth are the times of old, the days of eternity." The close connection of this verse with what immediately precedes (Caspari is wrong in considering iv. 9-14 as an episode) is evident, not only from the [Hebrew: v] copulative, and from the analogy of the near relation of the announcement of salvation to the prophecy of disaster
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Seasonable Counsel: Or, Advice to Sufferers.
BY JOHN BUNYAN. London: Printed for Benjamin Alsop, at the Angel and Bible in the Poultry, 1684. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. THIS valuable treatise was first published in a pocket volume in 1684, and has only been reprinted in Whitfield's edition of Bunyan's works, 2 vols. folio, 1767. No man could have been better qualified to give advice to sufferers for righteousness' sake, than John Bunyan: and this work is exclusively devoted to that object. Shut up in a noisome jail, under the iron hand of
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

For the understanding of the early history and religion of Israel, the book of Judges, which covers the period from the death of Joshua to the beginning of the struggle with the Philistines, is of inestimable importance; and it is very fortunate that the elements contributed by the later editors are so easily separated from the ancient stories whose moral they seek to point. That moral is most elaborately stated in ii. 6-iii. 6, which is a sort of programme or preface to iii. 7-xvi. 31, which constitutes
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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