Judges 8

Judges 8 begins with Gideon defeating armies with his 300 men.  “The men of Ephraim said to him, What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight with Midian”?  They are irritated that they hadn’t been invited to be part of the battle.  But that was not God’s plan, and Gideon was obedient to do what God had told him.  And that is how he continued. He doesn’t give in to their request. “Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing”.  This has been quite a feat for so few men, yet Gideon keeps moving to continue his pursuit of the kings of Midian.

Kings “Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about 15,000 men”.  Still a considerable advantage in numbers compared to the 300.  But quite a reduction from what they stared with.  They “had fallen 120,000 men who drew the sword”.  God has been very faithful to Gideon and he is proceeding knowing that God is in control.  Gideon caputres the kings and immediately “the men of Israel said to Gideon, Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian”.  They want a king and Gideon is obviously the guy for the job.

But Gideon said to them, I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you”.  He wants no part of that.  And not only himself, but none of his family either.  Gideon asks the men in his band of 300 to give him the golden earrings they had grabbed as spoils.  Then he makes a bad choice.  “Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family”.  What prompted him to do that after seeing God destroy tens of thousands of enemies and protect him and his little band of warriors is hard to understand.  But he did.  And it was bad news.

God did bless them as “the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon”.  Even with his bad decision by creating an ephod, God still blessed him.  “Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives”.  God obviously blessed him in that way too.  And one of those sons, Abimelech, would become a bad leader in the days ahead.  But “as soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god….the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God”.  Same story, different leader.  He dies and the people go astray because there was no leadership transition plan to keep them walking with God!

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