Categories: Men in the Old Testament
- Gideon is mentioned in two books of the Bible
- Judges and Hebrews. (Judges, chapters 6 to
8; Hebrews 11:32)
- Gideon was one of fourteen judges, including
Eli and Samuel, in ancient
- Gideon is the fifth of the judges described
in the book. The others are: Othniel, Ehud,
Shamgar, Deborah, Jephthah, Samson, Tola, Jair,
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon. The last five listed
are minor judges whose battles are not recorded
in the Bible.
- The story of Gideon opens with an account
of "an angel of the Lord" appearing
to him. Gideon asks the angel some agonizing
questions. "Oh my Lord, if the Lord be
with us, why then is all this befallen us? and
where be all his miracles which our fathers
told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us
up from Egypt?" Gideon glumly concludes
that God has forsaken him and his people and
delivered them into the hands of the Midianites.
- Gideon is the son of Joash, and the family
is of the tribe of Manasseh. They live at Ophrah,
and Gideon is busy threshing wheat when the
angel first appears. (Threshing is the process
of separating grain from the straw.) God instructs
Gideon to throw down the altar of Baal that
his father had. Gideon is also told to cut down
the grove next to the altar.
- When the men of the city, idolaters, demand
that Joash should surrender his son to be put
to death for the sacrilege, Joash shrewdly responds,
"If he [Baal] be a god, let him plead for
himself." Judges 6:31
- Fleece is the coat of wool covering a sheep.
When God tells Gideon to deliver Israel from
the hand of the Midianites, Gideon tests Him.
Gideon puts fleece on the floor. Gideon says,
"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." When "it was so,"
Gideon asked God to keep the fleece dry, even
when there was "dew on all the ground."
Once again, God did what Gideon asked. Judges
- When Gideon prepared to attack the Midianites,
the Lord directed him to reduce the number of
troops to 300 men. Gideon did this by requesting
those who were afraid to return home. Since
the number of troops was still too large, the
Lord instructed Gideon to bring them down to
the water. Those who bowed down upon their knees
to drink were sent home. Those who brought the
water to their mouths to drink were kept. Some
have interpreted this event as God's way of
finding those who were most alert to the enemy.
If they brought the water to their mouths in
their hands, their eyes could continue checking
the area for enemies.
- Gideon's small force surprised the Midianites
encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. Each of Gideon's
men was given a trumpet and a pitcher. The loud
sound of the breaking pitchers and trumpets
frightened and confused the enemy. Following
the initial night attack, the Midianites fled.
Gideon and his men subsequently captured their
kings. This victory "was a vivid illustration
to Israel of God's power to save His people."
(Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts,
- Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews is sometimes
called the Honor Roll of
the faithful. Mentioned in this passage are
three judges as well as Deborah's military leader,
Barak. Thus, we are reminded of the contributions
of Gideon and the other judges who ruled in
Israel for about 300 years until the monarchy
was established under King Saul.
Ackerman, Susan. Warrior, Dancer, Seductress, Queen. New York: Doubleday, 1998.'
Auld, A. Graeme. "Joshua, Judges, and Ruth." The Daily Study Bible Series. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1984.
Block, Daniel. "Judges, Ruth." The New American Commentary. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999.
Gehman, Henry Snyder, ed. The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974.
Hamlin, E. John. "Judges, At Risk in the Promised Land." The International Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans, 1990.
Harris, J. Gordon. "Joshua, Judges, Ruth." New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2000.
McCann, J. Clinton. "Judges." Interpretation. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.
Nelson's Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996.