Judges 6:22, 23: Gideon's Fright, and God's Peace

Verse 22:[1] And when Gideon (Judg. 13:21) perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! (Gen. 16:13; 32:30; Ex. 33:20; Judg. 13:22) for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.


[Alas! my Lord God: because I have seen the Angel of the Lord (similarly Pagnine, Tigurinus, English)] Woe is me! etc. (Castalio). Alas! O Lord…have I seen for this reason, understanding, that I might die? (Munster). Alas!...because I have seen, understanding, therefore I am going to die, out of verse 23 (Vatablus, Dutch). Aha is an interjection of one fearing destruction for himself from the sight of Jehovah (Junius). It was the common persuasion, that he that had seen the Angel was going to die (Bonfrerius, Menochius, Lapide). That opinion seems to have arisen from Exodus 33:20 (Bonfrerius). This is the most ancient fear of men, that they might be afflicted with death or some grievous evil, by some sight of the gods, because they believe themselves to be unworthy of such a spectacle, as Callimachus teaches[2] (Grotius).


Alas: I am an undone man; I must die, and that speedily; for that he feared, verse 23, according to the common opinion in that case; of which see Genesis 16:13; 32:30; Exodus 33:20; Deuteronomy 5:25, 26. For because, or, for therefore, etc., that is, therefore God hath showed me this sight as a presage of my death.


Verse 23:[3] And the LORD said unto him, (Dan. 10:19) Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.


[And the Lord said to him] Question: When? and how? Since He had already vanished. Respons: These things were related by the Angel, so that Gideon might hear them from afar, yet not see from whom they might proceed (Bonfrerius). The Angel formed a certain sound in the air, with his body not appearing (Tostatus). When these things were said to Gideon is not evident from the history; but I would think on the next night after those things that were just now related (Martyr).


And the LORD said unto him: The Lord spake by inward suggestion, rather than in a visible apparition. Peace be unto thee; thou shalt receive no hurt by this vision, as thou fearest; but only peace, that is, all the blessings needful for thy own happiness, and for the present work; for this is a very comprehensive phrase among the Hebrews.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּ֣רְא גִּדְע֔וֹן כִּֽי־מַלְאַ֥ךְ יְהוָ֖ה ה֑וּא וַיֹּ֣אמֶר גִּדְע֗וֹן אֲהָהּ֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֔ה כִּֽי־עַל־כֵּ֤ן רָאִ֙יתִי֙ מַלְאַ֣ךְ יְהוָ֔ה פָּנִ֖ים אֶל־פָּנִֽים׃


[2] Epigram 16. Callimachus (c. 305-c. 240 BC) was a caretaker of the Library of Alexandria and a poet.


[3] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר ל֧וֹ יְהוָ֛ה שָׁל֥וֹם לְךָ֖ אַל־תִּירָ֑א לֹ֖א תָּמֽוּת׃

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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