Judges 6:25: God's Command to Topple Baal's Altar

Verse 25:[1] And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even (or, and[2]) the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and (Ex. 34:13; Deut. 7:5) cut down the grove that is by it…

[That night] That is, on the following night (Vatablus).

[Take the bull of thy father, and another bull of seven years,אֶת־פַּר־הַשּׁוֹר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְאָבִ֔יךָ וּפַ֥ר הַשֵּׁנִ֖י שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֑ים] A young bull of an ox (a bull [Castalio, Syriac], a young bull [Munster], a young bull, an ox [Drusius], a calf, a bull [Septuagint, that eminent bull [Osiander]), which belongs to thy father, and a second young bull of seven years (Pagnine, Montanus, thus the Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic, Munster, Castalio). Others thus: a young bull of an ox (or, one more fully mature [Junius and Tremellius]), which belongs to thy father, namely (or, even indeed [Piscator]) that second young bull of seven years (Junius, Piscator, Dutch, English). The ו/and is exegetical, in that place of, that is (Piscator). Question: Whether only one young bull was sacrificed, or two? Response 1: Only one (Junius, Piscator, Cajetan in Serarius, Martyr); as it is evident from the following verse (Piscator). For no further mention of the former calf is made, neither does God give instructions as to what He might will to be done concerning it (Martyr). But [those thinking otherwise retort that] there is mention only of one, either because it was principally intended by God, or because from the offering of the second it is able sufficiently to be understood that the offering of the first went before (Bonfrerius). Response 2: Two bulls were sacrificed, as it is expressly held in the Hebrew and in the Septuagint (Serarius, Bonfrerius, Vatablus).

[The bull of thy father] That is, which thy father feeds; which is to say, that eminent bull, now full-grown and mature, which thy father takes care to feed, so that it might at last be sacrificed to the Baal idol (Vatablus). This bull had been set apart for sacrifice either by his father, etc., or by the community (Lapide). A פַּר is anything beyond a calf (because it is horned, Psalm 69:31,[3] and productive of offspring, Job 21:10[4]). But it is evident that it is younger, for in thirty passages it is called the son of an ox. The Hebrews maintain that they are so called around two or three years of age. Nevertheless, an older bull is called פַּר; which is both acknowledges by Kimchi, Aquinas,[5] and Pomarius,[6] and is here a פַּר of seven years, which in an ox is a mature age. They derive פַּר from פָּרָה, to be fertile; and they maintain that it is thus called as long as it is fertile, that is, from the fourth unto the twelfth year, as Columella testifies, Concerning Rural Business[7] 7:23 (Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:27:277).

[And the other bull of seven years] Hebrew: the second.[8] Thus it is called, either, by order of birth, second-born (Martyr, Drusius); or, second, namely, after that one [the first, concerning which there has already been mention], that is, of second note, not so great, nor to be compared with the first (Vatablus); or, with respect to the arrangement of the stall, which was second in the orde of the stall (Piscator, Junius, Martyr, Drusius). The former is said to be of thy father, because it was specific to him, and determined for sacrifice in his name alone; the latter, the other bull, that is, public, and devoted in the public name of the city (Tirinus). Of seven years: Either, 1. because this was the mature age of an ox, like the virile age in the case o