Judges 6:26: God's Command to Build an Altar unto Him

Verse 26:[1] And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock (Heb. strong places[2]), in the ordered place (or, in an orderly manner[3]), and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.


[Upon the top of this rock, עַ֣ל רֹ֧אשׁ הַמָּע֛וֹז הַזֶּ֖ה] Upon the head of this strength (Montanus); upon the peak, or, on the peak, or summit, of the cliff (Tigurinus) (the rock is called מָעוֹז from עָזַז, to strengthen, because it is strong [Kimchi in Bonfrerius]), or, of this strongest rock (Munster); of the stronghold, or, this stronghold (Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Castalio, Dutch, Piscator). That is, in such a way that attention is drawn to the matter present and set before the eyes. Whence it is to be gathered that Gideon in the same place (namely, in his winepress[4]) where God had appeared to him by day spent the night (Piscator). What in verse 20 and 21 he called a boulder and a rock, he here calls a stronghold, because in that calamitous time the Israelties were retiring to places of this sort as unto strongholds, as in verse 2 (Junius, Piscator). Of this strong place, that is, of this rock (Vatablus). Upon the top of Maoz (Septuagint).


Upon the top of this rock; of which verses 20, 21. Hebrew, of this strong hold; for in that calamitous time the Israelites retreated to such rocks, and hid and fortified themselves in them.


[Upon which thou didst set, etc., בַּמַּעֲרָכָה[5]] They translate it, in a place suitable (Tigurinus), or, ordered (English), or, convenient (Munster, Dutch), on the level surface (Pagnine), that is, in a place level and flat, which is shown to be so by the level, so that there thou mightest be able in an orderly manner to arrange the stones with which thou wilt built the altar (Vatablus). It is to be believed that the stone was great. Hence he wills Gideon to choose a certain part of it more level than the rest (Martyr). Others: in an orderly manner (Jonathan, Syriac, Montanus), in a manner ordered (English), orderly and decently (Dutch), rightly (Castalio), with the heap (Junius and Tremellius). With wood to be arranged in an orderly manner upon the altar (Piscator).


In the ordered place, that is, in a plain and smooth part of the rock, where an altar may be conveniently built. Or, in order, that is, in such manner as I have appointed; for God had given rules about the building of altars. Offer a burnt-sacrifice: Gideon was no priest, nor was this the appointed place of sacrifice; but God can dispense with his own institutions, though we may not; and his call gave Gideon sufficient authority.


[Upon the heap of wook that thou wilt have cut down from the grove] He does this also for the detestation and overthrow of idolatry, while those things that were previously consecrated to idolatry are converted unto the worship of God (Bonfrerius). In this sacrifice many things are contrary to the Law: but the commandment of God defends Gideon, as also Elijah, 1 Kings 18:36 (Grotius). Gideon was not a priest, neither was this place appointed for sacrifices: yet none of these things was unlawful for Gideon, with God willing and commanding it (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וּבָנִ֙יתָ מִזְבֵּ֜חַ לַיהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ עַ֣ל רֹ֧אשׁ הַמָּע֛וֹז הַזֶּ֖ה בַּמַּֽעֲרָכָ֑ה וְלָֽקַחְתָּ֙ אֶת־הַפָּ֣ר הַשֵּׁנִ֔י וְהַעֲלִ֣יתָ עוֹלָ֔ה בַּעֲצֵ֥י הָאֲשֵׁרָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר תִּכְרֹֽת׃


[2] Hebrew: הַמָּעוֹז.


[3] Hebrew: בַּמַּעֲרָכָה.


[4] Verse 11.


[5] מַעֲרָכָה, order or arrangement, is related to the verbal root, עָרַךְ, to set in order.

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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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