Judges 6:33-35: The Raising of Forces

Verse 33:[1] Then all (Judg. 6:3) the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in (Josh. 17:16) the valley of Jezreel.


[They pitched in the valley of Jezreel] Jezreel was a town belonging to the Tribe of Judah, concerning which Joshua 15:56, near mount Gilboa, not far from Jordan (Menochius, Tostatus). But the speech here concerning the other Jezreel, in the tribe of Manasseh and Issachar, of great reputation, which from time to time was the seat and habitation of the Kings of Israel, near which was this most famous valley of Jezreel, of which mention is made here, and in Joshua 17, and in Hosea 1. In this valley the Midianites stationed camps: since this valley was not far distant from Ophrah, the city of Gideon, being in the same tribe with Jezreel, the coming of the Midianites was justly dreaded by Gideon (Bonfrerius).


The valley of Jezreel: Not that Jezreel in Judah, of which Joshua 15:56; but another in the borders of Manasseh and Issachar, Joshua 17:16; 19:18, which is not far distant from Ophrah, where Gideon dwelt, and now was.


[circa 1249 BC] Verse 34:[2] But (Judg. 3:10; 1 Chron. 12:18; 2 Chron. 24:20) the Spirit of the LORD came upon (Heb. clothed[3]) Gideon, and he (Num. 10:3; Judg. 3:27) blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him (Heb. was called after him[4]).


[The Spirit of the Lord clothed, etc.] That is, He filled, possessed him completely, in the same manner in which a garment encloses the whole man within itself (Bonfrerius). We are clothed/covered by the same thing with which we are adorned. Now, we say indiscriminately, He put on righteousness, and, Righteous clothed him[5] (Drusius).


Came upon Gideon, inspiring him with extraordinary wisdom, and courage, and zeal, to vindicate God’s honour and his country’s liberty. Compare 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2 Chronicles 24:20.


[The house of Abi-ezer] Abi-ezer is here put for the Abi-ezrites, that is, the posterity of Abi-ezer; just as Israel is put in the place of the Israelites (Drusius).


Abi-ezer, that is, the Abi-ezrites, his kindred, and their servants, and others; who finding no harm coming to him for the destroying of Baal, but rather a blessing from God, in giving him strength and courage for so great and dangerous an attempt, changed their minds, and followed him as the person by whose hands God would deliver them.


Verse 35:[6] And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.


[Unto Asher, and Zebulun, and Naphtali] These Tribes were near to the Manassites Northward: he did not call the Tribe of Ephraim on the other side, which was associated with him toward the South: This is the cause of a dispute in Judges 8 (Bonfrerius).


Throughout all Manasseh, on both sides of Jordan. Unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; because these tribes were nearest to him, and so could soonest join with him; and were nearest the enemy also, verse 33, and therefore were most sensible of the calamity, and would in all reason be most forward to rescue themselves from it.

[1] Hebrew: וְכָל־מִדְיָ֧ן וַעֲמָלֵ֛ק וּבְנֵי־קֶ֖דֶם נֶאֶסְפ֣וּ יַחְדָּ֑ו וַיַּעַבְר֥וּ וַֽיַּחֲנ֖וּ בְּעֵ֥מֶק יִזְרְעֶֽאל׃


[2] Hebrew: וְר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֔ה לָבְשָׁ֖ה אֶת־גִּדְע֑וֹן וַיִּתְקַע֙ בַּשּׁוֹפָ֔ר וַיִּזָּעֵ֥ק אֲבִיעֶ֖זֶר אַחֲרָֽיו׃


[3] Hebrew: לָבְשָׁה.


[4] Hebrew: וַיִּזָּעֵ֥ק אֲבִיעֶ֖זֶר אַחֲרָֽיו׃.


[5] See Job 29:14: “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me (צֶ֣דֶק לָ֭בַשְׁתִּי וַיִּלְבָּשֵׁ֑נִי): my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.”


[6] Hebrew: וּמַלְאָכִים֙ שָׁלַ֣ח בְּכָל־מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה וַיִּזָּעֵ֥ק גַּם־ה֖וּא אַחֲרָ֑יו וּמַלְאָכִ֣ים שָׁלַ֗ח בְּאָשֵׁ֤ר וּבִזְבֻלוּן֙ וּבְנַפְתָּלִ֔י וַֽיַּעֲל֖וּ לִקְרָאתָֽם׃

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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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