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Judges 8:1: The Peevish Ephraimites

Verse 1:[1] And (see Judg. 12:1; 2 Sam. 19:41) the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus (Heb. What thing is this thou hast done unto us?[2]), that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply (Heb. stongly[3]).

[The men of Ephraim] Hebrew: man of Ephraim.[4] Thus in Judges 7:24;[5] and in Judges 7:23, man of Israel[6] (Drusius).

[What is this, etc.?] Hebrew: What is this word that thou hast done to us, etc.? which is to say, Why hast thou thought so little of us that, etc.? These things also appear to be said by way of anticipation (Vatablus).

[That thou calledst us not] Namely, to the war-alliance with the four other tribes. Concerning this it is asked, as if they had been passed over in contempt; or because they envied him the glory, which Gideon had willed completely to divert unto his own tribe of Manasseh (Menochius, similarly Bonfrerius, Serarius); especially, because the Ephraimites were conjoined to Manasseh by a closer bond of kinship than to the remaining tribes (Lapide). The Ephraimites were proud, as it is observed in Isaiah 11:13, on account of their numerous and powerful tribe; and because their tribe had been preferred by Jacob before the Manassites, from which was Gideon (Lapide). Now, it is easy to fall into envy as a result of pride (Bonfrerius).

Why hast thou served us thus?: Why hast thou neglected and despised us, in not calling us in to thy help, as thou didst other tribes? These were a proud people, Isaiah 11:13, puffed up with a conceit of their number and strength, and the preference which Jacob by Divine direction gave them above Manasseh, Genesis 48:19, 20, of which tribe Gideon was, who by this act had seemed to advance his own tribe, and to depress theirs.

[Quarreling strongly, בְּחָזְקָה] In strength (Vatablus, Montanus), that is, vehemently, or sharply (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמְר֙וּ אֵלָ֜יו אִ֣ישׁ אֶפְרַ֗יִם מָֽה־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ עָשִׂ֣יתָ לָּ֔נוּ לְבִלְתִּי֙ קְרֹ֣אות לָ֔נוּ כִּ֥י הָלַ֖כְתָּ לְהִלָּחֵ֣ם בְּמִדְיָ֑ן וַיְרִיב֥וּן אִתּ֖וֹ בְּחָזְקָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: מָֽה־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ עָשִׂ֣יתָ לָּ֔נוּ.

[3] Hebrew: בְּחָזְקָה.

[4] Hebrew: אִ֣ישׁ אֶפְרַ֗יִם.

[5] Judges 7:24: “And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves togetherוַיִּצָּעֵ֞ק כָּל־אִ֤ישׁ) אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙), and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan.”

[6] Judges 7:23: “And the men of Israel gathered themselves together (וַיִּצָּעֵ֧ק אִֽישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל) out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.”

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 22, 2018

Matthew Henry: 'No sooner were the Midianites, the common enemy, subdued, than, through the violence of some hot spirits, the children of Israel were ready to quarrel among themselves; an unhappy spark was struck, which, if Gideon had not with a great deal of wisdom and grace extinguished immediately, might have broken out into a flame of fatal consequence. The Ephraimites, when they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon as general, instead of congratulating him upon his successes and addressing him with thanks for his great services, as they ought to have done, picked a quarrel with him and grew very hot upon it....

Their accusation was very peevish and unreasonable: Why didst thou not call us…

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