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Judges 8:29-31: Gideon's Domestic Life

Verse 29:[1] And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.

In his own house: Not in his father’s house, as he did before; nor yet in a court, like a king, as the people desired; but in a middle state, as a judge, for the preservation and maintenance of their religion and liberties.

Verse 30:[2] And Gideon had (Judg. 9:2, 5) threescore and ten sons of his body begotten (Heb. going out of his thigh[3]): for he had many wives.

[He had many wives] This was permitted to men (Drusius, Grotius) (if not by the Law, at least by custom [Drusius]), out of a hope for a more abundant offspring (Grotius).

Verse 31:[4] (Judg. 9:1) And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called (Heb. set[5]) Abimelech.

[A concubine] That is, a secondary wife: who was not taken for the administration of the family, but only for the sharing of the bed (Bonfrerius). She was, as it were, a maid servant, and hence her son did not succeed unto the inheritance of the father (Lapide, Bonfrerius). The greater was Abimelech’s ambition, etc. (Bonfrerius).

[In Shechem] He says this, so that he might indicate the occasion whereby Abimelech affected kingship (Lapide). In Shechem, namely, because there Gideon was frequently going because of judicial cases (Bonfrerius).

In Shechem; she dwelt there, and he oft came thither, either to execute judgment, or upon other occasions.

[By the name of Abimelech, וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ אֲבִימֶֽלֶךְ׃] And he set his name, or, endowed him with a name; undoubtedly Gideon did this; for it is a masculine verb (Drusius, Malvenda). ABIMELECH signifies my father is king (Malvenda), or, my father the king, or, the father of the king (Lapide, Serarius), or, royal father (Lapide), or, royal with respect to father (Serarius). It appears that the father endowed his son with this name having a presentiment, as it were, of his principate (Malvenda). Or the mother endowed him with this name to acquire dignity for him, perhaps also for an omen of royalty (Lapide).

Abimelech, that is, my father the king; so he called him, probably to gratify his concubine, who desired it either out of pride or design.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּ֛לֶךְ יְרֻבַּ֥עַל בֶּן־יוֹאָ֖שׁ וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב בְּבֵיתֽוֹ׃

[2] Hebrew: וּלְגִדְע֗וֹן הָיוּ֙ שִׁבְעִ֣ים בָּנִ֔ים יֹצְאֵ֖י יְרֵכ֑וֹ כִּֽי־נָשִׁ֥ים רַבּ֖וֹת הָ֥יוּ לֽוֹ׃

[3] Hebrew: יֹצְאֵ֖י יְרֵכ֑וֹ.

[4] Hebrew: וּפִֽילַגְשׁוֹ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בִּשְׁכֶ֔ם יָֽלְדָה־לּ֥וֹ גַם־הִ֖יא בֵּ֑ן וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ אֲבִימֶֽלֶךְ׃

[5] Hebrew: וַיָּשֶׂם.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
18 giu 2018

Matthew Henry: 'We have here the conclusion of the story of Gideon. 1. He lived privately, Judges 8:29. He was not puffed up with his great honours, did not covet a palace or castle to dwell in, but retired to the house he had lived in before his elevation. Thus that brave Roman Who was called from the plough upon a sudden occasion to command the army when the action was over returned to his plough again. 2. His family was multiplied. He had many wives (therein he transgressed the law); by them he had seventy sons (Judges 8:30), but by a concubine he had one whom he named Abimelech (which signifies, my father a king), that proved the rui…

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