Judges 8:4, 5: Gideon's Request to Succoth

Verse 4:[1] And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.


[He crossed it] Objection: But he was already on the other side of Jordan, Judges 7:25. Response: Therefore, there is a hysterology[2] here (Lapide). Those things preceding were narrated proleptically, so that all the things that had regard to the Ephraimites might be related at the same time. Or, in the place of, he crossed, translate it, he had crossed (Bonfrerius).


Passed over, or, had passed over: when he passed over, see on Judges 7:25.


Verse 5: And he said unto the men of (Gen. 33:17; Ps. 60:6) Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.


[And he said to the men of Succoth] This place was thus named after the tabernacles of Jacob, Genesis 33:17;[3] and he was on the other side of Jordan in the tribe of Gad. Therefore, Gideon crossed where the greater Jordan begins, and emerges from the lake of Gennesaret (Bonfrerius).


Succoth; a place beyond Jordan, Genesis 33:17; Joshua 13:27; Psalm 60:6.


[Give, I pray you, loaves of bread, כִּכְּר֣וֹת לֶ֔חֶם[4]] Cakes (spreadings [Junius and Tremellius], balls [Tigurinus]) of bread (Montanus); morsels of bread, loaves (Vatablus). Note: 1. he does not ask arms, supplies of men, luxuries, etc., but bread. 2. One made a General and conqueror was able to command; but he humbles himself, and entreats. 3. He is more concerned for his men than for himself, Give to the people, etc. (Serarius). He asked this of Israelites, whose inhumanity was hence the more grievous, and who were obliged willingly to offer all succor (Bonfrerius).


[To the people that are with me, אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּרַגְלָ֑י] That is in my feet (Montanus), or, at my feet (Junius); that is with me (Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic); that I lead with me (Vatablus); that follow my footsteps (Junius, Bonfrerius).


[Kings of Midian] Do not be surprise that here there are multiple petty kings of the Midianites, of whose number those two former, Oreb and Zeeb, are thought also to have been: For, in Numbers 31:8 there are five Kings of Midian; and in Canaan there were more than thirty petty kings (Bonfrerius). [See what things are on Numbers 31:8.]


Kings of Midian; where before this time were five kings at once, Numbers 31:8, who either reigned separately in divers parts of the land, or governed by common counsel and consent, as sometimes there were two or three Roman emperors together.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֥א גִדְע֖וֹן הַיַּרְדֵּ֑נָה עֹבֵ֣ר ה֗וּא וּשְׁלֹשׁ־מֵא֤וֹת הָאִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתּ֔וֹ עֲיֵפִ֖ים וְרֹדְפִֽים׃


[2] That is, a dischronologization.


[3] Genesis 33:17: “And Jacob journeyed to Succoth (סֻכֹּתָה), and built him an house, and made booths (סֻכֹּת) for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth (סֻכּוֹת).”


[4] כִּכָּר signifies a round; in this case, a round loaf.

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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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