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Judges 8:7: Gideon's Threatened Retribution against Succoth

Verse 7:[1] And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, (Judg. 8:16) then I will tear (Heb. thresh[2]) your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

[I will wear out your flesh, etc.,וְדַשְׁתִּי֙ אֶת־בְּשַׂרְכֶ֔ם אֶת־קוֹצֵ֥י הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר וְאֶת־הַֽבַּרְקֳנִֽים׃] And (or then [Pagnine, Vatablus], certainly [Junius and Tremellius]) I will thresh (tread, or wear out, or crush [Tigurinus, Vatablus, Castalio]; I will hew by threshing [Junius and Tremellius]) your flesh with the thorns of the desert, and with briers (Montanus, Jonathan, Syriac, Tigurinus). בַּרְקָנִים signifies the very sharpest thorns or briers, which penetrate and hurt the body, as lightning the eyes[3] (Lapide). He calls them thorns of the desert, namely, those that grow in the desert (Vatablus). He threatens them with this because that city (which was named by Heathen Troglodytes[4]) in its territory held a desert in which thorns and briers were growing everywhere (Martyr). This place had its name from thorns, with which it was filled; for שֺֻכּוֹת are thorns, Job 41:7[5] (Kimchi in Drusius). Question: In what sense is this to be taken? Response: I will thresh, that is, with repeated strokes, as those that thresh are wont to do, to the point of death (Junius). I will beat your bare body with thorns (Vatablus, Lapide), to the point of death (Lapide, Menochius). I will cast you down naked upon thorns, and I will tread with my feet upon you (Drusius). Others thus: The word וְדַשְׁתִּי, and I will tread, indicates the manner of killing, so that, with thorns and briers scattered over their bodies naked and prostrated on the ground, he might lead wagons and carts, with which threshing was wont to be done, which carts also might drive those thorns into their bodies, and grind down their flesh in a certain way with the spines driven in. See a similar punishment in 2 Samuel 12:31 and 1 Chronicles 20:3 (Bonfrerius). But there is no mention here of wagons (Lapide).

With the thorns which grow abundantly in the neighbouring wilderness; I will chastise or beat your naked bodies with thorny rods, even unto death. Or, I will lay you down upon thorns on the ground, and bring the cartwheel upon you, which will both tear your flesh, and bruise you to death.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר גִּדְע֔וֹן לָכֵ֗ן בְּתֵ֧ת יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־זֶ֥בַח וְאֶת־צַלְמֻנָּ֖ע בְּיָדִ֑י וְדַשְׁתִּי֙ אֶת־בְּשַׂרְכֶ֔ם אֶת־קוֹצֵ֥י הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר וְאֶת־הַֽבַּרְקֳנִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: וְדַשְׁתִּי.

[3] בָּרָק signifies lightning.

[4] The Troglodytes were inhabitants of Troglodytica, which was on the shore of the Arabian Gulf, sharing borders with both Egypt and Ethiopia.

[5] Job 41:7: “Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons (בְשֻׂכּוֹת)? or his head with fish spears?”

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday

Matthew Henry: 'The warning he gave them of the punishment of their crime was very fair. (1.) He did not punish it immediately, because he would not lose so much time from the pursuit of the enemy that were flying from him, because he would not seem to do it in a heat of passion, and because he would do it more to their shame and confusion when he had completed his undertaking, which they thought impracticable. But, (2.) He told them how he would punish it (Judges 8:7, 9), to show the confidence he had of success in the strength of God, and that, if they had the least grain of grace and consideration left, they might upon secon…

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