Judges 8:6: Succoth's Refusal of Bread

Verse 6:[1] And the princes of Succoth said, (see 1 Kings 20:11) Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that (see 1 Sam. 25:11) we should give bread unto thine army?


[They answered, etc., וַ֙יֹּאמֶר֙ שָׂרֵ֣י סֻכּ֔וֹת] Verbatim: And he, that is, the princes of Succoth, said[2] (Montanus). That of the princes said, understanding, the rank (Junius and Tremellius), or, one (Pagnine, Vatablus) (namely, having been commissioned in the name of the rest [Montanus’ Commentary]), or, each one (Piscator); or, it is a singular in the place of a plural (certain interpreters in Vatablus). And they said, or answered (Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic). The individual princes said; so that the syntax might be distributive, a thing common among the Hebrews, of which sort in verse 22[3] (Piscator). This passage is one of those twelve that are thought falsely to be read וַיֹּאמְרוּ, and they said (Drusius).

[Perhaps the palms, etc., הֲכַף—עַתָּה] Is the palm, or, hand, or, hollow, of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thy hand? (Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Septuagint), that is, Hast thou seized them? In the Hebrew, it is hollow: because by the hollow is one seized that is led captive (Piscator). Art thou leading them captive, with their hands bound behind their backs (Lapide)? As if Zebah, etc., were delivered into thine hand (Jonathan). Do you then have Zebah, etc., bound in thy hands? (Arabic). Thus they ridicule his plan, who with a small company (three hundred) would pursue a much more numerous (fifteen thousand) (Junius). That is to say, Thou appearest to speak as if thou hadst now emerged victorious: Thou hast not yet conquered those Kings, that thou mightest dare to ask bread from us (Vatablus).


Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, etc.: Art thou so foolish to think, with thy three hundred faint and weary soldiers, to conquer and destroy a host of fifteen thousand men?

[1] Hebrew: וַ֙יֹּאמֶר֙ שָׂרֵ֣י סֻכּ֔וֹת הֲ֠כַף זֶ֧בַח וְצַלְמֻנָּ֛ע עַתָּ֖ה בְּיָדֶ֑ךָ כִּֽי־נִתֵּ֥ן לִֽצְבָאֲךָ֖ לָֽחֶם׃


[2] In Hebrew, the verb is singular, but the subject is plural.


[3] Judges 8:22: “Then said (וַיֹּאמְרוּ, singular verb) the men of Israel (אִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל, plural subject) unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.”

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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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