An Angel Sends Gideon to Deliver Them - Page 1 (Lessons on Judges)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Chapter 19: An Angel Sends Gideon to Deliver Them
Judges 6:11-16

11 And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon (Gr. Gedeon) threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family (Heb. my thousand is the meanest) is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.
16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

The introduction to the story of Gideon and his deliverance is vital in understanding the true significance of this incident. The irony that is often so obvious in the book of Judges again plays a significant part in the story.

When Israel cried out to the Lord for help, a prophet was sent first to remind them of their idolatry. Then the Angel of the Lord, whom we believe to be the reincarnate Christ (see essay below), appeared to a man of Manasseh named Gideon as he was secretly threshing wheat in a winepress ... to hide it from the Midianites.

It is not said what effect the prophet’s sermon had upon the people, but we may hope it had a good effect, and that some of them at least repented and reformed because of it; for here, immediately after, we have the dawning of the day of their deliverance, by the effectual calling of Gideon to take upon him the command of their forces against the Midianites.


Now at this juncture, God appeared to Gideon in a most embarrassing situation. We are told:

11 And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon (Gr. Gedeon) threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. (KJV)

11The Messenger of the LORD came and sat under the oak tree in Ophrah that belonged to Joash from Abiezer's family. Joash's son Gideon was beating out wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. --Judges 6:11 (GW)

And there came an angel of the Lord. This was not the prophet mentioned before (vv 1-10), but an angel of God, as expressed here, and not a created one, but the Angel of Jehovah's presence, the Word and Son of God, and who is expressly called Jehovah himself, (see Judges 6:141, Judges 6:232, Judges 6:243). Virtually all commentators agree that this was a “theophany,” that is, an appearance of God in human form as the angel of Yahweh. The angel of the LORD is none other than Christ Himself, who appeared upon some great occasions in human shape, as a prelude to what he intended to happen in the fullness of time; when he would take our sinful nature upon him, as we say, once and for all. This angel is here called Jehovah, the incommunicable name of God (v. 141, 16), and he said, I will be with thee.

Now, the angel of the Lord had a mission to perform; to commission Gideon, the son of Joash, to be a judge and deliverer of Israel. His father (He was of the half tribe of Manasseh that lay in Canaan, and of the family of Abiezer; the eldest house of that tribe, Jos. 17:244) was still living, but he was passed over, and this honor was put upon his son, because this father kept up the worship of Baal (v. 255) in his own family. Gideon, we may suppose, spoke against his father’s idolatry which was an offence to God. Previously, the judges were raised up out of that particular tribe which suffered most by the oppression, and probably it was so here.

Article 6.1: The Angel of the Lord

The Angel of the Lord (Jehovah) is the Lord Jesus Christ in a reincarnate appearance. A study of the passages in which He is mentioned makes it clear that He is God, and that He is the Second Person of the Trinity.
First, the Scriptures show that He is God. When He appeared to Hagar, she recognized that she was in the presence of God; she referred to Him as “the-God-Who-Sees” (Gen. 16:13). Speaking to Abraham on Mount Moriah, the Angel identified Himself as “the LORD,” Gen. 22:16). Jacob heard the Angel introduce Himself as the God of Bethel (Gen. 31:11–13). When blessing Joseph, Israel used the names “God” and “the Angel” interchangeably (Gen. 48:15, 16). At the burning bush, it was the “Angel of the LORD” who appeared (Ex. 3:2), but Moses “hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God” (Ex. 3:6). The Lord who went before Israel in a pillar of cloud (Ex. 13:21) was none other than “the Angel of God” (Ex. 14:19). Gideon feared that he would die because, in seeing the Angel of the LORD, he had seen God (Judg. 6:22, 23). The Angel of the LORD told Manoah that His name was Wonderful (Judg. 13:18), one of the names of God (Isa. 9:6). When Jacob struggled with the Angel, he struggled with God (Hos. 12:3, 4). These are convincing proofs that when the Angel of the LORD is referred to in the OT, the reference is to deity.

John F. Walvoord (as quoted by Chafer) gives four arguments to support this:
1. The Second Person is the Visible God of the New Testament.
2. The Angel of Jehovah of the Old Testament No Longer Appears after the Incarnation of Christ.
3. Both the Angel of Jehovah and Christ Are Sent by the Father.
4. The Angel of Jehovah Could Not Be Either the Father Or the Holy Spirit. “As for the fourth evidence, Walvoord goes on to explain that the Father and the Spirit are invisible to man and both have the attribute of immateriality. He concludes, “There is not a single valid reason to deny that the Angel of Jehovah is the Second Person, every known fact pointing to His identification as the Christ of the New Testament.”
As the Angel of Jehovah, Christ is distinguished from other angels in that He is uncreated. The words translated Angel in both Testaments mean “messenger”; He is the Messenger of Jehovah. Thus, as Chafer says, He is an “angel” only by office.


and sat under an oak (or terebinth tree see Table 6.2)—also called a turpentine tree); While the Israelites awaited for an answer from God, the angel of the LORD sat under a shade tree to enjoy a little refreshment (Judges 6:216) and relaxation while watching Gideon threshing wheat! Kimchi has a different slant on this scene; he interprets this clause as “and stayed under an oak for a while”, seeing that, according to his observation, angels are not said to sit, but stand.

which was in Ophrah, that pertaineth to Joash the Abiezrite; This Ophrah (means “Father of help") is different from a city with the same name in the tribe of Benjamin, ( Joshua 18:21-237) for the oak that was in it, under which the angel sat, belonged to Joash an Abiezrite, a descendant of Abiezer, son of the sister of Gilead, who was the son of Machir the son of Manasseh, (Joshua 17:28) (1 Chronicles 7: 14, 17, 189); it is called Ephra by Josephus, and Jerom by Ephrata.

"Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites," or Ephra, a city of Manasseh, 6 miles (10km) south-west of Shechem and about 16 miles north of Jericho, in the district belonging to the family of Abiezer (Jos 17:210), was the residence of Gideon (Judges 6:11;11). After his great victory over the Midianites, he slew the captive kings at this place (Jg. 8.18-2112). He then assumed the function of high priest, and sought to make Ophrah what Shiloh should have been. This thing "became a snare" to Gideon and his house. After Gideon's death his family resided here until they were put to death by Abimelech (Judges 9:513).

There is a city with the same name in the territory belonging to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:237) between Parah and Chephar-ammoni (Josh 18:237); probably identical with Ephron (2 Chron 13:1914 and Ephraim (John 11:5415), and the modern Palestinian city of Taybeh. The Israeli settlement of Ofra is close to the site as well. It is identified with Ferata.

Abiezer is the oldest son of Gilead, a descendant of Manasseh; head of a leading family, which included Joash and Gideon (Judges 6:11-24; Judges 6:3416; Judges 8:217).

Jo'-ash (yo'ash) (means "Yahweh is strong" or "Yahweh has bestowed"): Father of Gideon, of the clan of Abiezer and the tribe Manasseh (Jdg 6:11, 29-3118; 7:1419; 8:13, 19, 3220).

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