Gideon Summons an Army - Part 2 (Series: Lessons on Judges)
by John Lowe
Gideon will eventually be recognized as a mighty man of valor; yet personal strength and courage, even if vigorously exerted, would not be sufficient for this great feat; he must have the armor of God upon him, and this is what he must depend upon: The Spirit of the Lord clothed him in an extraordinary manner. Whom God calls to his work he will qualify and animate for it.
and he blew a trumpet; as an alarm to prepare for war, and as a signal to as many as heard it to come to him, and join with him in the common cause against the enemy: The blowing of the trumpet meant war. The minute he blew the trumpet, his people knew it meant war against the Amalekites, and they began to gather around him; and more came voluntarily than perhaps he expected. Gideon with his trumpet, and with God working with him, put life into his neighbors, and Abiezer was gathered after him; the Abiezrites, one of the families of the tribe of Manasseh, from which Gideon and his father's house were descended from, and their servants, and others; and probably the inhabitants of Ophrah, who were also Abiezrites, were now convinced of the uselessness of their idolatry. At present, they found no harm was due him for destroying the altar of Baal, but rather saw it as a blessing from God, in giving him strength and courage to attempt such a dangerous action. These men of Abiezer, though just recently enraged against him for throwing down the altar of Baal, and though they had condemned him to death as a criminal, were now convinced of their error, bravely came to his assistance, and submitted to him as their general. They changed their minds, and joined him, believing him to be the person by whose hands God would deliver them.
So suddenly can God change the hearts of even idolaters and persecutors?
Article 6.4: Maimonides
Moses Maimonides (March 30, 1135, Córdoba, Spain – December 13, 1204, Fostat, Egypt), was a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Andalusia, Morocco, and Egypt during the Middle Ages. He was one of the various medieval Jewish philosophers who also influenced the non-Jewish world.
Maimonides is the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher. One of the central tenets of his philosophy is that it is impossible for the truths arrived at by human intellection to contradict those revealed by God. Maimonides held to a strictly apophatic theology in which only negative statements toward a description of God may be considered correct. Thus, one does not say "God is One", but rather, "God is not multiple". Although many of his ideas met with the opposition of his contemporaries, Maimonides was embraced by later Jewish and many non-Jewish thinkers. Thomas Aquinas held him in high esteem, and the fourteen-volume Mishneh Torah today retains canonical authority as a codification of Talmudic law.
Although his copious works on Jewish law and ethics were initially met with opposition during his lifetime, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history. Today, his works and his views are considered a cornerstone of Jewish thought and study.
Maimonides' full Hebrew name was Moshe ben Maimon (Hebrew: משה בן מימון) and his Arabic name was أبو عمران موسى بن ميمون بن عبد الله القرطبي الإسرائيلي (Abu Imran Mussa bin Maimun ibn Abdallah al-Qurtubi al-Israeli, Mussa, the father of Imran, the son of Abdallah's son Maimun, from Cordoba, the Israelite). However, he is most commonly known for his Greek name, Moses Maimonides (Μωυσής Μαϊμονίδης), which literally means, "Moses, son of Maimon," like his name in Hebrew and Arabic. Several Jewish works call him Maimoni, מימוני. However, more Jewish works refer to him by the Hebrew acronym of his title and name — Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon — calling him the Rambam or the Rambam (רמב"ם).
Targum—(Christian Religious Writings / Bible) an Aramaic translation, usually in the form of an expanded paraphrase, of various books or sections of the Old Testament
35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered (Heb. Called) after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
35He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh to summon the people to follow him. The tribes of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali were also summoned to follow him, and they went to meet the enemy in battle.
Judges 6:35 (GW)
And he sent messengers through all Manasseh (On Both sides of Jordan.); which was his tribe. He called those with the trumpet who were within the sound of it, the Abiezrites, but he sent messengers to the rest of the tribe who were at a greater distance from him. The messengers not only invited them to join Gideon, but they also acquainted them with his plans. Some think this refers both to the half tribe of Manasseh within Jordan, and the other half tribe on the other side of the Jordan; but that is not very probable, only the half tribe within it is meant.
who also was gathered after him; obeying the summons and invitation he gave them through the messengers.
and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; because these tribes were the nearest to him on the North, and so they could join him sooner; and they were also nearest the enemy, verse 33, and therefore they were most mindful of the calamity that would soon be heading their way, and would probably be the most likely to rescue themselves from it. Gideon asked for assistance from these three tribes; but he did not summon the inhabitants of the tribe of Ephraim, which lay to the south, and that omission would lead to a quarrel, later on (Judges 8:1).
and they came up to meet them; that is, the inhabitants of the above three tribes, at least many of them, came up to meet Gideon from the places where they lived. They came together with Gideon and those that were associated with him, at the place of rendezvous.
Distant tribes, which were remote from the rendezvous, and who were strangers to him, obeyed his summons and sent him the best of their forces. Though they lived furthest from the danger, they knew that if their neighbors were over-run by the Midianites their own turn would be next, and so they chose to join the fight against a common enemy before it could reach their territory.
Gideon’s summons to war was enthusiastically obeyed by all the neighboring tribes until Israel had an army to face their traditional enemies. 32,000 men responded to the call, but what chance did 32,000 men have against an army of 135,000 men plus numberless camels? “And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude” (Jg. 7.12). This is the first mention in the Bible of camels used for war and certainly, they would have given their riders speed and mobility on the battlefield. The Jews were outnumbered and would certainly be outmaneuvered, except for one thing: Jehovah God was on their side, and He had promised them victory.
(Judges 8:1) “And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.” Where this complaint was made, whether before or after the crossing of the Jordan, cannot be determined. By the overthrow of the national enemy, the Ephraimites were benefited as largely as any of the other neighboring tribes. But, piqued at not having been sharers in the glory of the victory, their leading men could not repress their wounded pride; and the occasion only served to bring out an old and deep-seated feeling of jealous rivalry that subsisted between the tribes (Isa 9:21). The discontent was groundless, for Gideon acted according to divine directions. Besides, as their tribe was conterminous with that of Gideon, they might, had they been really fired with the flame of patriotic zeal, have volunteered their services in a movement against the common enemy.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
36 Then Gideon said to God, “You said that you would rescue Israel through me.
Judges 6:35 (GW)
And Gideon said unto God; not to a prophet of God who was there, of whom he asked the following signs to be done (See Chapter 18.2.d).
Gideon said—in humble prayer, for strengthening his own faith, and for the encouragement of his soldiers as they make this great attempt.
if thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said; not that he doubted it, but he was eager to have his faith confirmed; and perhaps his appeal was more for the encouragement of those that were with him than himself, that he desired the following signs for them; and though he had had one before, that was to show that it was truly an angel that spoke to him, and not to discover the extent of the salvation that was supposed to be brought about by him; although one would think that his conversation with an angel might be enough to confirm his faith in the mission God gave him to do.
Do you know what happened? Gideon got cold feet and went back to the Lord with a proposition—that is the gist of the rest of chapter 6.