Gideon’s Present Consumed by Fire - Page 2 (series: Lessons on Judges)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

19 And Gideon went in and made ready a kid (Heb. a kid of the goats), and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.--Judges 16.19 (KJV)
19 Then Gideon went into {his house} and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread made with 18 quarts of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. Then he went out and presented them to the Messenger of the LORD under the oak tree.--Judges 6:19 (GW)

Gideon intended, first, to show his gratitude and generous respect for this stranger, and, for God who sent him. He had declared the poverty of his family (v. 15) to excuse himself from being a general, but not here to excuse himself from being hospitable. Out of the little which the Midianites had left him, he would gladly spare enough to entertain a friend, especially a messenger from heaven. Secondly, To find out who and what this extraordinary person was. What he brought out is called his present (v. 18). It is the same word that is used for a meat-offering, and perhaps that word is used because Gideon intended to leave it to this divine person to determine which it should be when he had it before him: whether a feast or a meat-offering, and accordingly he would be able to judge concerning him: if he ate it like common meat, he would presume that he was a man, a prophet; if otherwise, as it proved to be, he would know he was an angel.

And Gideon went in; Into his own house, or his father's: and made ready a kid (a young goat); boiled it, or so it would seem by the broth he brought, and perhaps it was only part of one that he brought, since a whole one was too much to be set before one person even if he himself intended to eat with him.

and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour; that is, probably those cakes were made out of an ephah of flour; not that the whole ephah was made into cakes; since an omer, the tenth part of an ephah, was sufficient for one man for a whole day; and, according to the computation of Waserus an ephah was enough for forty-five men for a whole day; unless it can be thought that this was done to show his great hospitality to a stranger, and the great respect he had for him as a messenger of God: the unleavened cakes were brought, because Gideon was beginning to feel a sense of urgency, due to the messenger’s imminent departure. Jarchi says, from this morsel of information, it may be learned that it was now the time of the Passover, and of waving the sheaf; but this is no sufficient proof of it; besides, if Gideon had been threshing new wheat, it shows that it was the time for the wheat harvest, which was not till Pentecost; it was the barley harvest that began at the Passover.
the flesh he put in a basket; the flesh of the kid which was boiled was put by itself in a basket so that it could be easily carried to the stranger.

and he put the broth in a pot; a brazen (made of brass or resembling it, especially in color or hardness) pot, as Kimchi interprets it, in which the kid was boiled; and the broth, as he says, was the water it was boiled in:

and brought it out unto him under the oak; where he appeared and was now waiting for the return of Gideon. It was probably where he had a tent, which, with the shade of the oak, sheltered them from the heat of the sun, and yet afforded the privilege of the refreshing breeze. Under a shade in the open air the Arabs, to the present day, are accustomed to receiving their guests.

and presented it; set it before him, perhaps upon a table, which might have been brought by his servants and placed under the oak in the shade.

The manner in which the Arabs entertain strangers will cast light on this verse. Dr. Shaw observes: "Besides a bowl of milk, and a basket of figs, raisins, or dates, which upon our arrival were presented to us to stay our appetite, the master of the tent fetched us from his flock according to the number of our company, a kid or a goat, a lamb or a sheep; half of which was immediately seethed by his wife, and served up with cucasoe; the rest was made kab-ab, i.e., cut to pieces and roasted, which we reserved for our breakfast or dinner the next day." May we not suppose, says Mr. Harmer, that Gideon, presenting some slight refreshment to the supposed prophet, according to the present Arab mode, desired him to stay till he could provide something more substantial; that he immediately killed a kid, seethed part of it, and, when ready, brought out the stewed meat in a pot, with unleavened cakes of bread which he had baked; and the other part, the kab-ab, in a basket, for him to carry with him for some after-repast in his journey. See Shaw's and Pococke's Travels, and Harmer's Observations.

20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.--Judges 6:20 (KJV)
20 The Messenger of the LORD told him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” Gideon did so.--Judges 6:20 (GW)

And the angel of God said unto him. Instead of sitting down and partaking of the food made for him, he told him to do as follows:

take the flesh, and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock; not as a table to eat it from, but as an altar to offer it upon. The angel intended to make the flesh and bread an offering to God, and the broth a liquid sacrifice. The rock and altar might be typical of Christ, who sanctities every gift (present), and offering of his people. This rock was undoubtedly in sight, and very probably the oak, under which they were, grew upon it or was at the bottom of it, where it was no unusual thing for oaks to grow, 3(Genesis 35:8), but it was upon the top of the rock that these were to be laid, where afterward an altar was built; “And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.” (Judges 6:26)

and pour out the broth; upon the flesh and cakes, and upon the rock also, which since he brought it from his house must have been cool and it became cooler by being poured out, and cooler still by being poured upon a cold rock.

and he did so; he readily obeyed his orders; the food was laid upon a rock that served as an improvised altar. It was placed according to the directions given by the angel. Though he had reason to wonder if the food should be used like this during the current food shortages caused by the Midianites, perhaps he might have expected that he intended to give him a sign, which he truly desired, and therefore he complied with his order, without any objection.
3(Genesis 35:8) “But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.” The name of the place where Deborah was buried was called Allon-bachuth, "the oak of weeping," as it is likely her death had been greatly regretted.—Adam Clarke's

21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and there rose up fire out of the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.--Judges 6:21 (KJV)
21 Then the Messenger of the LORD touched the meat and the bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. The fire flared up from the rock and burned the meat and the bread. Then the Messenger of the LORD disappeared.--Judges 6:21 (GW)

Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand; the same staff that he walked with, appearing to be a traveler, which was one reason for Gideon's providing for his refreshment before he proceeded on in his journey.
and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes: he did not strike the rock with it, as Moses did with his rod, to produce water for the Israelites, but touched the food brought to him; not using it instead of a knife to cut off any part of them, but for the working of a miracle, as follows:

and there rose up fire out of the rock: had he struck the rock with his staff, the miracle would not have appeared so great, because it might be thought there was an iron 4ferrule at the end of it, which striking on a flinty rock might cause fire; but it was the flesh and cakes only that were touched, and they also had broth poured on them, and the rock likewise:

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