Gideon’s Present Consumed by Fire - Page 4 (series: Lessons on Judges)
by John Lowe
24 Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom (that is, The LORD send peace): unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.--Judges 6:24 (KJV)
24 So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD. He called it The LORD Calms. To this day it is still in Ophrah, which belongs to Abiezer's family.--Judges 6:24 (GW)
Therefore, the Lord reassured him verbally: Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. This promise left such an impression upon Gideon that the next thing we read is:
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord. He built it on the top of the rock where he had laid his provisions, and which had been consumed by fire emanating out of it, as a token of divine acceptance, and as an assurance of his destroying the Midianites as easily and quickly as the fire had consumed the food offering, and therefore Gideon was greatly encouraged to erect an altar here for God.
The memorial of this event or vision which Gideon set up was a monument in the form of an altar, because his sacrifice was made upon a rock, without the significance of an altar, but the angel had signaled his acceptance of him; then an altar was unnecessary (the angel’s staff was sufficient to sanctify the gift without an altar), but now it was proper to preserve the remembrance of the vision, which was done by the name Gideon gave to this memorial, Jehovah-shalom—The Lord send peace. This is, (1.) The title of the Lord that spoke to him. Compare with 9Gen. 16: 13. The same person is the Lord our righteousness, is our peace 10(Eph. 2:14), our reconciler and so our Savior. Or, (2.) The substance of what he said to him: "The Lord spoke peace, bid me to take it easy when I was agitated.” Or, (3.) A prayer grounded upon what he had said: The Lord send peace, that is, rest from the present trouble, for it was the public welfare that lay nearest his heart.
and called it Jehovahshalom; the Lord is peace, the author and giver of peace, worldly, spiritual, and eternal; so “the Lord is our peace” is a fit name for the angel that appeared to him, who was none other than the man of peace; who is our peace, the author of peace between God and man. This is the name he gave the altar, with respect to the words of comfort said to him while he was in a frightened state.
peace be to thee, and peace would come to fulfill prophecy; that peace would be brought to Israel by the Lord, and He would also provide them with prosperity, or the Lord would grant or send peace in response to the prayers of the people. “Peace be to thee;" which implied, not only a wish but a prediction of the prosperous execution and completion of the enterprise in which he was about to engage. It is likely that this is the altar which is mentioned in Judges 6:26, and is spoken of here merely by anticipation.
unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites; that is, the altar Gideon built remained to the times of Samuel, the writer of this book, and was then to be seen in the city of Ophrah, which belonged to the family of the Abiezrites, who were of the tribe of Manasseh. Therefore, it serves as another evidence of the reality and genuineness of the original incident. Throughout the book of Judges, as well as many other early Old Testament books, this statement is made as a part of the author’s defense of the literalness of the original incident. Such statements cannot be dismissed lightly, as they so often have been by liberal commentators who want to believe that these books were written much later than the events which they describe.
9(Gen. 16.13) “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?” And she called the name of the Lord—she invoked (ותקרא vattikra) the name of Jehovah who spake unto her, thus: Thou God seest me! She found that the eye of a merciful God had been upon her in all her wanderings and afflictions; and her words seem to intimate that she had been seeking the Divine help and protection, for she says, Have I also (or have I not also) looked after him that seeth me? This last clause of the verse is very obscure and is rendered differently by all the versions. The general sense taken out of it is this, That Hagar was now convinced that God himself had appeared unto her, and was surprised to find that, notwithstanding this, she was still permitted to live; for it is generally supposed that if God appeared to any, they must be consumed by his glories. This is frequently alluded to in the sacred
writings.— Adam Clarke's Commentary10
(Eph. 2:14,15) “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;” These verses contain a confirmation and illustration of what precedes: 'You who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ' (Ephesians 2:13). For he is our peace; in his flesh, he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall … This he has accomplished by abolishing the law.
The breaking down of the dividing wall which the apostle speaks of does not consist in setting the law aside or suspending it by a sovereign, executive act. It is no longer active or binding. Its demands have been satisfied so that we are judicially free from it; free not by the act of a sovereign, but by the sentence of a judge – not by mere pardon, but by justification. Who is he that condemns, when God justifies? (See Romans 8:34.)—Commentary on Ephesians, A
Gideon Destroys an Altar Dedicated to Baal
25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down 11
the grove that is by it:—Judges 6:25 (KJV)
25 That same night the LORD said to Gideon, “Take a bull from your father's herd, a bull that is seven years old. Tear down your father's altar dedicated to the god Baal and cut down the pole dedicated to the goddess Asherah that is next to it.—Judges 6:25 (GW)
And it came to pass the same night; the night which followed the day in which the angel appeared to Gideon as he was threshing.
that the Lord said unto him; perhaps in a dream, since He came to Gideon at night. He orders Gideon to begin his government with the reformation of his father’s house. An announcement by God made by the angle when it appeared to Gideon; the same night after he had seen God, when he was full of thoughts concerning what had taken place before his eyes, which probably he had not yet communicated to anyone, The Lord said unto him in a dream, Do so and so.
Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old;—there is some difficulty in this expression, for, according to the Hebrew text, two bullocks (or oxen) are mentioned here; but there is only one mentioned in Judges 6:26, 28. But what was this second bullock? Some think that it was a bullock that was fattened in order to be offered in sacrifice to Baal. This is very probable since the second bullock is distinguished from another which may also have belonged to Gideon's father. The altar was built upon the ground of Joash, yet it appears to have been public property, (see Judges 6:29, 30), so some think this second ox was probably reared and fattened at the expense of the men of that village; why else would they resent it's being offered to Jehovah?
The bullock, which was a large grown ox, and was not only his father's property, but it was what his father set apart for the service of Baal; yet Gideon having received divine authorization to take it, found that to be more than enough reason for him to take it without his father’s permission, and especially since it was designed for such an evil use.
This particular bullock at nine years old was in its prime and full strength and could live much longer if it did not currently face extermination at the altar of God. In Homer, one of five years old is said to be sacrificed. The bullock that Gideon was to take can be described as, the second that stood in the stall of the bullocks, or that drew in the second row of the team pulling a plow, or the second in age and value, or the second that was set apart for the service of Baal; though the words may be rendered, "and the second bullock"; besides that of his father's, he was to take another. Now, one more possibility exists which says, perhaps the bullock belonged to the people, and was the second in birth or age with respect to the former, being seven years old; or, as the Targum is, that had been fatted seven years, and had been undergoing a process to prepare it for the sacrifice offered to Baal; which lasted as long as the tyranny of the Midianites over them. The sacrifice made to Baal was to be attended by the idolatry of the people of Israel; and such a bullock was ordered to be taken with respect to that ceremony, which would end with the sacrifice of this creature.