Gideon’s Present Consumed by Fire - Page 6 (series: Lessons on Judges)
by John Lowe
2. He did not have any qualms about taking his father’s bullock and offering it to God without his father’s consent, because God, who expressly commanded him to do so, had a better entitlement to it than his father had, and it was the greatest kindness he could do to his father to prevent his sin.
3. He expected to incur the displeasure of his father’s household by doing it, as well as the ill-will of his neighbors, yet he did it, remembering how much it was Levi’s praise that, in the cause of God, he said to his father and mother, I have not seen him, 13Deut. 33: 9. And, while he was sure of the favor of God, he feared not the anger of men; he that told him to do it would bear him out.
4. Though he feared not their resentment when it was done, to prevent their resistance in the doing of it he prudently chose to do it by night, that he might not be disturbed in these sacred actions. And some think it was the same night in which God spoke to him to do it, and that, as soon as ever he had received the orders, he immediately applied himself to the execution of them and finished before morning.
Then Gideon took ten men of his servants: those whom he could command, confide in, and whom he knew liked him and would cheerfully take part in this work; because, like Gideon, they had not bowed the knee to Baal; and since there was a lot of work to do, and it must be done quickly, such a number was necessary; since he had not only the altar of Baal to tear down, and the grove or idol to cut down, but an altar to build, and a sacrifice to be taken and offered. In order to accomplish this task, Gideon took ten men of his servants, indicating that he was a man of some high position, and, perhaps, he was wealthy. No doubt he had acquainted them with his intentions, and assured them that his plan would succeed, as a result of which they were easily induced to assist him.
This alter/grove was dedicated to Ashtaroth. With the aid of his servants he demolished the one altar and built on the prearranged spot the altar of the Lord; but, since he was afraid of what the townspeople and his father’s servants might do to him, the work had to be done under cover of night.
and did as the Lord had said unto him; he did all the above; he launched into them immediately, and finished them all in one night; so he was happy with all that he accomplished in obedience to the divine command:
and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night; because both his father's family This would indicate that his father was the custodian of the Baal cult-center serving the entire town and that the majority of the people went there for worship., and the inhabitants of the city of Ophrah, were all idolaters, worshippers of Baal; and this fear of them was not a fear of being attacked and punished for what he did. The people knew that he was not an idolater and that he worshipped JEHOVAH, therefore, Gideon would be under suspicion and he expected that they would be looking for him, so the risk was the same, whether he acted in the daytime or at night; but it was a fear of being restrained and hindered from doing it that bothered him, and therefore he decided to do it at night.
Another thing that you may find interesting is the fact that the number seven was considered unlucky by the Canaanites, whereas it was virtually a sacred number to the Israelites. Thus, offering the second bullock of seven years old to Yahweh was a deliberate denial of the power of Baal and was an affirmation of the victory of Yahweh over Baal.
13(Deut. 33.9) “Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.” I have not seen him - That is, I have no respect unto them. The sense is, who followed God and his command fully and executed the judgment enjoined by God without any respect of persons, Ex. 32:26, 27. They kept thy covenant - When the rest broke their covenant with God by that foul sin of idolatry with the calf, that tribe kept themselves pure from that infection, and adhered to God and his worship.
28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.--Judges 6:28 (KJV)
28 When the men of the city got up early in the morning, they saw that the Baal altar had been torn down. The Asherah pole next to it had also been cut down. They saw that the second bull had been sacrificed as a burnt offering on the altar that had been built.--Judges 6:28 (GW)
And when the men of the city arose early in the morning: And came to the grove where the altar of Baal was, to pay their morning devotions to him:
behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the 14second bullock was offered upon the altar (Upon the altar of the Lord, not upon Baal's altar, for which it was designed.) that was built. It is very likely that when they came upon the new altar that Gideon built, and which was probably still burning, that the place, where the altar of Baal had stood, was not far from the rock where this new altar was erected.
It appears that the second bullock was offered because it was just seven years old (see Judges 6:25), being calved about the time that the Midianites oppression began; and it was now to be slain to indicate that their slavery should end with its life. The young bullock is supposed to have been offered for a peace-offering; the bullock of seven years old, for a burnt-offering.
The entire incident is quite significant in contrast to Canaanite religious practices, in which the god El was characterized by the sacred bull as the head of the Canaanite pantheon (see W. F. Albright, “The Role of the Canaanites in the History of Civilization,” in The Bible and the Ancient Near East)
14(second bullock)Meaning, the fat bull, which was kept to be offered to Baal.
29 And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.--Judges 6:29 (GW)
29 They asked each other, “Who did this?” While they were investigating the matter, someone said, “Gideon, son of Joash, did this.”--Judges 6:29 (GW)
And they said one to another, who hath done this thing? Naturally, the people were extremely upset when they discovered what had happened. They were struck with amazement, and could not conceive of who could be so daring and wicked as to do such a thing: The bullock had been offered, the Asherah pole had been cut up and used for the wood to burn the sacrifice, and the altar itself had been destroyed. In its place stood an altar to the Lord God of Israel.
and when they inquired and asked; Everyone turned out to see the scene of the crime, whereupon they asked one and another “Do you know who did this?” They asked everyone they could think of; they were very diligent and conscientious about finding it out; and perhaps they inquired of the family and servants of Joash and Gideon, on whose ground the altar stood:
they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing; when they had inquired of everybody they could, and thought about who was the most likely to have done it, there was only one person that came to mind, Gideon. It was partly because they knew he was no friend of Baal, and partly because he was a man of spirit and courage, and they concluded that no one but a man like him would have dared to have done it; and besides, they considered that he was the son of Joash, who perhaps was their chief magistrate, and that he might take the liberty to presume on his father's protection. They knew that he had the opportunity to do it since he lived near the premises. He was the most likely person they could think of; and it is not improbable, that while making the inquiries that they got it out of the servants involved, or that had knowledge of it from those involved, or from some that saw him that morning at the sacrifice, or returning from it, and therefore emphatically assert that he was the man that did it. Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.