Gideon’s Present Consumed by Fire - Page 8 (series: Lessons on Judges)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

he that will plead for him, let him be put to death, while it is yet morning; immediately, instantly, without delay, for it was early morning when they came to him. He that shall farther plead for such a god as this deserves to die for his foolishness and irreverence. He said this to terrify them, and to express the hatred he now had of idolatry, and the truthful understanding of its being punishable with death by the law of God. He probably had a lot more to say for his son: but it is usual in scripture to give only short hints of things which were discussed in detail later. But why did he say these things? I suppose that it was said primarily, to save his son from their current anger and rage, and he hoped to gain time to find out some ways and means to ensure his safety:

if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. If he is a god, he knows who has done it, and is able to avenge himself on him, and put him to death himself, and therefore let him plead his own cause, and avenge his own injuries. He said this to mock the false deity; for though Joash had been a worshipper of Baal, yet he might now be convinced by his son of the sinfulness of it, and of the necessity for a reformation of the Hebrew people, in order to have a deliverance from the Midianites, for which Gideon had a commission, and had perhaps informed his father of it; or it may be that he was not so attached to Baal and that he preferred the life of his son to the worship of him. Accordingly, we ought to defend those who are zealous of Gods cause, though all the multitude is against us.

"Joash, his father, quieted the mob in a manner similar to that of the town clerk of Ephesus. It was not for them to take the matter into their own hands. The one, however, made an appeal to the magistrate; the other to the idolatrous god himself" CHALMERS.
15(Acts 19.40) “For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. To be called in question.” By the government; by the Roman authority. Such a tumult continued for so long a time, would be likely to attract the attention of the magistrates, and expose them to their displeasure. Popular commotions were justly dreaded by the Roman government; and such an assembly as this, convened without any good cause, would not escape their notice. There was a Roman law which made it capital for anyone to be engaged in promoting a riot. Qui caetum, et concursum fecerit, capite puniatur: "He who raises a mob, let him be punished with death." —Barnes' Notes on the New Testament
paragogic letters, in the Semitic languages are letters which are added to the ordinary forms of words, to express additional emphasis or some change in the sense.

Sottish—stupefied with or as if with drink; drunken. Given to excessive drinking. Pertaining to or befitting a sot.

32 Therefore on that day, he called him Jerubbaal (that is, Let Baal plead), saying, Let Baal plead against him because he hath thrown down his altar.--Judges 6:28-33 (KJV)
32 So that day they nicknamed Gideon “Jerubbaal” Let Baal Defend Himself, because they said, “When someone tears down Baal's altar, let Baal defend himself.”--Judges 6:28-33 (GW)

Therefore on that day, he called him Jerubbaal; that is, Joash called his son Gideon by that name.

The passage makes it clear that Joash was convicted and challenged by his son’s action; and, therefore, he called him Jerubbaal, meaning “let Baal plead.” The idea is that Baal ought to be able to plead for himself and that the men of the city were not capable of pleading on behalf of a god. The fact that Baal had been unable to stop Gideon’s action implies that his father no longer believed that he was a god. One must view the incident from the context of the people themselves. An Israelite man had compromised his religious beliefs by taking part in Baal worship and somehow had convinced the community to follow him. Now, that same man was questioning the authenticity of such worship and was defending the action of his son; thus, providing a continuing demonstration of the inability of Satan to counter divine power. He was later called Jerubbesheth according to 162 Samuel 11:21. I saying, let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar; giving this as the reason for calling his son Jerubbaal, which stands for, "let Baal plead"; let Baal plead his own cause, and avenge himself on Gideon for what he has done to him, and put him to death if he can. The fact that Gideon was not put to death by the men of the city must mean that his father successfully defended him and turned the city to rally behind this surprising new leader. The total context of the story indicates that his father was stunned by such action on the part of his son (who had been previously known for his cowardice).

Let him plead — As the God of Israel has often done when any indignity or injury has been done against him. But Baal has now shown, that he is neither able to help you, nor himself; and therefore is not worthy to be served any longer. This resolute answer was necessary to stop the torrent of the peoples' fury; and it was drawn from him, by the sense of his son's extreme danger; and by the confidence, he had, that God would plead his son's cause, and use him for the rescue of his people
And so Gideon begins his adventure. Even with God’s commission, he is still afraid. Instead of obeying God in the bold daylight, he does it under the cover of darkness. But they find out who did it, and they are ready to execute Gideon. But God again delivers him.

Gideon is still hesitant. God has to overcome fear. God has to develop courage and faith. God has to strengthen Gideon’s feeble knees. It is a patient, long ordeal. The next step is to fill this man with His Spirit—God has always given a filling of the Spirit to the man that He uses.
16(2 Samuel 11:21) “Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth…”

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