Notes on Judges 6:33-40
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
Judges 6:33, KJV Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.
This is similar to the narrative in verses 2-5, when the enemies would invade Israel. The Valley of Jezreel is in northern Israel, close to the Kishon River and Mt, Tabor, scene of Barak’s victory over Sisera in chapter 4. Again it is stated that they “pitched (their tents)” in that location. Apparently they had little interest in keeping a more or less permanent presence in Israel, only living there temporarily in their tents.
34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.
Abiezer was the first to respond to Gideon’s call.
Note the mention of the Holy Spirit, called here “the Spirit of the LORD”, distinct from the Angel of the LORD Who had spoken with Gideon previously. In the Old Testament era, the Holy Spirit seldom filled believers but He did “come upon” those whom He chose.
Later David would pray in Psalm 51 for the LORD to not take the Holy Spirit away from him, which was a valid request in that time. Since the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit permanently indwells each believer. Jesus Himself told the disciples that this would happen in John 14:16-17.
35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.
Zebulun and Naphtali had joined forces under Deborah and Barak’s leadership to defeat the army of Sisera in chapter 4. Deborah may have given them a mild reproof (or stronger) in her victory song, recorded in chapter 5. Apparently Asher had not given or offered much in the battle against Sisera.
36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, 37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; (and) if the dew be on the fleece only, and (it be) dry upon all the earth (beside), then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
These verses have Gideon’s prayer for a sign or confirmation from God that he was truly the one to bring victory or deliverance to Israel. Sometimes this is referred to as “Gideon’s fleece” because he asked God to leave the grass dry but leave dew on the fleece
38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Gideon wrung out a whole bowl of water from the fleece!
39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
Gideon asked God for the reverse this time, dry fleece on wet ground.
40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
This was a miracle for the ground to be wet and the fleece, dry.
Now Gideon was convinced.
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).