The book of Judges
The Madianites conquer Israel
(6:1) And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and Jehovah delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. (2) And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of Midian the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds. (3) And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east; they came up against them; (4) and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. (5) For they came up with their cattle and their tents; they came in as locusts for multitude; both they and their camels were without number: and they came into the land to destroy it. (6) And Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the children of Israel cried unto Jehovah.
God's prophet mission
(7) And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto Jehovah because of Midian, (8) that Jehovah sent a prophet unto the children of Israel: and he said unto them, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; (9) and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land; (10) and I said unto you, I am Jehovah your God; ye shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell. But ye have not hearkened unto my voice.
Appointment of Gideon the Judge of Israel
(11) And the angel of Jehovah came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. (12) And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him, and said unto him, Jehovah is with thee, thou mighty man of valor. (13) And Gideon said unto him, Oh, my lord, if Jehovah is with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not Jehovah bring us up from Egypt? but now Jehovah hath cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian. (14) And Jehovah looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian: have not I sent thee? (15) And he said unto him, Oh, Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. (16) And Jehovah said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. (17) And he said unto him, If now I have found favor in thy sight, then show me a sign that it is thou that talkest with me. (18) Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and lay it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. (19) And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of meal: 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. (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. (21) Then the angel of Jehovah put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there went up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of Jehovah departed out of his sight. (22) And Gideon saw that he was the angel of Jehovah; and Gideon said, Alas, O Lord Jehovah! forasmuch as I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face. (23) And Jehovah said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. (24) Then Gideon built an altar there unto Jehovah, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Gideon tears down the altar of Baal
(25) And it came to pass the same night, that Jehovah said unto him, Take thy father's bullock, even the second bullock seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the Asherah that is by it; (26) and build an altar unto Jehovah thy God upon the top of this stronghold, in the orderly manner, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt-offering with the wood of the Asherah which thou shalt cut down. (27) Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as Jehovah had spoken unto him: and it came to pass, because he feared his father's household and the men of the city, so that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
(28) And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. (29) And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. (30) Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die, because he hath broken down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the Asherah that was by it. (31) And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye contend for Baal? Or will ye save him? he that will contend for him, let him be put to death whilst [it is yet] morning: if he be a god, let him contend for himself, because one hath broken down his altar. (32) Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal contend against him, because he hath broken down his altar.
The appeal to participate in the fight with enemy
(33) Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east assembled themselves together; and they passed over, and encamped in the valley of Jezreel. (34) But the Spirit of Jehovah came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered together after him. (35) And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they also were gathered together after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. (36) And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as thou hast spoken, (37) behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshingfloor; if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the ground, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as thou hast spoken. (38) And it was so; for he rose up early on the morrow, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. (39) And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once: let me make trial, 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. (40) And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
Military expedition – Gideon select his army
(7:1) Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and encamped beside the spring of Harod: and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. (2) And Jehovah said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. (3) Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. (4) And Jehovah said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. (5) So he brought down the people unto the water: and Jehovah said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
(6) And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. (7) And Jehovah said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thy hand; and let all the people go every man unto his place. (8) So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets; and he sent all the men of Israel every man unto his tent, but retained the three hundred men: and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley.
The Midianites are routed
(9) And it came to pass the same night, that Jehovah said unto him, Arise, get thee down into the camp; for I have delivered it into thy hand. (10) But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Purah thy servant down to the camp: (11) and thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thy hands be strengthened to go down into the camp. Then went he down with Purah his servant unto the outermost part of the armed men that were in the camp. (12) And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is upon the sea-shore for multitude. (13) And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man telling a dream unto his fellow; and he said, Behold, I dreamed a dream; and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came unto the tent, and smote it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat. (14) And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: into his hand God hath delivered Midian, and all the host. (15) And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped; and he returned into the camp of Israel, and said, Arise; for Jehovah hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. (16) And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets, and empty pitchers, with torches within the pitchers. (17) And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outermost part of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. (18) When I blow the trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, For Jehovah and for Gideon.
(19) So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands. (20) And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands wherewith to blow; and they cried, The sword of Jehovah and of Gideon. (21) And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran; and they shouted, and put [them] to flight. (22) And they blew the three hundred trumpets, and Jehovah set every man's sword against his fellow, and against all the host; and the host fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.
The pursuit of the enemy
(23) And the men of Israel were gathered together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after Midian. (24) And Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hillcountry of Ephraim, saying, Come down against Midian, and take before them the waters, as far as Beth-barah, even the Jordan. So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together, and took the waters as far as Beth-barah, even the Jordan. (25) And they took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian: and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.
The appeasing a grudge of the men of Ephraim
(8:1) And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with Midian? And they did chide with him sharply. (2) And he said unto them, What have I now done in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? (3) God hath delivered into your hand the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison with you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.
Gideon captures the kings of Midian
(4) And Gideon came to the Jordan, [and] passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing. (5) And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they are faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian. (6) And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thy hand, that we should give bread unto thine army? (7) And Gideon said, Therefore when Jehovah hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers. (8) And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them in like manner; and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. (9) And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.
The defeat of Zebah and Zalmunna
(10) Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the host of the children of the east; for there fell a hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword. (11) And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host; for the host was secure. (12) And Zebah and Zalmunna fled; and he pursued after them; and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host.
The revenge of Gideon
(13) And Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle from the ascent of Heres. (14) And he caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described for him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, seventy and seven men. (15) And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom ye did taunt me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thy hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary? (16) And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. (17) And he brake down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.
Death of the both kings of Midian
(18) Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king. (19) And he said, They were my brethren, the sons of my mother: as Jehovah liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you. (20) And he said unto Jether his first-born, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword; for he feared, because he was yet a youth. (21) Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us; for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescents that were on their camels' necks.
Later fate of Gideon
Rejection by him of the king dignity
(22) Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also; for thou hast saved us out of the hand of Midian. (23) And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: Jehovah shall rule over you. (24) And Gideon said unto them, I would make a request of you, that ye would give me every man the ear-rings of his spoil. (For they had golden ear-rings, because they were Ishmaelites.) (25) And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the ear-rings of his spoil. (26) And the weight of the golden ear-rings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred [shekels] of gold, besides the crescents, and the pendants, and the purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels' necks. (27) And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel played the harlot after it there; and it became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house. (28) So Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, and they lifted up their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon. (29) And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.
The family and the death of Gideon
(30) And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten; for he had many wives. (31) And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. (32) And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. (33) And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and played the harlot after the Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. (34) And the children of Israel remembered not Jehovah their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side; (35) neither showed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, [who is] Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had showed unto Israel.
THE BLOWING THE TRUMPETS OF THE GIDEON'S ARMY
("The Eternal Wisdom" (Odwieczna Mądrość) –– December 1994)
Moses announced period of punishing the Israel, which named "seven times". (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28). The Lord Jesus, however, the same period called "the Times of the Gentiles," because then Pagan rulers wielded universal power and then they enslaved also Israel. (Luke 21:24). Seven literal years in captivity Midianites is illustration of punishing of chosen nation for seven prophetic years.
All the Madianites, the Amalekites and the eastern tribes joined forces represent the enemies Israel according to the body, then Israel according to the spirit, and at last the enemies of whole mankind sighing under the heavy yoke of despotic and unjust rules.
Seven-year-old period of occupation Madianites (7 x 360 = 2520) represents 2520 years, from 606 B.C. to 1914 A.D., during which the most various forms of rules took place. All of them without excerpt were exploiting and oppressing enslaved peoples.
The period of God's permission for earthly rules ended formally in 1914 and from now on they began to fall in three consecutive phases: war, revolution and anarchy (1 Kings 19:11-12; Rev. 8:13).
Before however progressive destruction reached the stage of anarchy, the falling pagans powers made extraordinary interventions, ready to do anything just to stay in power. They gave up ideological differences and undertook the common effort to hold back the growing social tensions.
The historical compromise of powerful communist power and Rome-Catholic church was special expression of such endeavours. In 1977 at the 60-Anniversary of the October Revolution the solemn appeals were delivered from Kremlin. The appeals were applauded by UN and supported by many churches. It was desperate attempt to remain at the helm of world rules. Kremlin's appeals recommended socialism idea as the only way to maintain peace and safety in the world. All intelligent unbiased people were prone to agree that the system of the relative social justice only gives the chance of maintenance of equilibrium in the world. So-called real-socialism exhausted the last possibility of the mankind in this field. Nevertheless the theoretical ideals of socialism relating to social truths approached to the teachings of Jesus Christ the most. The world did not invent better anything.
This issue was in fact a brash challenge of atheists to God, which displayed in his Word, that this His Son, Jesus Christ will establish on the earth the everlasting kingdom of the justice, of true peace and safety.
The historical picture of the gathering together of the Midianites, the Amalekites and the peoples of the east, who lied along in the valley like locusts, it has here special significance. Because it presents the situation of the world before the great battle of Armageddon, when the power, which the locust is the biblical symbol (Rev. 9:7-11), makes extraordinary efforts to maintain the peace.
During that historical event, the daring action of Gideon and his three hundred select warriors has brought about panic among the numerous army of Madianites had been gathered to the fight against God's nation, Israel. Gideon represents Christ, whereas the three hundred of his soldiers – "the little flock" that is the Church of Christ (Luke 12:32).
Here is the commentary to Isa. 9:4 (1905):
The day of Midian ... When Gideon’s band, typifying the Royal Priesthood,
by letting their feeble lights shine out, suddenly achieved
a great victory through a time of trouble upon the host
of enemy ..................................................… Z ’05-382
The torches, burning in the darkness of the night, the sounds of battle horns and the loud shout, "For Jehovah and for Gideon", of this handful warriors made the terrific impression on the Madianites, which had darted to panicky escape. This battle represents the last mission of the Church of the announcing of the truth given through God (1977–1981).
"And they blew the three hundred trumpets, and Jehovah set every man's sword against his fellow, and against all the host; and the host fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath." (Judges 7:22).
Exactly the such situation arose at Poland in the late 70’s of the past century. The society shared on two groups fighting each other mutually, because every group chose the different way of the acting.
The names, Beth-shittah (means: house of the acacia) and Zererah (means: to pierce) illustrate the trend policy chose through the conservative ruling camp. It hard opposed (hardness of the accacia tree) and "pierced" impetus of radicals.
The names of the localities of the second direction of the escape: Abel-meholah (meadow of dancing) and Tabbath (pleasantly) characterize the political way of the opposite group. This is radical opposition to the power, the opposition careless, have not taking into account the realities of the life, which propagates the ideas charming but unrealistic.
Increasing anarchy in the world is the after-effect of the fratricidal fight of these groups. The battle broke out in socialist camp, where hard rules brought about strong reaction proportional to used strength. The fall of socialism leads however to anarchy in the entire civilized world. The fall of the authority of the ruling powers is observed everywhere. Dissatisfied masses in the whole world overwhelms the spirit of criticism and fight, the demand of radical changes in the all fields of the life.
Only the Jesus Christ himself (Gideon) will be the winner of this fight. The Scripture says: "He shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be abolished is death." (1 Cor. 15:24-26).
Added by: Andrzej