Mar 21, 2011

Judges Chapters 6-8, Gideon, February 14 and March 7, 2011

Chapter 6
When we met Deborah the prophet in Jud 4:4-5, she was sitting under a palm tree, communing with the word of God and adjudicating laws for people.  And she is able to deliver the Israelites.  Now, however, YHVH has to send a prophet/angel to dig up a deliverer.  And what does the angel/ YHVH find?  Gideon, whose father is faithfully worshipping at the altar of Baal and the wood of the Asherah.  Gideon bewails his poor family and insignificant birth and repeatedly requires YHVH to provide signs that YHVH is truly a God.  Are these mighty miracles like the plagues and the parting of the Sea of Reeds?  (remember, these are the signs and wonders that cause even non-Israelites like Rehav to be in awe of YHVH).  No.  The first sign is that YHVH causes the food that Gideon prepares to go up in flames. This is enough to embolden Gideon to accept his first task: tearing down his father’s alter to Baal.  But when YHVH asks Gideon to engage in battle, Gideon requires further proof.  First dew on the fleece and dry on the ground, and then dry on the fleece and dew on the ground.

Chapter 7
YHVH will prove

Mar 20, 2011

Judges Chapters 1-3, Ehud/Eglon, February 7, 2011

Quick overview of Chapters 1-3
·         Judah appears to be in the ascendency here.  In their territories, they smite the enemies, except for the inhabitants of the valleys, who have the chariots of iron (Jud 1:19).
·         The Benjaminites, by contrast, are not able to drive out the Jebusites from Jerusalem.
·         Jud 1:24-25 reminds us of Rahav – the house of Joseph deals kindly with the city dweller who shows them the entrance to the city – they spare him while smiting the rest of the city.
·         Apart from Judah, most of the tribes fail to drive out all the inhabitants.  
·         Jud 2 – The angel of YHVH appears, carrying the voice of YHVH.  The angel upbraids the Israelites for not obeying YHVH.  They make covenant with the people of the land and fail to break down their alters.  The people cry and make sacrifice to YHVH.   The word atonement is not used, but this is basically what happens.  They follow the covenant until Joshua dies.
·         Jud 2: 10-
·         But after Joshua dies, a generation arises which knows not YHVH and the children of Isreal do what is evil in the eyes of YHVH, following other gods and provoking YHVH.   Jud 2:10-20 outlines  this trope, which will be repeated throughout the next 14 chapters.
·         Chapter 3 we meet Eglon and Ehud – a comic story, but indicative of the theme of Judges: we do evil, YHVH raises up a leader/judge who “saves” us for a while, we do evil again.  Eventually we no longer can be “save” by a judge and when we get to the end of Judges, we will be asking for a king to be given to us.
·         Note that Ehud does his job well.  Jud 3:29-30 there is a mighty killing of the Moabites and we have 40 years of rest.