士师记 7

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1 基甸带三百人攻打米甸人

2 耶和华对基甸:“与你在一起的人太多,我不能把米甸人交在你们中,免得以色列人向我自夸:‘是我们自己的了我们。’

3 现在你要向众民宣告:‘害怕战栗的,可以回去,离开基列。’”于是众民中有人回去,只剩下一万人。

4 耶和华对基甸:“人还是太多,你要领他们旁去,我要在那里为你试验他们。我指着谁对你:‘这人可以与你同去’,他就可以与你同去;我指着谁对你:‘这人不可以与你同去’,他就不可以与你同去。”

5 于是基甸带他们边去;耶和华对基甸:“用舌头,像的,你要把他们安置在一处;屈膝跪的,也要把他们安置在一处。”

6 捧到嘴边舔的,总数共有;其余的都屈膝跪下

7 耶和华对基甸:“我要用这舔水的你们,把米甸人交在你们的里,所有其他的都可以各回自己的地方去。”

8 于是众民里拿着食物和号角;所有其他的以色列人,基甸都打发他们各回自己的帐棚去,只留。当时米甸就在他们下面的平原里。

9 当夜,耶和华对基甸:“起来去攻,因为我已经把他们交在你里了。

10 如果你害怕一人去,可以带着你的童仆普拉一同营地那里去;

11 你要他们什么,然你的就必坚强起来,有胆量去攻了。”于是基甸带着他的童仆普拉一同去,到中驻军的边缘。

12 那时米甸人、亚玛力人和所有的东方人,都散布在平原上,好像蝗虫那么多;他们的骆驼无数,好像边的沙那么多。

13 基甸到了,就听见一个正在把他的梦告诉他的同伴:“我作了一个梦,梦见一个大麦饼滚入米甸中,到了帐幕,把帐幕撞倒,帐幕就翻朝上了。”

14 他的同伴回答:“这不是别的,这是以色列人约阿施的儿子基甸的刀;已经把米甸和全交在他中了。”

15 基甸见了这梦的叙述和梦的讲解,就敬拜神;然后返回以色列中,:“起来,因为耶和华已经把米甸的军队交在你们里了。”

16 于是他把分作队,把角空瓶交在各里,又把火把放在瓶里。

17 然后对他们:“你们要着我,也要照样行事。注意!我到了的边缘,我怎样行事,你们也要怎样行事。

18 我和所有与我在一起的人吹角的时候,你们也要在全的四周吹角,喊叫:‘为耶和华!为基甸!’”

19 基甸用计策惊溃敌基甸所有与他在一起的一,在半夜三更的起初,换更的时候,到了的边缘,就吹起角,打破中的瓦瓶。

20 队的人就都吹角,打破瓦瓶,左紧握着火把,右紧握着角不住地吹,并且喊说:“耶和华基甸的刀!”

21 他们在的四周各站在自己的位置;全都乱跑,他们一面叫,一面逃跑

22 吹那枝角的时候,耶和华使全用刀互相击杀,然后他们向着西利拉逃到伯.哈示他,直到靠近他巴的亚伯.米何拉河边。

23 米甸人大败以色列人就从拿弗他利、亚设和玛拿西全地被召来,追赶米甸人

24 基甸派遣了使者走遍以法莲地,说:“你们要来迎战米甸人,在他们前面把守约旦河的渡口,直到伯.巴拉。”于是以法莲都被召来,把守约旦河的渡口,直到伯.巴拉。

25 他们捉住了米甸人的两个首领:俄立西伊伯;把俄立在俄立磐石上,把西伊伯在西伊伯榨酒池那里;然后追赶米甸人,又把俄立西伊伯的人约旦河对岸,基甸那里。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 7      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 7: Gideon’s valiant three hundred men.

Gideon and all his men camped by the well of Harod, which can mean “eager”, and also “trembling.” The Lord told Gideon that his army was too large, which could lead Israel to boast that they won by their own efforts (rather than the Lord’s power). Gideon was instructed to send away anyone who was afraid; 22,000 went home, leaving 10,000.

Even still, the Lord said the army was too large, so Gideon tested the men by taking them down to the water to drink. The Lord directed Gideon to call out those who lapped water from out of their hands rather than kneeling down to drink with their mouths. Three hundred men were chosen by this method of selection.

The Lord then commanded Gideon to go down to the Midianite camp, and if he was afraid, to take his servant, Phurah. There, Gideon overheard one of the soldiers telling his companion that he’d had a dream, in which a loaf of bread came tumbling into the camp and struck one of the tents so that it collapsed. The other soldier said that this meant the Lord would give victory to Gideon.

Gideon gave each of his men a trumpet, and a pitcher containing a lit torch. They surrounded the Midianite camp, and at the command of Gideon, they blew their trumpets, broke their pitchers to show the torches, and shouted, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” This caused panic in the camp, and every Midianite drew his sword against another, and many fled. Then Gideon ordered the capture and killing of the two Midianite princes, whose heads were brought to him.

*****

We must give glory to the Lord for successes that we seem to earn, as He alone does what is good. The Lord told Gideon to reduce the size of his army, to avoid the dangers of growing too proud. Since we live our lives as if we do everything ourselves, this is a constant threat. The fact that about two-thirds of Gideon’s army were afraid and went home shows the reality of our nature (see Swedenborg’s work, True Christian Religion 442).

Lapping water from the hand reflects our need to see and examine what we take into our minds. Water stands for truth, but it can also stand for false ideas. If we drink directly from the water, we accept indiscriminately and examine nothing. Cupping and holding the water in our hands means that we can see how to apply this truth through our attitudes and actions (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 6047[2]).

Gideon’s army of only three hundred men was all it took to defeat the Midianites. The number ‘three’ stands for something which is complete or full in itself. Some spiritual examples include mind, body and soul, as well as celestial, spiritual and natural (see Swedenborg’s Apocalypse Explained 435[3] and 532[2]).

The dream Gideon overheard stands for the power of good (the bread) to break down the apparent power of what is evil and false (the tent) (Arcana Caelestia 4247[3]). The name of Gideon’s servant, Phurah, means “fruitfulness”, or “a winepress”, which is where Gideon was first called by the angel of the Lord.

The trumpet and the torch both stand for the power of truth to overcome evil and false ideas, the trumpet by its penetrating sound, and the torch by its illuminating light. There is no mention of swords for the army of Israel.

Finally, the oppression by the Midianites represents knowing what is true, but living a life governed by our own desires. This leads us increasingly further away from obeying the Lord. Of course, this must be addressed. The Midianites destroyed each other in their panic, meaning what is disorderly and against the Lord holds no validity, and eventually destroys itself (Arcana Caelestia 9320).

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