士師記 7

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1 基甸帶三百人攻打米甸人耶路.巴力,就是基甸,和所有與他在一起的人,清起來,在哈律泉旁安米甸就在他們的面,靠近摩利山岡的平原上。

2 耶和華對基甸:“與你在一起的人太多,我不能把米甸人交在你們中,免得以色列人向我自誇:‘是我們自己的了我們。’

3 現在你要向眾民宣告:‘害怕戰慄的,可以回去,離開基列。’”於是眾民中有人回去,只剩下一萬人。

4 耶和華對基甸:“人還是太多,你要領他們旁去,我要在那裡為你試驗他們。我指著誰對你:‘這人可以與你同去’,他就可以與你同去;我指著誰對你:‘這人不可以與你同去’,他就不可以與你同去。”

5 於是基甸帶他們邊去;耶和華對基甸:“用舌頭,像的,你要把他們安置在一處;屈膝跪的,也要把他們安置在一處。”

6 捧到嘴邊舔的,總數共有;其餘的都屈膝跪下

7 耶和華對基甸:“我要用這舔水的你們,把米甸人交在你們的裡,所有其他的都可以各回自己的地方去。”

8 於是眾民裡拿著食物和號角;所有其他的以色列人,基甸都打發他們各回自己的帳棚去,只留。當時米甸就在他們下面的平原裡。

9 當夜,耶和華對基甸:“起來去攻,因為我已經把他們交在你裡了。

10 如果你害怕一人去,可以帶著你的童僕普拉一同營地那裡去;

11 你要他們甚麼,然你的就必堅強起來,有膽量去攻了。”於是基甸帶著他的童僕普拉一同去,到中駐軍的邊緣。

12 那時米甸人、亞瑪力人和所有的東方人,都散布在平原上,好像蝗蟲那麼多;他們的駱駝無數,好像邊的沙那麼多。

13 基甸到了,就聽見一個正在把他的夢告訴他的同伴:“我作了一個夢,夢見一個大麥餅滾入米甸中,到了帳幕,把帳幕撞倒,帳幕就翻朝上了。”

14 他的同伴回答:“這不是別的,這是以色列人約阿施的兒子基甸的刀;已經把米甸和全交在他中了。”

15 基甸見了這夢的敘述和夢的講解,就敬拜神;然後返回以色列中,:“起來,因為耶和華已經把米甸的軍隊交在你們裡了。”

16 於是他把分作隊,把角空瓶交在各裡,又把火把放在瓶裡。

17 然後對他們:“你們要著我,也要照樣行事。注意!我到了的邊緣,我怎樣行事,你們也要怎樣行事。

18 我和所有與我在一起的人吹角的時候,你們也要在全的四周吹角,喊叫:‘為耶和華!為基甸!’”

19 基甸用計策驚潰敵基甸所有與他在一起的一,在半夜三更的起初,換更的時候,到了的邊緣,就吹起角,打破中的瓦瓶。

20 隊的人就都吹角,打破瓦瓶,左緊握著火把,右緊握著角不住地吹,並且喊說:“耶和華基甸的刀!”

21 他們在的四周各站在自己的位置;全都亂跑,他們一面叫,一面逃跑

22 吹那枝角的時候,耶和華使全用刀互相擊殺,然後他們向著西利拉逃到伯.哈示他,直到靠近他巴的亞伯.米何拉河邊。

23 米甸人大敗以色列人就從拿弗他利、亞設和瑪拿西全地被召來,追趕米甸人

24 基甸派遣了使者走遍以法蓮地,說:“你們要來迎戰米甸人,在他們前面把守約旦河的渡口,直到伯.巴拉。”於是以法蓮都被召來,把守約旦河的渡口,直到伯.巴拉。

25 他們捉住了米甸人的兩個首領: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裡;然後追趕米甸人,又把俄立西伊伯的人約旦河對岸,基甸那裡。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 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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