士师记 6

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1 以色列人又行耶和华眼中看为恶的事,耶和华就把他们交在米甸人年。

2 米甸人压制以色列人以色列人因为米甸人,就在中挖穴、挖洞、建造营寨。

3 以色列人每逢撒种之後,米甸人、亚玛力人,和东方人都上来攻打他们,

4 对着他们安营,毁坏土产,直到迦萨,没有给以色列人留下食物,牛、羊、也没有留下;

5 因为那些人着牲畜帐棚,像蝗虫那样多,人和骆驼无数,都进入国内,毁坏全地。

6 以色列人米甸人的缘故,极其穷乏,就呼求耶和华

7 以色列人米甸人的缘故,呼求耶和华

8 耶和华就差遣先知以色列人那里,对他们耶和华以色列的如此:我曾领你们从埃及上来,出了为奴之家,

9 救你们脱离埃及人,并脱离一切欺压你们之人的,把他们从你们面前赶出,将他们的地赐你们;

10 又对你们:我是耶和华─你们的。你们在亚摩利人的地,不可敬畏他们的。你们竟不从我的话。

11 耶和华的使者到了俄弗拉,在亚比以谢族人约阿施的橡树。约阿施的儿子基甸正在酒?那里打麦子,为要防备米甸人

12 耶和华的使者向基甸显现,对他:大能的勇士啊,耶和华与你同在!

13 基甸啊,耶和华若与我们同在,我们何至遭遇这一切事呢?我们的列祖不是向我们耶和华我们埃及上来麽?他那样奇妙的作为在哪里呢?现在他却丢弃我们,将我们交在米甸人手里。

14 耶和华观看基甸,:你靠着你这能力去从米甸人手里拯以色列人,不是我差遣你去的麽?

15 基甸:主啊,我有何能拯以色列人呢?我家在玛拿西支派中是至贫穷的。我在我父家是至微小的。

16 耶和华对他:我与你同在,你就必击打米甸人,如击打样。

17 基甸:我若在你眼前蒙恩,求你给我一个证据,使我知道与我话的就是主。

18 求你不要离开这里,等我归回将礼物带来供在你面前。主:我必等你回来

19 基甸去预备了一只山羊羔,用一伊法细面做了无酵饼,将放在筐内,把汤盛在壶中,橡树,献在使者面前。

20 的使者吩咐基甸:将无酵饼放在这磐石上,把汤倒出来。他就这样行了。

21 耶和华的使者伸出内的杖,杖头挨了无酵饼,就有从磐石中出来,烧尽了无酵饼。耶和华的使者也就不见了。

22 基甸见他是耶和华的使者,就:哀哉!耶和华啊,我不好了,因为我觌面耶和华的使者。

23 耶和华对他:你放心,不要惧怕,你必不至

24 於是基甸在那里为耶和华筑了一座,起名耶和华沙龙(就是耶和华赐平安的意思)。(这在亚比以谢族的俄弗拉直到如今。)

25 当那夜,耶和华吩咐基甸:你取你父亲的牛来,就是(或译:和)那岁的第二只牛,并拆毁你父亲为巴力所筑的,砍下旁的木偶,

26 在这磐石(原文是保障)上整整齐齐地为耶和华─你的筑一座,将第二只牛献为燔祭,用你所砍下的偶作柴。

27 基甸就从他仆人中挑了个人,照着耶和华吩咐他的行了。他因怕父家和本城的人,不敢在白昼行这事,就在夜间行了。

28 城里的人清起来,见巴力的拆毁,旁的木偶砍下,第二只牛献在新筑的上,

29 就彼此:这事是谁做的呢?他们访查之後,就:这是约阿施的儿子基甸做的。

30 城里的人对约阿施:将你儿子交出来,好治他;因为他拆毁了巴力的,砍下旁的木偶。

31 约阿施回答站着攻击他的众人:你们是为巴力争论麽?你们要他麽?谁为他争论,趁将谁治!巴力若果是,有人拆毁他的,让他为自己争论罢!

32 所以当日人称基甸为耶路巴力,意思:他拆毁巴力的,让巴力与他争论。

33 那时,米甸人、亚玛力人,和东方人都聚集过河,在耶斯列平原安营。

34 耶和华的灵降在基甸身上,他就吹角;亚比以谢族都聚集跟随他。

35 他打发人走遍玛拿西地,玛拿西人也聚集跟随他;又打发人去见亚设人、西布伦人、拿弗他利人,他们也都出来与他们会合。

36 基甸对:你若果照着所的话,藉我以色列人

37 我就把一团羊毛放在禾场上:若单是羊毛上有水,别的地方都是乾的,我就知道你必照着所的话,藉我以色列人

38 次日晨基甸起来,见果然是这样;将羊毛挤一挤,从羊毛中拧出满盆的来。

39 基甸又:求你不要向我发怒,我再这一次:让我将羊毛再试一次。但愿羊毛是乾的,别的地方都有水。

40 这夜也如此行:独羊毛上是乾的,别的地方都有水。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 6      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 6: The Midianites oppress Israel; the call of Gideon.

Chapters 6-8 of Judges tell the story of Gideon, who led the people of Israel against the Midianites. The Lord allowed the Midianites to oppress the children of Israel for seven years, because they had disobeyed His commandments once again. Israel fled to the mountain caves, and Midian starved the Israelites by destroying their crops and taking their livestock. When Israel cried out to the Lord for help, a prophet delivered the Lord’s message that He had always been with them, but they had kept disobeying.

Then the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, who was threshing wheat in the winepress to hide this from the Midianites. The angel brought news that he would lead the fight against the Midianites. Gideon was stunned, and replied that his family was the least important in the tribe of Manasseh, and that he was the least in his family. Even so, the Lord assured him would be victorious, because the Lord was with him.

Gideon asked for a sign to be given him, and then went to prepare an offering of food. When he came back, the angel told him to place the meat and unleavened bread upon a rock. When the angel touched it with his staff, fire came up from the rock and burned up the food. The angel then departed.

The Lord told Gideon to break down his father’s altars to Baal, and to build an altar to the Lord on top of it, which he did by night. In the morning, the men of the city discovered what Gideon had done, and demanded that he be killed. But Gideon’s father, Joash, replied that Baal himself would take action, if he were really a god.

The Midianites and their allies gathered for battle, and Gideon called on his tribe of Manasseh, as well as Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, to prepare to fight. Before the battle took place though, Gideon asked for another sign from God. He put a woolen fleece on the threshing floor, and if God would use him to save Israel, the fleece would have dew on it, while the ground around it would be dry. And so it was the next morning. Once again, Gideon asked for a sign, this time with dew on the ground, but not on the fleece. And again, this came to pass.

*****

The spiritual meaning of the Midianites is understanding spiritual truths, but leading a life of sensory pleasure anyway, rather than one built on genuine goodness (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 7602). This is portrayed by the Midianites destroying all the crops which could be made into food, or spiritually, into what is good.

Threshing wheat and pressing wine are very similar processes; threshing wheat frees grain from the beaten husk, and pressing wine squeezes juice from a crushed grape. Both of these activities represent our spiritual determination to do what is good – the wheat for bread – because of the truth we have come to understand – the wine. Gideon’s name, meaning “to break apart”, and this passage are meant to show us that his strongest quality was determination to do good (Divine Providence 227[2]).

Gideon’s claim to be the least important of all demonstrates the place of genuine humility in our spiritual life. Acknowledging that the Lord brings about all good things is a sign of strength, not weakness (see Swedenborg’s work, Heaven and Hell 408).

The spiritual meaning of asking God for a sign – which Gideon did several times – is to confirm the validity of what we intend or understand. Paying attention to our internal state will show us the quality of our inner thoughts if we dare to listen, but ultimately, confirmation comes from the Word (see Swedenborg’s work, True Christian Religion 508[5]). The fire from the rock, which burned the meat, represents the power of love and truth to consume and sustain us.

The fascinating double sign involving the fleece has several layers of spiritual meaning: the threshing floor stands for the ground of our daily life and activity; the fleece, with its warmth and softness, stands for the principle of goodness; and the dew (water) stands for divine influx of truth into us from the Lord. These build the framework of the spiritual meaning. The dewy fleece on the dry ground means that we need to have the Lord’s truth in our mind, so we know how to lead a good life. Then, this needs to be reversed so that we feel the desire to do good, and then apply this in daily life (Arcana Caelestia 3579).

This sign is closely related to the spiritual meaning of the Midianites, the enemy to be overthrown. Simply knowing the Lord’s truths does not guarantee a good life; we must put these truths into practice.

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