士師記 7

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1 耶路巴力就是基甸,他和一切跟隨的人起來,在哈律泉旁安米甸在他們邊的平原,靠近摩利岡。

2 耶和華對基甸:跟隨你的人過多,我不能將米甸人交在他們中,免得以色列人向我誇大,:是我們自己的了我們。

3 現在你要向這些人宣告說:凡懼怕膽怯的,可以離開基列回去。於是有人回去,只剩下一萬。

4 耶和華對基甸:人還是過多;你要帶他們旁,我好在那裡為你試試他們。我指點誰:這人可以同你去,他就可以同你去;我指點誰:這人不可同你去,他就不可同你去。

5 基甸就帶他們旁。耶和華對基甸:凡用舌頭,像舔的,要使他單站在一處;凡跪的,也要使他單站在一處。

6 於是用捧著舔的有,其餘的都跪下

7 耶和華對基甸:我要用這舔水的你們,將米甸人交在你中;其餘的都可以各歸各處去。

8 就帶著食物和角;其餘的以色列人,基甸都打發他們各歸各的帳棚,只留米甸在他邊的平原裡。

9 當那夜,耶和華吩咐基甸起來到米甸裡去,因我已將他們交在你中。

10 倘若你怕去,就帶你的僕人普拉到那裡去。

11 你必見他們所的,然你就有膽量去攻。於是基甸帶著僕人普拉旁。

12 米甸人、亞瑪力人,和一切東方人都布散在平原,如同蝗蟲那樣多。他們的駱駝無數,多如邊的沙。

13 基甸到了,就聽見一將夢告訴同伴:我做了一夢,夢見一個大麥餅滾入米甸中,到了帳幕,將帳幕撞倒,帳幕就翻傾覆了。

14 同伴:這不是別的,乃是以色列人約阿施的兒子基甸的刀;已將米甸和全軍都交在他的中。

15 基甸見這夢和夢的講解,就敬拜神,回到以色列中,起來罷!耶和華已將米甸的軍隊交在你們中了。

16 於是基甸將分作隊,把角空瓶交在各裡(瓶內都藏著火把),

17 吩咐他們:你們要我行事:我到了的旁邊怎樣行,你們也要怎樣行。

18 我和一切跟隨我的人吹角的時候,你們也要在的四圍吹角,喊叫耶和華和基甸的刀!

19 基甸跟隨他的一,在三更之初才換更的時候,旁,就吹角,打破中的瓶。

20 隊的人就都吹角,打破瓶子,左拿著火把,右拿著角,喊說:耶和華基甸的刀!

21 他們在的四圍各站各的地方;全都亂竄。三百,使他們逃跑

22 就吹角,耶和華使全用刀互相擊殺,逃到西利拉的伯哈示他,直逃到靠近他巴的亞伯米何拉。

23 以色列人就從拿弗他利、亞設,和瑪拿西全地聚集來追趕米甸人

24 基甸打發走遍以法蓮地,說:你們來攻擊米甸人,爭先把守約但河的渡口,直到伯巴拉。於是以法蓮的眾聚集,把守約但河的渡口,直到伯巴拉,

25 捉住了米甸人的兩個首領:一名俄立,一名西伊伯;將俄立在俄立磐石上,將西伊伯在西伊伯酒醡那裡;又追趕米甸人,將俄立西伊伯的首級過約但河,到基甸那裡。

  

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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