Judges 8

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1 And the men of Ephraim said to him, What is this thing thou hast done to us, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with Midian? And they disputed with him sharply.

2 And he said to them, What have I done now in comparison with you? Are not the gleanings of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abi-ezer?

3 Into your hands hath God delivered the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and what was I able to do in comparison with you? Then their spirit was appeased toward him, when he said that word.

4 And Gideon came to the Jordan, [and] passed over, he and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing.

5 And he said to the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread to the people that follow me, for they are faint; and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.

6 And the chief men of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in thy hand, that we should give bread to thine army?

7 And Gideon said, Therefore when Jehovah delivers Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will thresh your flesh with thorns of the wilderness and with briars.

8 And he went up thence to Penuel, and spoke to them in like manner. And the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered.

9 And he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their camp with them, about fifteen thousand [men], all that were left of the whole camp of the children of the east; for there had fallen a hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword.

11 And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwell in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the camp; for the camp was at its ease.

12 And Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued after them, and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the camp.

13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle, from the ascent of Heres.

14 And he caught a youth of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him; and he wrote down for him the chief men of Succoth, and the elders thereof, seventy-seven men.

15 And he came to the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in thy hand, that we should give bread to thy men that are weary?

16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briars, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.

17 And he broke down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.

18 Then said he to Zebah and Zalmunna, What sort of men were they that ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the sons of a king.

19 And he said, They were my brethren, the sons of my mother. [As] Jehovah liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.

20 And he said to Jether his firstborn, Arise, slay them! But the youth drew not his sword; for he feared, because he was yet a youth.

21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall on us; for as is the man, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna; and he took the moons that were on their camels' necks.

22 And the men of Israel said to Gideon, Rule over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also; for thou hast saved us from the hand of Midian.

23 And Gideon said to them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: Jehovah will rule over you.

24 And Gideon said to them, I would desire a request of you: give me every man the earrings of his booty; for they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.

25 And they said, We will willingly give [them]. And they spread a garment, and cast therein every man the earrings of his booty.

26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand seven hundred [shekels] of gold; besides the moons, and eardrops, and the purple garments that were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels' necks.

27 And Gideon made an ephod of them, and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel went thither a whoring after it; and it became a snare to Gideon, and to his house.

28 And Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, and they lifted up their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

29 And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his house.

30 Now Gideon had seventy sons who had come out of his loins, for he had many wives.

31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bore him a son, and he gave him the name of Abimelech.

32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

33 And it came to pass when Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after the Baals, and set up Baal-Berith as their god.

34 And the children of Israel remembered not Jehovah their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side.

35 And they shewed no kindness to the house of Jerubbaal-Gideon, according to all the good that he had done to Israel.

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Exploring the Meaning of Judges 8      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 8: Gideon subdues the Midianites.

In this chapter, Gideon continued to dismantle Midian’s oppression over Israel, facing opposition from some of his fellow Israelites in the process. First, the men of Ephraim complained that he did not call them to war. Gideon replied by praising them for their vineyards, and for capturing the two Midianite princes. So, Ephraim’s indignation subsided.

Then Gideon went to the city of Succoth, and asked for bread to feed his army. But the men of Succoth refused, instead taunting him because he had not yet captured the kings of Midian. Gideon told them them he would punish them with thorns and briars, after he had killed the two kings. The people of Penuel were equally dismissive when Gideon asked them for help, and he swore to tear down their tower.

In due course, Gideon captured the two Midianite kings, Zebah and Zalmunna. Gideon told his oldest son to kill them, but he was young, and too afraid to do it. So Gideon killed the two kings, and punished the people of Succoth and Penuel.

When he returned from battle, the people of Israel asked Gideon to rule over them. However, he refused, saying that the Lord would rule Israel. He then collected gold from people’s earrings, used it to make an ephod (a priest’s garment), and set it up in his own city, Ophrah. The people began to worship it, and it became a snare for Gideon.

And Israel had peace for forty years under Gideon. Gideon had seventy sons, and died at an old age. As soon as he passed away, the Israelites forgot all the goodness that the Lord had shown them, and turned to worship other gods.

*****

The message of Gideon’s exchange with the Ephraimites is that sincerity and openness are the most powerful response to confrontation. Gideon, led by his trust in the Lord, could see the reason for Ephraim’s outburst, so he dealt with it by praising their strengths. This encounter shows how our faith in the Lord gives us a broader perspective, granting us the ability to respond rather than react (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 8159[3]).

When Gideon lashes out at the people of Succoth and Penuel, it may appear that he is acting purely from anger, and a wish to retaliate. In reality, he is filled with zeal to drive out the Midianites and free Israel. It is unthinkable to him that his own people would refuse to give his soldiers food. In our own lives, we can at times be astounded by our own resistance to serving the Lord’s purpose. We are constantly torn between two forces: heaven and hell (Arcana Caelestia 3839[3]).

The killing of the two Midianite kings reflects the need for justice in spiritual matters. If we fail to heed the truths we know and believe, we will suffer the consequences of fear and guilt. These are not inflicted by the Lord, but follow on from our own choices (Arcana Caelestia 2447). Gideon’s son’s inability to kill the kings means that behind spiritual justice, there must be an understanding of the essential value of all life (Arcana Caelestia 5826[2]).

Gideon’s ephod is a symbol showing how easily we can deviate from obeying the Lord. The text does not tell us the reason for Gideon’s actions, but perhaps he felt it was better for the people to worship something superficially related to worshiping the Lord, rather than following a foreign god. Seeing a priest’s garment reminds us that a priest serves the Lord. But we can so easily focus on the majesty of the ephod itself, and think no more about the priest’s duty nor about the Lord. We sometimes drift further from the Lord without even realizing it (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 327).

Swedenborg

Výklad(y) nebo odkazy ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 3021, 3242, 3246, 3263, 8301

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Genesis 25:8, 12, 32:32, 33:17

Exodus 32:4, 8, 34:16

Numbers 26:30, 32:35, 42, 35:19

Deuteronomy 7:25

Joshua 10:26

Judges 2:2, 3, 17, 19, 3:7, 11, 4:6, 12, 5:23, 6:11, 24, 7:12, 13, 24, 25, 8:27, 32, 9:1, 2, 4, 16, 46, 10:6, 12:1, 17:5

1 Samuel 7:13, 8:5, 12:12, 25:11, 30:8, 10, 16

2 Samuel 19:42

2 Chronicles 24:17, 18, 22

Psalms 83:12, 106:21, 35

Proverbs 15:1

Isaiah 3:18, 9:3

Jeremiah 2:32

Ezekiel 7:20

Hosea 2:15, 3:4, 13:1

1 Thessalonians 5:3

Významy biblických slov

men
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

ephraim
Ephraim was the second son born to Joseph in Egypt and was, along with his older brother Manasseh, elevated by Jacob to the same status...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

midian
'Midian' signifies people who are in falsity.

hands
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

God
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

princes
Captains and Rulers (Jer. 51:23) signifies principal evils and falsities. Captains and Rulers (Ezek 33:6) signifies principal truths. See Chief Captains.

word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

jordan
The land of Jordan,' as in Psalm 42:6, signifies what is lowly, consequently, what is distant from the celestial, as the external parts of a...

passed
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

Three hundred
'Three hundred' signifies fullness, because the number comes from three and a hundred multiplied. Both 'three' and 'a hundred' signifies fullness. The significance of products...

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

hundred
It's a landmark for a young child to count to 100; it sort of covers all the "ordinary" numbers. One hundred is obviously significant for...

pursuing
'To pursue,' as in Genesis 14:16, signifies a state of purification, because 'to pursue enemies' is the expulsion of evils and falsities which were with...

Succoth
'Succoth,' as in Genesis 33:17, and Psalms 60:6-7 and 108:7-8, signifies the quality of the holy state of truth from good, because 'Succoth' signifies tents,...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

bread
Just as natural food feeds the natural body, so spiritual food feeds the spiritual body. And since our spiritual body is the expression of what...

follow
The basic meaning of "follow" in the Bible is pretty obvious if we consider what it means to "follow the Lord." That obviously doesn't mean...

after
Behind, or after, (Gen. 16:13), signifies within or above, or an interior or superior principle.

kings
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

chief
In the Bible, “captains,” “commanders” and “chiefs”, and the armies they lead, represent large collections of spiritual desires and large collections of spiritual ideas. The...

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

army
A host and an army come from the same Hebrew word and mean the same thing in Bible; when the Children of Israel were numbered...

jehovah
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

thresh
'To thresh,' as in Micah 4:13, signifies dissipating evils among people of the church.

flesh
Flesh has several meanings just in its most obvious form. It can mean all living creatures as when the Lord talks about the flood "destroying...

wilderness
'The wilderness of Sin,' as in Exodus 16, signifies the good from truth in a state of temptation.

penuel
'Peniel' signifies a state of temptation. 'Jacob called the name of the place Peniel,' in Genesis 32, in the internal historical sense, signifies a state...

spoke
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

answered
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

tower
'Towers,' as in Psalms 48:12, signify the interior truths which defend the aspects of love and charity. In the opposite sense, they denote the interiors...

camp
Camps in the Bible represent spiritual order – a person’s (or a church community’s) whole collection of desires for good and true ideas on how...

fifteen
Fifteen, as in Genesis 7:20, signifies so few as to be scarce anything.

thousand
As children, most of us at some point frustrated our mothers into using the phrase “if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

fallen
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twenty
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sword
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way
'To set a way,' as in Genesis 30:36, signifies being separated.

Tents
'Tent' is used in the Word to signify the celestial and holy aspects of love, because in ancient time they performed holy worship in their...

smote
'To smite' signifies condemnation. 'To smite,' as in Genesis 14:15, signifies vindication. 'To smite,' as in Genesis 32:8, signifies destruction. 'To smite the earth with...

fled
To flee signifies to escape, and be rescued. To flee signifies to be overcome.

pursued
'To pursue,' as in Genesis 14:16, signifies a state of purification, because 'to pursue enemies' is the expulsion of evils and falsities which were with...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

son
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

returned
There are many instances in the Bible which describe people turning back, looking back or going back. In most cases it is a negative, sometimes...

battle
War in the Word represents the combat of temptation when what is good is assaulted by what is evil or false. The evil that attacks...

caught
"Catching" is used in a variety of ways in the Bible, both positive and negative. Thieves get caught; the Egyptians caught up with the Children...

youth
"Youths" or "Young men" generally represent intelligence or the understanding of truth. This is fitting, since adolescent boys tend to be more advanced intellectually than...

wrote
In John 8:2-11, the Lord wrote twice on the ground, when the woman taken in adultery was brought to him, which signifies the condemnation of...

elders
Elders are mentioned in the Bible mainly in two ways: First the elders of Israel: and second the 24 elders seated about the throne of...

seven
The number 'seven' was considered holy, as is well known, because of the six days of creation, and the seventh, which is the celestial self,...

weary
On the surface, it appears that Swedenborg gives two different representations for “weariness.” In discussing Genesis - where Esau and later Jacob are described as...

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

slew
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one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

brethren
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

saved
To be saved or rescued means getting true ideas that we can hold to even in the face of a storm of false thinking. Sometimes...

slay
'To slay a man to his wounding,' means extinguishing faith, and 'to slay a young man to his hurt,' signifies extinguishing charity, as in Genesis...

firstborn
When the Bible talks about generations or birth order, the internal meaning has to do with the progression of spiritual states and their relative importance....

arise
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

feared
The fearful signify people who have no faith.

rise
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

man
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

camels
A camel (Matt. 22:24) signifies scientific knowledge. Camels are confirming scientifics, and cattle are the knowledges of good and truth (Jer. 49:32.)

necks
'The neck' signifies influx and the communication of interior and exterior levels and the following conjunction. The inmost or third heaven has reference to the...

israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

son's
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

booty
'Spoil of gold, and silver, and cattle' signifies falsified truths.

golden
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

Ishmaelites
'Ishmaelites' represent people who are in simple good of life, and thence in natural truth regarding doctrine.

gold
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

purple
'Purple' corresponds to divine celestial good. 'Purple' signifies genuine good.

garments
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

the kings of
The kings of Media and Persia' represent people who are in faith separate from charity.

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

lifted
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

heads
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

land
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

forty
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

days
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

dwelt
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

many
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

wives
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has six different common words which are generally translated as "wife," which largely overlap but have different nuances. Swedenborg...

concubine
'Sons of concubines' signify the spiritual degree.

Shechem
In Genesis 12:6, 'Abram’s passing through the land unto the place Shechem' signifies a new state of the Lord when the celestial aspects of love...

bore
In a general sense, being "born" in the Bible represents one spiritual state producing another, usually some form of love or affection producing or "giving...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

Abimelech
Abimelech, his companion Ahusath, and Phicol, the chief captain of his army (Genesis 26:26), represent the doctrinals of faith as grounded in the literal sense...

died
'The soul going forth' and 'dying,' as in Genesis 35:18, signifies the extreme of temptation, which is when the old self dies and the new...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

buried
'Being buried' or 'put into monuments' signifies resurrection and continuation of life.

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

dead
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

turned
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

baals
Baalim and her lovers (Hosea 2:13) signify those things which belong to the natural man, and are loved; such as the lusts and falsities thence...

baal
Baalim and her lovers (Hosea 2:13) signify those things which belong to the natural man, and are loved; such as the lusts and falsities thence...

remembered
'To remember,' as in Genesis 41:9, signifies conjunction. 'Remembering' denotes conjunction because the remembrance of anyone in the other life joins them together, because as...

enemies
An enemy in the Bible refers to people who are in the love of evil and the false thinking that springs from evil. On a...

side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

kindness
In regular language, "mercy" means being caring and compassionate toward those who are in poor states. That's a position we are all in relative to...

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