Rechters 8

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1 Toen zeiden de mannen van Efraim tot hem: Wat stuk is dit, dat gij ons gedaan hebt, dat gij ons niet riept, toen gij heentoogt om te strijden tegen de Midianieten? En zij twistten sterk met hem.

2 Hij daarentegen zeide tot hen: Wat heb ik nu gedaan, gelijk gijlieden; zijn niet de nalezingen van Efraim beter dan de wijnoogst van Abi-ezer?

3 God heeft de vorsten der Midianieten, Oreb en Zeeb, in uw hand gegeven; wat heb ik dan kunnen doen, gelijk gijlieden? Toen liet hun toorn van hem af, als hij dit woord sprak.

4 Als nu Gideon gekomen was aan de Jordaan, ging hij over, met de driehonderd mannen, die bij hem waren, zijnde moede, nochtans vervolgende.

5 En hij zeide tot de lieden van Sukkoth: Geeft toch enige bollen broods aan het volk, dat mijn voetstappen volgt, want zij zijn moede; en ik jaag Zebah en Tsalmuna, de koningen der Midianieten, achterna.

6 Maar de oversten van Sukkoth zeiden: Is dan de handpalm van Zebah en Tsalmuna alrede in uw hand, dat wij aan uw heir brood zouden geven?

7 Toen zeide Gideon: Daarom, als de HEERE Zebah en Tsalmuna in mijn hand geeft, zo zal ik uw vlees dorsen met doornen der woestijn, en met distelen.

8 En hij toog van daar op naar Pnuel, en sprak tot hen desgelijks. En de lieden van Pnuel antwoordden hem, gelijk als de lieden van Sukkoth geantwoord hadden.

9 Daarom sprak hij ook tot de lieden van Pnuel, zeggende: Als ik met vrede wederkome, zal ik deze toren afwerpen.

10 Zebah nu en Tsalmuna waren te Karkor, en hun legers met hen, omtrent vijftien duizend, al de overgeblevenen van het ganse leger der kinderen van het oosten; en de gevallenen waren honderd en twintig duizend mannen, die het zwaard uittrokken.

11 En Gideon toog opwaarts, den weg dergenen, die in tenten wonen, tegen het oosten van Nobah en Jogbeha; en hij sloeg dat leger, want het leger was zorgeloos.

12 En Zebah en Tsalmuna vloden; doch hij jaagde hen na; en hij ving de beide koningen der Midianieten, Zebah en Tsalmuna, en verschrikte het ganse leger.

13 Toen nu Gideon, de zoon van Joas, van den strijd wederkwam, voor den opgang der zon,

14 Zo ving hij een jongen van de lieden te Sukkoth, en ondervraagde hem; die schreef hem op de oversten van Sukkoth, en hun oudsten, zeven en zeventig mannen.

15 Toen kwam hij tot de lieden van Sukkoth, en zeide: Ziet daar Zebah en Tsalmuna, van dewelke gij mij smadelijk verweten hebt, zeggende: Is de handpalm van Zebah en Tsalmuna alrede in uw hand, dat wij aan uw mannen, die moede zijn, brood zouden geven?

16 En hij nam de oudsten dier stad, en doornen der woestijn, en distelen, en deed het den lieden van Sukkoth door dezelve verstaan.

17 En de toren van Pnuel wierp hij af, en doodde de lieden der stad.

18 Daarna zeide hij tot Zebah en Tsalmuna: Wat waren het voor mannen, die gij te Thabor doodsloegt? En zij zeiden: Gelijk gij, alzo waren zij, enerlei, van gedaante als koningszonen.

19 Toen zeide hij: Het waren mijn broeders, zonen mijner moeder; zo waarlijk als de HEERE leeft, zo gij hen hadt laten leven, ik zou ulieden niet doden!

20 En hij zeide tot Jether, zijn eerstgeborene: Sta op, dood hen; maar de jongeling trok zijn zwaard niet uit, want hij vreesde, dewijl hij nog een jongeling was.

21 Toen zeiden Zebah en Tsalmuna: Sta gij op, en val op ons aan, want naar dat de man is, zo is zijn macht. Zo stond Gideon op, en doodde Zebah en Tsalmuna, en nam de maantjes, die aan de halzen hunner kemelen waren.

22 Toen zeiden de mannen van Israel tot Gideon: Heers over ons, zo gij als uw zoon en uws zoons zoon, dewijl gij ons van der Midianieten hand verlost hebt.

23 Maar Gideon zeide tot hen: Ik zal over u niet heersen; ook zal mijn zoon over u niet heersen; de HEERE zal over u heersen.

24 Voorts zeide Gideon tot hen: Een begeerte zal ik van u begeren: geeft mij maar een iegelijk een voorhoofdsiersel van zijn roof; want zij hadden gouden voorhoofdsierselen gehad, dewijl zij Ismaelieten waren.

25 En zij zeiden: Wij zullen ze gaarne geven; en zij spreidden een kleed uit, en wierpen daarop een iegelijk een voorhoofdsiersel van zijn roof.

26 En het gewicht der gouden voorhoofdsierselen, die hij begeerd had, was duizend en zevenhonderd sikkelen gouds, zonder de maantjes, en ketenen, en purperen klederen, die de koningen der Midianieten aangehad hadden, en zonder de halsbanden, die aan de halzen hunner kemelen geweest waren.

27 En Gideon maakte daarvan een efod, en stelde die in zijn stad, te Ofra; en gans Israel hoereerde aldaar denzelven na; en het werd Gideon en zijn huis tot een valstrik.

28 Alzo werden de Midianieten ten onder gebracht voor het aangezicht der kinderen Israels, en hieven hun hoofd niet meer op. En het land was stil veertig jaren, in de dagen van Gideon.

29 En Jerubbaal, de zoon van Joas, ging henen en woonde in zijn huis.

30 Gideon nu had zeventig zonen, die uit zijn heupe voortgekomen waren; want hij had vele vrouwen.

31 En zijn bijwijf, hetwelk te Sichem was, baarde hem ook een zoon; en hij noemde zijn naam Abimelech.

32 En Gideon, de zoon van Joas, stierf in goeden ouderdom; en hij werd begraven in het graf van zijn vader Joas, te Ofra, des Abi-ezriets.

33 En het geschiedde, als Gideon gestorven was, dat de kinderen Israels zich omkeerden, en de Baals nahoereerden; en zij stelden zich Baal-Berith tot een God.

34 En de kinderen Israels dachten niet aan den HEERE, hun God, Die hen gered had van de hand van al hun vijanden van rondom.

35 En zij deden geen weldadigheid bij het huis van Jerubbaal, dat is Gideon, naar al het goede, dat hij bij Israel gedaan had.

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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:

Hemelse Verborgenheden in Genesis en Exodus 3021, 3242, 3246, 3263, 8301

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Významy biblických slov

mannen
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

efraim
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midianieten
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zeide
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god
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gegeven
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woord
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jordaan
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sukkoth
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geeft
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sprak
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toren
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vijftien
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doden
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sta op
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vreesde
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man
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gouden
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veertig
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baals
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 Gideon, the Lord Shall Reign Over You
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