Giudici 8

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Riveduta Bibbia (1927)         

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1 Gli uomini di Efraim dissero a Gedeone: "Che azione e questa che tu ci hai fatto, non chiamandoci quando sei andato a combattere contro Madian?" Ed ebbero con lui una disputa violenta.

2 Ed egli rispose loro: "Che ho fatto io al paragon di voi? la racimolatura d’Efraim non vale essa più della vendemmia d’Abiezer?

3 Iddio v’ha dato nelle mani i principi di Madian, Oreb e Zeeb! che dunque ho potuto far io al paragon di voi?" Quand’egli ebbe lor detto quella parola, la loro ira contro di lui si calmò.

4 E Gedeone arrivò al Giordano, e lo passò con i trecento uomini ch’erano con lui; i quali, benché stanchi, continuavano a inseguire il nemico.

5 E disse a quelli di Succoth: "Date, vi prego, dei pani alla gente che mi segue, perché è stanca, ed io sto inseguendo Zebah e Tsalmunna, re di Madian".

6 Ma i capi di Succoth risposero: "Tieni tu forse già nelle tue mani i polsi di Zebah e di Tsalmunna, che abbiamo a dar del pane al tuo esercito?"

7 E Gedeone disse: "Ebbene! quando l’Eterno mi avrà dato nelle mani Zebah e Tsalmunna, io vi lacererò le carni con delle spine del deserto e con de’ triboli".

8 Di là salì a Penuel, e parlò a quei di Penuel nello stesso modo; ed essi gli risposero come avean fatto quei di Succoth.

9 Ed egli disse anche a quei di Penuel: "Quando tornerò in pace, abbatterò questa torre".

10 Or Zebah e Tsalmunna erano a Karkor col loro esercito di circa quindicimila uomini, ch’era tutto quel che rimaneva dell’intero esercito dei figli dell’oriente, poiché centoventimila uomini che portavano spada erano stati uccisi.

11 Gedeone salì per la via di quelli che abitano sotto tende a oriente di Nobah e di Iogbeha, e sconfisse l’esercito, che si credeva sicuro.

12 E Zebah e Tsalmunna si diedero alla fuga; ma egli li inseguì, prese i due re di Madian, Zebah e Tsalmunna, e sbaragliò tutto l’esercito.

13 Poi Gedeone, figliuolo di Joas, tornò dalla battaglia, per la salita di Heres.

14 Mise le mani sopra un giovane della gente di Succoth, e lo interrogò; ed ei gli diè per iscritto i nomi dei capi e degli anziani di Succoth, ch’erano settantasette uomini.

15 Poi venne alla gente di Succoth, e disse: "Ecco Zebah e Tsalmunna, a proposito de’ quali m’insultaste dicendo: Hai tu forse già nelle mani i polsi di Zebah e di Tsalmunna, che noi abbiamo da dar del pane alla tua gente stanca?"

16 E prese gli anziani della città, e con delle spine del deserto e con de’ triboli castigò gli uomini di Succoth.

17 E abbatté la torre di Penuel e uccise la gente della città.

18 Poi disse a Zebah e a Tsalmunna: "Com’erano gli uomini che avete uccisi al Tabor?" Quelli risposero: "Eran come te; ognun d’essi avea l’aspetto d’un figlio di re".

19 Ed egli riprese: "Eran miei fratelli, figliuoli di mia madre; com’è vero che l’Eterno vive, se aveste risparmiato loro la vita, io non vi ucciderei!"

20 Poi disse a Iether, suo primogenito: "Lèvati, uccidili!" Ma il giovane non tirò la spada, perché avea paura, essendo ancora un giovinetto.

21 E Zebah e Tsalmunna dissero: "Lèvati tu stesso e dacci il colpo mortale; poiché qual è l’uomo tal è la sua forza". E Gedeone si levò e uccise Zebah e Tsalmunna, e prese le mezzelune che i loro cammelli portavano al collo.

22 Allora gli uomini d’Israele dissero a Gedeone: "Regna su noi tu e il tuo figliuolo e il figliuolo del tuo figliuolo, giacché ci hai salvati dalla mano di Madian".

23 Ma Gedeone rispose loro: "Io non regnerò su voi, né il mio figliuolo regnerà su voi; l’Eterno è quegli che regnerà su voi!"

24 Poi Gedeone disse loro: "Una cosa voglio chiedervi: che ciascun di voi mi dia gli anelli del suo bottino". (I nemici aveano degli anelli d’oro perché erano Ismaeliti).

25 Quelli risposero: "Li daremo volentieri". E stesero un mantello, sul quale ciascuno gettò gli anelli del suo bottino.

26 Il peso degli anelli d’oro ch’egli avea chiesto fu di mille settecento sicli d’oro, oltre le mezzelune, i pendenti e le vesti di porpora che i re di Madian aveano addosso, e oltre i collari che i loro cammelli aveano al collo.

27 E Gedeone ne fece un efod, che pose in Ofra, sua città; tutto Israele v’andò a prostituirsi, ed esso diventò un insidia per Gedeone e per la sua casa.

28 Così Madian fu umiliato davanti ai figliuoli d’Israele, e non alzò più il capo; e il paese ebbe requie per quarant’anni, durante la vita di Gedeone.

29 Ierubbaal figliuolo di Joas, tornò a dimorare a casa sua.

30 Or Gedeone ebbe settanta figliuoli, che gli nacquero dalle molte mogli che ebbe.

31 E la sua concubina, che stava a Sichem, gli partorì anch’ella un figliuolo, al quale pose nome Abimelec.

32 Poi Gedeone, figliuolo di Joas, morì in buona vecchiaia, e fu sepolto nella tomba di Joas suo padre, a Ofra degli Abiezeriti.

33 Dopo che Gedeone fu morto, i figliuoli d’Israele ricominciarono a prostituirsi agl’idoli di Baal, e presero Baal-Berith come loro dio.

34 I figliuoli d’Israele non si ricordarono dell’Eterno, del loro Dio, che li avea liberati dalle mani di tutti i loro nemici d’ogn’intorno;

35 e non dimostrarono alcuna gratitudine alla casa di Ierubbaal, ossia di Gedeone, per tutto il bene ch’egli avea fatto a Israele.

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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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 Gideon, the Lord Shall Reign Over You
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