Judges 6

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1 καὶ ἐποίησαν οἱ υἱοὶ ισραηλ τὸ πονηρὸν ἐνώπιον κυρίου καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοὺς κύριος ἐν χειρὶ μαδιαμ ἑπτὰ ἔτη

2 καὶ ἴσχυσεν χεὶρ μαδιαμ ἐπὶ ισραηλ καὶ ἐποίησαν ἑαυτοῖς οἱ υἱοὶ ισραηλ ἀπὸ προσώπου μαδιαμ τὰς τρυμαλιὰς τὰς ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν καὶ τὰ σπήλαια καὶ τὰ κρεμαστά

3 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐὰν ἔσπειραν οἱ υἱοὶ ισραηλ καὶ ἀνέβαιναν μαδιαμ καὶ αμαληκ καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ ἀνατολῶν συνανέβαινον αὐτοῖς

4 καὶ παρενέβαλον εἰς αὐτοὺς καὶ κατέφθειραν τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτῶν ἕως ἐλθεῖν εἰς γάζαν καὶ οὐ κατέλιπον ὑπόστασιν ζωῆς ἐν τῇ γῇ ισραηλ οὐδὲ ἐν τοῖς ποιμνίοις ταῦρον καὶ ὄνον

5 ὅτι αὐτοὶ καὶ αἱ κτήσεις αὐτῶν ἀνέβαινον καὶ αἱ σκηναὶ αὐτῶν παρεγίνοντο καθὼς ἀκρὶς εἰς πλῆθος καὶ αὐτοῖς καὶ τοῖς καμήλοις αὐτῶν οὐκ ἦν ἀριθμός καὶ ἤρχοντο εἰς τὴν γῆν ισραηλ καὶ διέφθειρον αὐτήν

6 καὶ ἐπτώχευσεν ισραηλ σφόδρα ἀπὸ προσώπου μαδιαμ καὶ ἐβόησαν οἱ υἱοὶ ισραηλ πρὸς κύριον

7 ἀπὸ προσώπου μαδιαμ

8 καὶ ἐξαπέστειλεν κύριος ἄνδρα προφήτην πρὸς τοὺς υἱοὺς ισραηλ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς τάδε λέγει κύριος ὁ θεὸς ισραηλ ἐγώ εἰμι ὃς ἀνήγαγον ὑμᾶς ἐκ γῆς αἰγύπτου καὶ ἐξήγαγον ὑμᾶς ἐξ οἴκου δουλείας ὑμῶν

9 καὶ ἐρρυσάμην ὑμᾶς ἐκ χειρὸς αἰγύπτου καὶ ἐκ χειρὸς πάντων τῶν θλιβόντων ὑμᾶς καὶ ἐξέβαλον αὐτοὺς ἐκ προσώπου ὑμῶν καὶ ἔδωκα ὑμῖν τὴν γῆν αὐτῶν

10 καὶ εἶπα ὑμῖν ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν οὐ φοβηθήσεσθε τοὺς θεοὺς τοῦ αμορραίου ἐν οἷς ὑμεῖς καθήσεσθε ἐν τῇ γῇ αὐτῶν καὶ οὐκ εἰσηκούσατε τῆς φωνῆς μου

11 καὶ ἦλθεν ἄγγελος κυρίου καὶ ἐκάθισεν ὑπὸ τὴν τερέμινθον τὴν ἐν εφραθα τὴν ιωας πατρὸς τοῦ εσδρι καὶ γεδεων υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ῥαβδίζων σῖτον ἐν ληνῷ εἰς ἐκφυγεῖν ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ μαδιαμ

12 καὶ ὤφθη αὐτῷ ὁ ἄγγελος κυρίου καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν κύριος μετὰ σοῦ ἰσχυρὸς τῶν δυνάμεων

13 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτὸν γεδεων ἐν ἐμοί κύριέ μου καὶ εἰ ἔστιν κύριος μεθ' ἡμῶν εἰς τί εὗρεν ἡμᾶς τὰ κακὰ ταῦτα καὶ ποῦ ἐστιν πάντα τὰ θαυμάσια αὐτοῦ ἃ διηγήσαντο ἡμῖν οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν λέγοντες μὴ οὐχὶ ἐξ αἰγύπτου ἀνήγαγεν ἡμᾶς κύριος καὶ νῦν ἐξέρριψεν ἡμᾶς καὶ ἔδωκεν ἡμᾶς ἐν χειρὶ μαδιαμ

14 καὶ ἐπέστρεψεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ ἄγγελος κυρίου καὶ εἶπεν πορεύου ἐν ἰσχύι σου ταύτῃ καὶ σώσεις τὸν ισραηλ ἐκ χειρὸς μαδιαμ ἰδοὺ ἐξαπέστειλά σε

15 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτὸν γεδεων ἐν ἐμοί κύριέ μου ἐν τίνι σώσω τὸν ισραηλ ἰδοὺ ἡ χιλιάς μου ἠσθένησεν ἐν μανασση καὶ ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ μικρότερος ἐν οἴκῳ πατρός μου

16 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ ἄγγελος κυρίου κύριος ἔσται μετὰ σοῦ καὶ πατάξεις τὴν μαδιαμ ὡσεὶ ἄνδρα ἕνα

17 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτὸν γεδεων εἰ δὲ εὗρον ἔλεος ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς σου καὶ ποιήσεις μοι σήμερον πᾶν ὅ τι ἐλάλησας μετ' ἐμοῦ

18 μὴ χωρισθῇς ἐντεῦθεν ἕως τοῦ ἐλθεῖν με πρὸς σέ καὶ ἐξοίσω τὴν θυσίαν καὶ θήσω ἐνώπιόν σου καὶ εἶπεν ἐγώ εἰμι καθίομαι ἕως τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι σε

19 καὶ γεδεων εἰσῆλθεν καὶ ἐποίησεν ἔριφον αἰγῶν καὶ οιφι ἀλεύρου ἄζυμα καὶ τὰ κρέα ἔθηκεν ἐν τῷ κοφίνῳ καὶ τὸν ζωμὸν ἔβαλεν ἐν τῇ χύτρᾳ καὶ ἐξήνεγκεν αὐτὰ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τὴν τερέμινθον καὶ προσήγγισεν

20 καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ ἄγγελος τοῦ θεοῦ λαβὲ τὰ κρέα καὶ τὰ ἄζυμα καὶ θὲς πρὸς τὴν πέτραν ἐκείνην καὶ τὸν ζωμὸν ἐχόμενα ἔκχεε καὶ ἐποίησεν οὕτως

21 καὶ ἐξέτεινεν ὁ ἄγγελος κυρίου τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου τῆς ἐν χειρὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἥψατο τῶν κρεῶν καὶ τῶν ἀζύμων καὶ ἀνέβη πῦρ ἐκ τῆς πέτρας καὶ κατέφαγεν τὰ κρέα καὶ τοὺς ἀζύμους καὶ ὁ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐπορεύθη ἀπὸ ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτοῦ

22 καὶ εἶδεν γεδεων ὅτι ἄγγελος κυρίου οὗτός ἐστιν καὶ εἶπεν γεδεων ἆ ἆ κύριέ μου κύριε ὅτι εἶδον ἄγγελον κυρίου πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον

23 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ κύριος εἰρήνη σοι μὴ φοβοῦ οὐ μὴ ἀποθάνῃς

24 καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν ἐκεῖ γεδεων θυσιαστήριον τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ ἐπεκάλεσεν αὐτῷ εἰρήνη κυρίου ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ταύτης ἔτι αὐτοῦ ὄντος ἐν εφραθα πατρὸς τοῦ εσδρι

25 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ἐκείνῃ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ κύριος λαβὲ τὸν μόσχον τὸν ταῦρον ὅς ἐστιν τῷ πατρί σου καὶ μόσχον δεύτερον ἑπταετῆ καὶ καθελεῖς τὸ θυσιαστήριον τοῦ βααλ ὅ ἐστιν τῷ πατρί σου καὶ τὸ ἄλσος τὸ ἐπ' αὐτὸ ὀλεθρεύσεις

26 καὶ οἰκοδομήσεις θυσιαστήριον κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ σου ἐπὶ κορυφὴν τοῦ μαουεκ τούτου ἐν τῇ παρατάξει καὶ λήμψῃ τὸν μόσχον τὸν δεύτερον καὶ ἀνοίσεις ὁλοκαύτωμα ἐν τοῖς ξύλοις τοῦ ἄλσους οὗ ἐξολεθρεύσεις

27 καὶ ἔλαβεν γεδεων δέκα ἄνδρας ἀπὸ τῶν δούλων ἑαυτοῦ καὶ ἐποίησεν ὃν τρόπον ἐλάλησεν πρὸς αὐτὸν κύριος καὶ ἐγενήθη ὡς ἐφοβήθη τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς ἄνδρας τῆς πόλεως τοῦ ποιῆσαι ἡμέρας καὶ ἐποίησεν νυκτός

28 καὶ ὤρθρισαν οἱ ἄνδρες τῆς πόλεως τὸ πρωί καὶ ἰδοὺ καθῄρητο τὸ θυσιαστήριον τοῦ βααλ καὶ τὸ ἄλσος τὸ ἐπ' αὐτῷ ὠλέθρευτο καὶ εἶδαν τὸν μόσχον τὸν δεύτερον ὃν ἀνήνεγκεν ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ ᾠκοδομημένον

29 καὶ εἶπεν ἀνὴρ πρὸς τὸν πλησίον αὐτοῦ τίς ἐποίησεν τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦτο καὶ ἐπεζήτησαν καὶ ἠρεύνησαν καὶ ἔγνωσαν ὅτι γεδεων υἱὸς ιωας ἐποίησεν τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦτο

30 καὶ εἶπον οἱ ἄνδρες τῆς πόλεως πρὸς ιωας ἐξένεγκε τὸν υἱόν σου καὶ ἀποθανέτω ὅτι καθεῖλεν τὸ θυσιαστήριον τοῦ βααλ καὶ ὅτι ὠλέθρευσεν τὸ ἄλσος τὸ ἐπ' αὐτῷ

31 καὶ εἶπεν ιωας τοῖς ἀνδράσιν πᾶσιν οἳ ἐπανέστησαν αὐτῷ μὴ ὑμεῖς νῦν δικάζεσθε ὑπὲρ τοῦ βααλ ἢ ὑμεῖς σώσετε αὐτόν ὃς ἐὰν δικάσηται αὐτῷ θανατωθήτω ἕως πρωί εἰ θεός ἐστιν δικαζέσθω αὐτῷ ὅτι καθεῖλεν τὸ θυσιαστήριον αὐτοῦ

32 καὶ ἐκάλεσεν αὐτὸ ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ιαρβααλ λέγων δικασάσθω ἐν αὐτῷ ὁ βααλ ὅτι καθῃρέθη τὸ θυσιαστήριον αὐτοῦ

33 καὶ πᾶσα μαδιαμ καὶ αμαληκ καὶ υἱοὶ ἀνατολῶν συνήχθησαν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ παρενέβαλον ἐν κοιλάδι εζερεελ

34 καὶ πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐνεδυνάμωσεν τὸν γεδεων καὶ ἐσάλπισεν ἐν κερατίνῃ καὶ ἐφοβήθη αβιεζερ ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ

35 καὶ ἀγγέλους ἀπέστειλεν εἰς πάντα μανασση καὶ ἐν ασηρ καὶ ἐν ζαβουλων καὶ νεφθαλι καὶ ἀνέβη εἰς συνάντησιν αὐτῶν

36 καὶ εἶπεν γεδεων πρὸς τὸν θεόν εἰ σὺ σῴζεις ἐν χειρί μου τὸν ισραηλ καθὼς ἐλάλησας

37 ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ τίθημι τὸν πόκον τοῦ ἐρίου ἐν τῇ ἅλωνι ἐὰν δρόσος γένηται ἐπὶ τὸν πόκον μόνον καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ξηρασία γνώσομαι ὅτι σώσεις ἐν χειρί μου τὸν ισραηλ καθὼς ἐλάλησας

38 καὶ ἐγένετο οὕτως καὶ ὤρθρισεν τῇ ἐπαύριον καὶ ἐξεπίασεν τὸν πόκον καὶ ἔσταξεν δρόσος ἀπὸ τοῦ πόκου πλήρης λεκάνη ὕδατος

39 καὶ εἶπεν γεδεων πρὸς τὸν θεόν μὴ δὴ ὀργισθήτω ὁ θυμός σου ἐν ἐμοί καὶ λαλήσω ἔτι ἅπαξ πειράσω δὲ καί γε ἔτι ἅπαξ ἐν τῷ πόκῳ καὶ γενέσθω ἡ ξηρασία ἐπὶ τὸν πόκον μόνον καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν γενηθήτω δρόσος

40 καὶ ἐποίησεν οὕτως ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ἐκείνῃ καὶ ἐγένετο ξηρασία ἐπὶ τὸν πόκον μόνον καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἐγενήθη δρόσος

  

Exploring the Meaning of Judges 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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