Dommernes 8

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1 Og Efra'ims menn sa til ham: Hvad har du gjort imot oss! Hvorfor sendte du ikke bud efter oss da du drog i strid mot midianittene? Og de gikk sterkt i rette med ham.

2 Men han sa til dem: Hvad har jeg gjort her som kan lignes med det I har gjort? Er ikke Efra'ims efterhøst bedre enn Abiesers vinhøst?

3 I eders hånd gav Gud midianittenes fyrster, Oreb og Se'eb, og hvad har jeg maktet å gjøre som kan lignes med det I har gjort? Da han talte således, la deres vrede sig, og de lot ham være i fred.

4 Gideon kom til Jordan og gikk over, han og de tre hundre mann som var med ham, trette som de var blitt ved å forfølge fienden.

5 Da sa han til mennene i Sukkot: Kjære, gi de folk som følger mig, nogen brød! De er trette, og jeg holder på å forfølge Sebah og Salmunna, midianittenes konger.

6 Men høvdingene i Sukkot sa: Har du da alt Sebahs og Salmunnas hender i din hånd, så vi skulde gi din hær brød?

7 Da sa Gideon: Nuvel, når Herren gir Sebah og Salmunna i min hånd, da vil jeg treske eders kjøtt med ørkenens torner og med tistler.

8 Og han drog derfra op til Pnuel og talte til dem på samme måte; men mennene i Pnuel svarte ham som mennene i Sukkot hadde svart.

9 Da sa han til dem og: Når jeg kommer vel hjem igjen, vil jeg rive ned dette tårn.

10 Men Sebah og Salmunna lå i Karkor med sine hærer, omkring femten tusen mann; det var alt som var igjen av hele østerlendingenes hær; men de falne var hundre og tyve tusen mann som kunde dra sverd.

11 Og Gideon drog op ad teltboernes vei østenfor Nobah og Jogbea; og han slo hæren mens den var trygg.

12 Sebah og Salmunna flyktet, og han forfulgte dem; og han tok begge midianittenes konger, Sebah og Salmunna, til fange og skremte fra hverandre hele hæren.

13 Og Gideon, Joas' sønn, vendte tilbake fra striden, fra Heres-skaret.

14 Og han fikk fatt på en ung mann som hørte hjemme i Sukkot, og spurte ham ut; og han skrev op for ham høvdingene og de eldste i Sukkot, syv og sytti mann.

15 Og han kom til mennene Sukkot og sa: Se, her er Sebah og Salmunna, for hvis skyld I hånte mig og sa: Har du da alt Sebahs og Salmunnas hender i din hånd, så vi skulde gi dine trette menn brød?

16 Og han grep byens eldste, og han tok ørkenens torner og tistler og tuktet med dem mennene i Sukkot.

17 Og tårnet i Pnuel rev han ned og slo ihjel byens menn.

18 Og han sa til Sebah Og Salmunna: Hvordan så de ut de menn som I slo ihjel på Tabor? Og de sa: De var som du, hver av dem som en kongesønn å se til.

19 Da sa han: Det var mine brødre, min mors sønner; så sant Herren lever, dersom I hadde latt dem leve, skulde jeg ikke slått eder ihjel.

20 Og han sa til Jeter, sin førstefødte sønn: Kom og slå dem ihjel! Men gutten drog ikke sitt sverd; han var redd, fordi han var ennu bare en gutt.

21 Da sa Sebah og Salmunna: Kom selv og hugg oss ned! For som mannen er, så er hans styrke. Så gikk Gideon frem og slo Sebah og Salmunna ihjel, og han tok de halvmåner som deres kameler hadde om halsen.

22 Da sa Israels menn til Gideon: Hersk over oss, både du og din sønn og din sønnesønn! For du har frelst oss av midianittenes hånd.

23 Men Gideon sa til dem: Jeg vil ikke herske over eder, og min sønn skal ikke herske over eder; Herren skal herske over eder.

24 Og Gideon sa til dem: Jeg vil be eder om noget: at I alle vil gi mig de ringer I har tatt til bytte! For midianittene gikk med gullringer; de var ismaelitter.

25 Og de sa: Vi vil gjerne gi dig dem. Og de bredte ut et klæde, og på det kastet hver av dem de ringer han hadde tatt til bytte.

26 Og vekten av de gullringer han hadde bedt om, var et tusen og syv hundre sekel gull foruten de halvmåner og øresmykker og purpurklær som midianittenes konger hadde på sig, og foruten de kjeder som deres kameler hadde om halsen.

27 Og Gideon gjorde en livkjortel av gullet og stilte den op i sin by i Ofra; og hele Israel drev der avgudsdyrkelse med den; og den blev en snare for Gideon og hans hus.

28 Således blev midianittene ydmyket under Israels barn, og de løftet ikke mere sitt hode, og landet hadde ro i firti år, så lenge Gideon levde.

29 Så drog Jerubba'al, Joas' sønn, hjem til sitt hus og blev boende der.

30 Gideon hadde sytti sønner som var kommet av hans lend; for han hadde mange hustruer.

31 Og han hadde en medhustru som bodde i Sikem; med henne fikk han også en sønn og kalte ham Abimelek.

32 Og Gideon, Joas' sønn, døde i høi alder og blev begravet i sin far Joas' grav i Ofra, som tilhørte Abiesers ætt.

33 Men da Gideon var død, begynte Israels barn igjen å drive avgudsdyrkelse med Ba'alene, og de tok sig Ba'al-Berit til gud.

34 Israels barn kom ikke i hu Herren sin Gud, som hadde frelst dem av alle deres fienders hånd rundt omkring,

35 og heller ikke viste de Jerubba'als, Gideons, hus nogen kjærlighet til gjengjeld for alt det gode han hadde gjort mot 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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 Gideon, the Lord Shall Reign Over You
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