Judges 8

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1 And the men of Ephraim said to him, Why hast thou treated us thus, that thou calledst us not when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? and they chid with him sharply.

2 And he said to them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?

3 God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then, when he had said that, their anger towards him abated.

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

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 Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.

6 And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thy hand, that we should give bread to thy army?

7 And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

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

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 hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east: for there fell a hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword.

11 And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure.

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

13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun had risen,

14 And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described to him the princes of Succoth, and its elders, even seventy seven men.

15 And he came to the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye upbraided me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now 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 briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.

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

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

19 And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.

20 And he said to Jether his first-born, Arise, and 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 upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered 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: the LORD shall rule over you.

24 And Gideon said to them, I would desire a request of you, that you would give me every man the ear-rings of his prey. (For they had golden ear-rings, because they were Ishmaelites.)

25 And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and cast into it every man the ear-rings of his prey.

26 And the weight of the golden ear-rings that he requested, was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; besides ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels' necks.

27 And Gideon made of it an ephod, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither astray after it: which thing became a snare to Gideon, and to his house.

28 Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they raised their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

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

30 And Gideon had seventy sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.

31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.

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

33 And it came to pass as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went astray after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god.

34 And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side:

35 Neither showed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shown 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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Skočit na podobné biblické verše

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

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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

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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,...

midianites
'Midian' signifies people who are in falsity.

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...

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...

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

midian
'Midian' signifies people who are in falsity.

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 river Jordan separates the land of Canaan from the lands to the east. This separation represents the division of the human mind into an internal...

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
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...

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...

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
To go after or to follow, as in Genesis 24:8, signifies to be separated from the natural, and conjoined to the rational 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...

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...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

lord
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...

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
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

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...

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....

fell
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

twenty
'Twenty,' when referring to a quantity, signifies everything, or fullness, because it is ten twice. In Genesis 18:31, 'twenty', like all numbers occurring in the...

sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

Tents
'Ohalim' or 'tabernacles' signify the holy part of what is good.

smote
'The smitten' signify people who are oppressed by the falsities of ignorance.

fled
Flight, as in Matthew 14:20, signifies removal from a state of the good of love and innocence. Flight, as in Mark 8:18, signifies the last...

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
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

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...

risen
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...

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...

young
"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...

man of the
'The man of the right hand,' as in Psalm 80:17, signifies the Lord with respect to the Word. He is called 'the man of the...

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...

elders
Ancients of the people, and the princes thereof ('Isaiah 3:14'), have a similar signification with the twelve disciples.

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...

First-born
First-born, in a supreme sense, represents the Lord as to divine celestial love, and also those respectively who were of the celestial church. First-born: Inasmuch...

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...

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...

feared
Fear of the unknown and fear of change are both common ideas, and together cover a broad spectrum of the fears we tend to have...

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...

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
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

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...

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...

ornaments
Jewels' when applied to the ears, signify good in act.

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

raiment
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.

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

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...

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....

country
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...

quietness
When something is described as quiet, still or calm in the Bible, it represents the state of peace that comes with being aligned with the...

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
Inhabitants,' in Isaiah 26:9, signify the men of the church who are in good of doctrine, and thence in the good of life.

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

begotten
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....

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

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.

Sepulcher
In the internal sense of the Word, 'a sepulcher' signifies life or heaven, and in the opposite sense, death or hell. It signifies life or...

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...

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...

Baalim
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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