Abagwebi 8

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1 Athi amadoda akwaEfrayim kuye, Yintoni na le nto uyenzileyo kuthi, yokuba ungasibizi, ukuya kulwa kwakho namaMidiyan? Babambana naye kabukhali.

2 Wathi kuwo, Ndenze ntoni na ngoku ngangani? Ukubhikica kwamaEfrayim akukugqithile na ngokulunga ukuvuna iidiliya komAbhihezere?

3 UThixo ubanikele esandleni senu abathetheli bakwaMidiyan, uOrebhe noZebhe; yintoni na endinokuyenza ngangani? Yaza ingqumbo yawo ngakuye yadamba ekulithetheni kwakhe elolizwi.

4 Akufika uGidiyon eYordan, ewela enamadoda amakhulu mathathu, etyhafile, esasukela noko,

5 wathi kumadoda aseSukoti, Khanibaphe abantu aba bandilandelayo iintendana zezonka, ngokuba batyhafile; ndisukela uZebha noTsalimuna, ookumkani bamaMidiyan.

6 Bathi abathetheli baseSukoti, Isandla sikaZebha noTsalimuna sesisesandleni sakho yini na, ukuba siwunike umkhosi wakho isonka?

7 Wathi uGidiyon, Xa kunjalo, akubanikela uYehova ooZebha noTsalimuna esandleni sam, ndoyibhalula inyama yenu ngemithana enameva yasentlango, nangamakhakakhaka.

8 Wenyuka khona, waya ePenuweli, wathetha kubo kwangokunjalo. Bamphendula abantu basePenuweli njengoko bamphendula ngako abantu baseSukoti.

9 Watsho nakubantu basePenuweli, ukuthi, Ekubuyeni kwam ngoxolo ndoyidiliza le nqaba inde.

10 Ke kaloku uZebha noTsalimuna bebeseKarkore, benemikhosi yabo, ngathi ngamawaka alishumi elinamahlanu ewonke amadoda, abesele kwimikhosi yonke yabasempumalanga. Kwakuwe amadoda alikhulu elinamanci mabini amawaka, arhola ikrele.

11 Wenyuka uGidiyon ngendlela yabahlala ezintenteni, ngasempumalanga kweNobha neYogebheha, wayibulala impi; impi leyo ibingaxhalele nto.

12 Basaba ooZebha noTsalimuna; wabasukela, wababamba ookumkani bobabini bamaMidiyan, ooZebha noTsalimuna; wayothusa yonke impi.

13 Wabuya uGidiyon unyana kaYowashe emfazweni, evela eqhineni leHeheres,

14 wabamba indodana yabantu baseSukoti, wayibuza; yambalela abathetheli baseSukoti, namadoda amakhulu akhona, amadoda amashumi asixhenxe anesixhenxe.

15 Weza ebantwini baseSukoti, wathi, Naba ooZebha noTsalimuna, enibe nindingcikiva ngabo, nisithi, Isandla sikaZebha noTsalimuna sesisesandleni sakho yini na, ukuba siwanike isonka amadoda akho atyhafileyo?

16 Wawathabatha amadoda amakhulu aloo mzi, nemithana enameva yasentlango namakhakakhaka, wawaqondisa ngayo amadoda aseSukoti.

17 Wayidiliza nenqaba ende yasePenuweli, wababulala abantu baloo mzi.

18 Wathi kuZebha noTsalimuna, Ebenjani na amadoda enawabulalayo eTabhore? Bathi, Abenjengawe, elowo enesithomo sonyana wokumkani.

19 Wathi, Babengabazalwana bam abo, oonyana bakama. Ehleli nje uYehova, ukuba benibasindisile, ngendinganibulali.

20 Wathi kuYetere owamazibulo kuye, Suk’ ume, ubabulale. Ke indodana leyo ayilirholanga ikrele layo; ngokuba ibisoyika, kuba ibisengumfana.

21 Bathi ooZebha noTsalimuna, Suk’ ume wena, usithi qwele; njengoko injalo indoda, bunjalo nobugorha bayo. Wesuka ke uGidiyon, wababulala ooZebha noTsalimuna, wazithabatha iintsimbi ezisezintanyeni zeenkamela zabo.

22 Athi amaSirayeli kuGidiyon, Silawule wena, kwanonyana wakho, nonyana wonyana wakho; ngokuba usisindisile esandleni samaMidiyan.

23 Wathi uGidiyon kuwo, Andiyi kunilawula mna; akayi kunilawula nonyana wam; nguYehova oya kunilawula nina.

24 Wathi uGidiyon kuwo, Ndiya kucela ngcelo-nye kuni; ndinikeni elowo ijikazi lexhoba lakhe. (Ngokuba ebenamajikazi egolide, kuba ebengamaIshmayeli.)

25 Athi, Sokunika ngemvume. Azandlala iingubo, aphosa khona elowo ijikazi lexhoba lakhe.

26 Ubunzima bamajikazi egolide awawacelayo baba liwaka elinamakhulu asixhenxe eeshekele zegolide, ngaphandle kwezaa ntsimbi namacici neengubo ezimfusa ezibe zikookumkani bamaMidiyan, nangaphandle kwezidanga ezibe zisezintanyeni zeenkamela zabo.

27 UGidiyon wenza ngazo iefodi, wayibeka emzini wakhe eOfra; athi onke amaSirayeli ahenyuza ngokuyilandela khona; yangumgibe kuGidiyon nakwindlu yakhe.

28 Athotywa amaMidiyan phambi koonyana bakaSirayeli, akaphinda aziphakamise iintloko zawo. Lazola ke ilizwe iminyaka emashumi mane ngemihla kaGidiyon.

29 Waya uYerubhahali, unyana kaYowashe, wahlala endlwini yakhe.

30 UGidiyon ebenoonyana abangamashumi asixhenxe abaphumayo esinqeni sakhe, ngokuba ebenabafazi abaninzi.

31 Neshweshwe lakhe, elibe likwaShekem, lamzalela unyana nalo; awamthiya igama lokuba nguAbhimeleki.

32 Wafa uGidiyon unyana kaYowashe, eyingwevu enkulu, wangcwatyelwa engcwabeni likaYowashe uyise, eOfra yama-Abhihezere.

33 Kwathi, akufa uGidiyon, babuya oonyana bakaSirayeli bahenyuza ngokulandela uBhahali; bazimisela uBhahali-bheriti, waba nguthixo wabo.

34 Oonyana bakaSirayeli abamkhumbulanga uYehova uThixo wabo, owabahlangulayo esandleni seentshaba zabo zonke ngeenxa zonke;

35 abayenzela nceba indlu kaYerubhahali, kaGidiyon, ngokokulunga konke awawenzelayo amaSirayeli.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Abagwebi 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).

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