Judges 6

Study

           

1 And the sons of Israel do the evil thing in the eyes of Jehovah, and Jehovah giveth them into the hand of Midian seven years,

2 and the hand of Midian is strong against Israel, from the presence of Midian have the sons of Israel made for themselves the flowings which [are] in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds.

3 And it hath been, if Israel hath sowed, that Midian hath come up, and Amalek, and the sons of the east, yea, they have come up against him,

4 and encamp against them, and destroy the increase of the land till thine entering Gaza; and they leave no sustenance in Israel, either sheep, or ox, or ass;

5 for they and their cattle come up, with their tents; they come in as the fulness of the locust for multitude, and of them and of their cattle there is no number, and they come into the land to destroy it.

6 And Israel is very weak from the presence of Midian, and the sons of Israel cry unto Jehovah.

7 And it cometh to pass when the sons of Israel have cried unto Jehovah, concerning Midian,

8 that Jehovah sendeth a man, a prophet, unto the sons of Israel, and he saith to them, `Thus said Jehovah, God of Israel, I -- I have brought you up out of Egypt, and I bring you out from a house of servants,

9 and I deliver you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all your oppressors, and I cast them out from your presence, and I give to you their land,

10 and I say to you, I [am] Jehovah your God, ye do not fear the gods of the Amorite in whose land ye are dwelling: -- and ye have not hearkened to My voice.'

11 And the messenger of Jehovah cometh and sitteth under the oak which [is] in Ophrah, which [is] to Joash the Abi-Ezrite, and Gideon his son is beating out wheat in the wine-press, to remove [it] from the presence of the Midianites;

12 and the messenger of Jehovah appeareth unto him, and saith unto him, `Jehovah [is] with thee, O mighty one of valour.'

13 And Gideon saith unto him, `O, my lord -- and Jehovah is with us! -- and why hath all this found us? and where [are] all His wonders which our fathers recounted to us, saying, Hath not Jehovah brought us up out of Egypt? and now Jehovah hath left us, and doth give us into the hand of Midian.'

14 And Jehovah turneth unto him and saith, `Go in this -- thy power; and thou hast saved Israel out of the hand of Midian -- have not I sent thee.'

15 And he saith unto him, `O, my lord, wherewith do I save Israel? lo, my chief [is] weak in Manasseh, and I the least in the house of my father.'

16 And Jehovah saith unto him, `Because I am with thee -- thou hast smitten the Midianites as one man.'

17 And he saith unto Him, `If, I pray Thee, I have found grace in Thine eyes, then Thou hast done for me a sign that Thou art speaking with me.

18 Move not, I pray Thee, from this, till my coming in unto Thee, and I have brought out my present, and put it before Thee;' and he saith, `I -- I do abide till thy return.'

19 And Gideon hath gone in, and prepareth a kid of the goats, and of an ephah of flour unleavened things; the flesh he hath put in a basket, and the broth he hath put in a pot, and he bringeth out unto Him, unto the place of the oak, and bringeth [it] nigh.

20 And the messenger of God saith unto him, `Take the flesh and the unleavened things, and place on this rock -- and the broth pour out;' and he doth so.

21 And the messenger of Jehovah putteth forth the end of the staff which [is] in His hand, and cometh against the flesh, and against the unleavened things, and the fire goeth up out of the rock and consumeth the flesh and the unleavened things -- and the messenger of Jehovah hath gone from his eyes.

22 And Gideon seeth that He [is] a messenger of Jehovah, and Gideon saith, `Alas, Lord Jehovah! because that I have seen a messenger of Jehovah face to face!'

23 And Jehovah saith to him, `Peace to thee; fear not; thou dost not die.'

24 And Gideon buildeth there an altar to Jehovah, and calleth it Jehovah-Shalom, unto this day it [is] yet in Ophrah of the Abi-Ezrites.

25 And it cometh to pass, on that night, that Jehovah saith to him, `Take the young ox which [is] to thy father, and the second bullock of seven years, and thou hast thrown down the altar of Baal which [is] to thy father, and the shrine which [is] by it thou dost cut down,

26 and thou hast built an altar to Jehovah thy God on the top of this stronghold, by the arrangement, and hast taken the second bullock, and caused to ascend a burnt-offering with the wood of the shrine which thou cuttest down.'

27 And Gideon taketh ten men of his servants, and doth as Jehovah hath spoken unto him, and it cometh to pass, because he hath been afraid of the house of his father, and the men of the city, to do [it] by day, that he doth [it] by night.

28 And the men of the city rise early in the morning, and lo, broken down hath been the altar of Baal, and the shrine which is by it hath been cut down, and the second bullock hath been offered on the altar which is built.

29 And they say one to another, `Who hath done this thing?' and they inquire and seek, and they say, `Gideon son of Joash hath done this thing.'

30 And the men of the city say unto Joash, `Bring out thy son, and he dieth, because he hath broken down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the shrine which [is] by it.'

31 And Joash saith to all who have stood against him, `Ye, do ye plead for Baal? ye -- do ye save him? he who pleadeth for him is put to death during the morning; if he [is] a god he himself doth plead against him, because he hath broken down his altar.'

32 And he calleth him, on that day, Jerubbaal, saying, `The Baal doth plead against him, because he hath broken down his altar.'

33 And all Midian and Amalek and the sons of the east have been gathered together, and pass over, and encamp in the valley of Jezreel,

34 and the Spirit of Jehovah hath clothed Gideon, and he bloweth with a trumpet, and Abi-Ezer is called after him;

35 and messengers he hath sent into all Manasseh, and it also is called after him; and messengers he hath sent into Asher, and into Zebulun, and into Naphtali, and they come up to meet them.

36 And Gideon saith unto God, `If Thou art Saviour of Israel by my hand, as Thou hast spoken,

37 lo, I am placing the fleece of wool in the threshing-floor: if dew is on the fleece alone, and on all the earth drought -- then I have known that Thou dost save Israel by my hand, as Thou hast spoken;'

38 and it is so, and he riseth early on the morrow, and presseth the fleece, and wringeth dew out of the fleece -- the fulness of the bowl, of water.

39 And Gideon saith unto God, `Let not Thine anger burn against me, and I speak only this time; let me try, I pray Thee, only this time with the fleece -- let there be, I pray Thee, drought on the fleece alone, and on all the earth let there be dew.'

40 And God doth so on that night, and there is drought on the fleece alone, and on all the earth there hath been dew.

  

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.

    Studovat vnitřní smysl

Přeložit: