Last week we went over Jerubbaal’s first stance against the Amalekites and the repercussions from his own people who wanted to end this godly revolution. This week, we’ll dive into the last few verses of Chapter 6 of Judges and see what happened after Gideon received his new name Jerubbaal. Pick up with me in Judges 6:33….
“Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them. Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.” And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.” (NASB Judges 6:33-40)
Right away, there’s evil afoot and trouble brewing in the Hebrew lands. The bad guys are closing in and making their presence known in verse 33, so in response to this oncoming onslaught the Holy Spirit comes upon Jerubbaal in order to counter this imminent threat by rallying up the troops, so to speak. First the Abiezrites come (v34), then Jerubbaal sends out messengers to Manasseh (v35), and lastly to Asher (v35), Zebulun (v35), and Naphtali (v35).
Since Joash and Jerubbaal were Abiezrites, the Abiezrites spoken of in this text are most likely the family of Jerubbaal because all Abiezrites were descendants of Abiezer (See: Judges 6:11). The lands of Manasseh were the northern tip of Israel, while Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali were neighbouring tribes of Israel in the North Western region right near the Mediterranean Sea. The Amalekites were south of the Hebrew nation near Egypt, whereas the Midianites were southeast of Israel, but were apart of the land that is modern day Saudi Arabia. With all of this geographical context established, let’s get to the deeper thematic elements in this brief passage of Scripture.
So Gideon now has a massive army reporting for duty because he sent out messengers to gather all of the neighboring tribes to defend their homeland of Israel. In a way, this is sort of symbolic of when tragedy strikes our own lives and we cry out to God for aid, so God sends everything that we need to us. It reminds me of John 15:7 (NASB) where Jesus says “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” How because we rely on the LORD, we are taken care of since we understand our place in His grand plan to redeem the fallen. We can’t live life without the constant help of God. He’s literally our life support. Without God, there is no you or me. Nothing would exist. There would be nothing without God. “Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble” (NKJV Proverbs 3:34). And that is what is happening here. God is giving grace to the humble-hearted Hebrews by aiding them in their time of desperate need.
Another thing of note now that we’re at the end of chapter 6 (freakin’ finally) is that the whole Trinity is present within the chapter. Allow me to explain. In the beginning, we are introduced to God the Father authoritatively addressing Israel (v8-10), then God the Son otherwise known as the angel of the LORD (v11-24), and lastly God the Spirit (v34). It’s just another evidence as to why God has to be Trinitarian, rather than Unitarian like Allah of Islam. I write more on this subject in my blog-post “Explained: The Lovely Trinity Argument” which you may find on this website. Just a cool observation I found as I was studying this passage.
Back to the text, Gideon then does the unthinkable: asks God to prove Himself, again. As if Gideon needed anymore evidence or proof that God was going to help. Let’s briefly recap what exactly God has graciously done to aid Gideon just in Chapter 6 of Judges: He sent a prophet to communicate with them (v8), spared Israel from utter annihilation (v9-10), gives Gideon a sign that He is indeed God (v21-22), and filled Gideon with His Holy Spirit to bring together an army to stand against the Amalekites and the Midianites (v33). It’s like, bruh, what else do you need to know God is with you and is on your side? Get it together Gideon. Alas, Gideon asks God to give Him another sign which involves a fleece, but this sign is not meant to prove that this indeed was God who He was speaking. Rather, it was to see if God would deliver the Amalekites and Midianites into the hands of Israel. To ensure victory you could say.
Specifically in verses 36-37, Gideon asks not just for any sign, but a very distinct way of God answering with a sign that Gideon proposes. Gideon asks that if God will bring victory to the Israelites, then let the fleece he lays out on the threshing floor over night be covered in dew, while the rest of the floor is dry. The threshing floor is an outside area where certain types of grains like barley or wheat were threshed with a flail over a smooth stone surface. For those who may not know, dew is when tiny drops of water appear on a surface from condensing atmospheric vapor. This happens a lot when you go outside early in the morning and see little water droplets on your front lawn. That’s exactly what Gideon is talking about in this passage. If this dew is on both the fleece and the rest of the threshing floor, then Gideon knows that God will allow the Amalekites and the Midianites to win against the Israelites.
Once he wakes up in the morning, Gideon finds that low and behold, it happened exactly as he said it would, if God was to bring victory to the Israelites. In fact, the fleece was so wet with dew that Gideon filled a whole bowl with water (v38)! How crazy is that? It’s always the simple, little miracles that amaze me. Little things like this that could only be done by God. Pretty cool. But then Gideon asks God once again for the same sign, but reversed. That the fleece would be completely dry and the rest of the threshing floor would be covered in dew. Likewise, God does exactly as Gideon proposed and only further confirms in Gideon’s mind that the LORD is with him.
I find it interesting that Gideon asks for so many signs from God to reveal Himself, yet I relate to that because I do the exact same thing. Probably the strangest part about it is that God will sometimes allow something to happen exactly as I propose it to, if it’s God’s will and it happens that way exactly. It’s odd and ironic because a lot of the time I doubt that God will answer those types of requests, yet He does. If only we all would be more trusting in God when these signs do come because they are few and far between when God reveals His will in such a way. Powerful stuff when the Creator interacts with Creation. With that, we have finished Chapter 6! Wahoo! Yet in retrospect, Gideon’s A-story is only just beginning and we will find out next week as we start Chapter 7 how his story continues to unfold. Until next time, Godspeed and Jesus bless!