Judges, Chapter 8

- ל א ו -

Gideon Chastises the People of Succoth and Penuel

Gideon continues to chase the Midianites so that he may defeat them. He crosses the Jordan River. As his men grow exhausted, Gideon asks for bread at the nearby village of Succoth. However, the residents of Succoth are reluctant to help them in their campaign against the Midianites. Gideon vows that he will avenge this evil. When he turns to the people of Penuel, he receives a similar answer. Gideon threatens to avenge their lack of generosity, as well. After killing Zebah and Zalmunna, Gideon destroys both cities that denied him and his soldiers food. 

When Gideon arrives in his hometown, Ophrah, the Israelites ask him to become their king. Gideon declines this proposal, telling the people that only God can rule over them and that the time has not yet come for a king. He then establishes a center for worshiping the one God. However, after Gideon’s death, it becomes a temple for worshiping Baal. The Israelites once again forget the graces shown to them by God and go back to worshiping idols. Gideon does not pursue honor, nor does he wish to leverage any personal gain from his military success. Despite the people’s desire to make him king, Gideon prefers to return to his previous occupation and dedicate his life to spiritual work.

“And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?” (Judges 8:6)

“Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers” (Judges 8:7) 

“that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim… And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side… Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon” (Judges 8:33-35)

Our most beautiful traits are surely noticed by others; modesty means not needing to show them off.