Week #35; Wed, 8/29/18: Judges 8:1-13:25

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: Gideon was a busy man. He displays humility to remove envy by the Ephraimites; he effectively used this method to end the strife. He no sooner has victory over the Midianites at the direction of God, he and God are soon forgotten.

JUDGES 8. Gideon rules for forty years
1. The men of Ephraim were envious that Gideon did not call on them to fight against Midian.
2. Gideon wisely pacifies the Ephraimites with humility to prevent conflict.
3. Gideon was called of God; he did not seek honor or dispose of honor.
4. Gideon deferred to God for all honors and this divine conduct was recognized and accepted by the Ephraimites.
5. Gideon took his 300 men and crossed over the Jordan in pursuit of the remaining Midianites.
6. Gideon’s men were totally exhausted and needed sustenance; they turned to Succoth and Penuel seeking food but were denied.
7. Gideon pressed on with his 300 men to fight about 15,000 of the 120,000 remaining men of Midian and their two kings, leading the army to panic.
8. Gideon returned to Succoth and Penuel where he taught them a lesson by severely tormenting the elders of Succoth and killing the men of Penuel and destroying their tower.
9. Gideon killed the kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna thereby sealing the victory over the Midianites.
10. Gideon was called by the men of Israel to “rule over us” but he said “I will not, the Lord will rule over you.”
11. But, Gideon called for all of the spoils from the battle with the Midianites to make an Ephod where all of Israel whored after it there, becoming a snare to him and his family.
12. Nevertheless, the land had rest for 40 years but when Gideon died the people whored after the Baals and did not remember the Lord.

CHAPTER 9: Gideon’s son Abimelech conspires to rule Shechem
1. Abimelech was one of 70 sons of Gideon and was bent on becoming ruler over the people.
2. Although his family was inclined to follow him, he hired ruthless people to kill his brothers.
3. Jotham, the youngest son, fled while the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo and made Abimelech king.
4. Because of the violence done to the 70 sons of Gideon, Abimelech only reigned for 3 years; he died in battle when a woman threw a rock from the tower of Thebez and crushed his head that led to being finished by his armor bearer with the sword.
5. God returned the evil of Abimelech which he committed against his father when he killed his seventy brothers.

CHAPTER 10: More disobedience, oppression and deliverance
1. After Abimelech there arose Tola and Puah, who ruled for 23 and 22 years respectively.
2. Then the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, Sidon, Moab, Ammonites, Philistines; they forsook the Lord and did not serve him.
3. The people of Israel were sold into the hands of the Philistines and Ammonites where they were oppressed for 18 years.
4. When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord in repentance, he said I will save you no more.
5. The people put away the foreign gods and called for a man to fight against the Ammonites and giving him head over them if victorious.

CHAPTER 11: Jephthah delivers Israel
1. Upon confrontation by the Ammonites against Israel, Jephthah was sought out by the elders of Gilead to be their leader for he was a mighty warrior.
2. Even after being rejected by his brothers as the leader of Gilead, the people were in distress and promised to make him their leader if he was successful; Jephthah agreed.
3. Jephthah learned that the Ammonites wanted their land restored because it was taken when the people of Israel came up out of Israel.
4. Jephthah vowed to the Lord that if he was victorious over the Ammonites, he would offer up whatever comes out from the doors of his house to meet him when he returned in peace from the Ammonites, “I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”
5. So, the Lord gave the Ammonites over to the people of Israel.
6. Upon returning to his home, Jephthah’s daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and dance.
7. Jephthah became very low for she was his only child.
8. His daughter only asked for two months to weep with her friends.
9. At the end of two months, Jephthah did with her according to his vow with the Lord.

CHAPTER 12: Ephraimites object being left out of conflict again
1. Shibboleth is a difficult word to pronounce and it was used to test the Ephraimites to see if they were opponents; 42,000 failed the test at the fords of the Jordan.
2. Jephthah judged Israel 6 years, then he died and was buried in Gilead.
3. Later, Iban ruled for 7 years, Elon ruled for 10 years, and Abdon ruled for 8 years.

CHAPTER 13: Birth of Samson
1. But, the people of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so he gave them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years.
2. Manoah’s wife was barren and she was visited by the angel of the Lord who told her she was to have a son that would begin to save Israel from the Philistines; she was to drink no wine or strong drink and eat only clean food.
3. No razor was to come upon his head; he was a Nazirite to God.
4. The angel of the Lord returned later upon the request of Manoah and his wife; he restated what he told Manoah’s wife and he indicated to them to prepare a burnt offering to the Lord.
5. The angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar; they saw him no more.
6. Their son was named Sampson when he was born; the Lord blessed him and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him.

NOTE: After studying 20% of the Bible to this point, it appears that walking through the complete Bible from cover to cover provides a comprehensive understanding of God’s plan that is not readily available from random studies of separate books.

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