Various scholars have noted the centrality of the Gideon narrative for the book of Judges. Scholars have also noted that the Gideon narrative is chiastically arranged. While I agree with this synopsis, I disagree with the exact deliniation or focal point of the chiastic arrangement.
From my research I have found that most scholars place 6:33-7:18 as the center of the chiastism and label it as Gideon's failure to believe. Personally, I find that the central focus of the destruction of the Baal idol.
A Midian’s oppression [6:1-10]
B Gideon’s weakness [6:11-18]
C Faith boosted: Sign from Angel of the Lord [6:19-24]
D Baal idol Destroyed/ Baal's weakness [6:25-35]
C Faith's boosted: Sign of the Fleece [6:36-40]
B Gideon’s weakness (army) [7:1-8]
A Midian's defeat [7:9-25]
The main emphasis of the passage then shifts from focusing on the weakness of Gideon to the weakness of Baal and false religions. The message becomes "False gods are completely impotent. They cannot defend themselves, let alone sustain their followers."
Israel was impoverished because its gods were impoverished. In tearing down the idol the Lord mock's Baal (and perhaps Israel too). He calls them to faith by reminding them that the Lord alone is strength and power.
Yet the strength of the Lord is revealed, not just in the iconoclasm, but also in the fact that the Spirit cloths Gideon. It is a sign that God's messiah has complete power. Though Baal cannot keep himself clothed (i.e. his idol is torn down), God cloths Gideon with power.
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