A lot of people don’t think that there is grace in the OT. They think that the God of the OT is one of wrath and he is juxtaposed to the God of the NT who is a God of grace. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The whole of the Bible’s story is one of God’s undeserved favor.
A Camp of Midian 
B Lord will save 
C People numbered 
D Lord’s choice – lapping dogs [4-5]
C People numbered 
B Lord will save 
A Camp of Midian 
1. Up until now Gideon has struggled with weakness. Gideon is now made to be weak in order to highlight the Lord’s hand in salvation.
2. God is pleased to use the weak things of the world to shame the wise.
A Victory Promised 
B Victory Confirmed [10-14]
C Victory believed (Victory over Gideon’s lack of faith?) 
B Victory Accomplished [1-23]
A Victory Completed [24-25]
1. The center highlight’s Gideon’s worship. Gideon finally believes. One wonders if the real victory was God’s conquering Gideon’s lack of faith!
In Hebrews 11 the author said that he did not have time to recount the story of Gideon, who through faith conqured kingdoms...obtained promises...was made strong out of weakness, and became mighty in war.
It is amazing that such a great epitath is given to one who Scripture goes out of its way to show his lack of faith.
2. The men getting off their shift would have been walking back into their tents right as the trumpets were blown. The sleeping soldiers would have been roused to see a man standing over them holding a sword or spear. Naturally, he would have grabbed his sword and started slinging.
3. Oreb & Zeeb receive just recompense: Israel was hiding in caves; Gideon was hiding in a winepress. O dies at a cave (rock of O); Z dies by a winepress.
A Introduction: Abimelech slays 70 sons of Jerubbaal on a stone [1-6]
B Jotham’s Prophecy announced [7-22] -- bramble, fire
C Shechem sets ambush for Abimelech; told to Abimelech [23-25]
D Gaal, son of Eved moves to Shechem 
E “Who is Abimelech?” Gaal pledges fight [27-29]
F Gaal’s Plot thwarted by Zebul [30-37]
E “Who is Abimelech?” Gaal engages fight [38-40]
D Gaal, son of Eved, driven away from Schechem 
C Abimelech sets ambush for Shechem, Abimelech was told [42-45]
B Jotham’s prophecy realized [46-55] - brushwood, fire
A Conclusion: Abimelech slain with a stone [56-57]
1. God is not mentioned in this chapter. (Schwab, 121). In his absence there is complete chaos and death. The earth, you might say, becomes “formless and void.”
2. Divine retribution drives the passage:
3. Jotham goes up on Mt. Gerizim to speak to the people. Mt. Gerizim & Ebal were the famous mountains where the blessings and curses were antiphanally spoken and affirmed (Cf. Deut. 11, 27, Josh 8). Gerizim was the mountain of blessing, but here it becomes the mountain of cursing. But the curse is a blessing because removing the evil and oppression is a blessing (just as it was with the other nations to whom they were enslaved).
4. V. 23 – “God sent an evil spirit” – God is in charge of evil. Satan is commissioned by God to wreak havoc and serve God’s purpose of judgment. It is a microcosom of the whole chapter as God uses the evil of Abi & S hechem to bring about His judgments.
5. Abimelech and Baal Berith are both half-lings:
This then is a uniquely Israelite paganism (Jordan). Thus, in chapter 9, Israel is not sold into slavery to another nation. They are sold into slavery to themselves with one of their own (Abimelech) as tyrant over them.
By focusing on the idea of “Halfling” the passage indirectly calls for purity: Purity of faith (no syncretism), relationships (no intermarriage), and devotion (no whims of man should be followed, but only God’s law).
6. The passage’s middle focuses on the overthrow of Gaal.
Gaal’s name means “loathing” or “abomination.” Gaal is also “the son of Eved” (i.e. slave), which likely means he is a Canaanite (remember that the Canaanites were the slaves of Israel). So, despite the evil that Abimelech represents, God continues to accomplish His purposes. He drives out the Canaanites and rids the world of its abominations.
7. Is this story about a judge? Kinda, sorta. Abimelech is not called a judge (he rules, rather than judges), and rightfully so. He is a usurper and is more about death than salvation (an anti-judge, so to speak, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy).
The narrative is chaotic, but there is an underlying order (retribution/justice). It points to the fact that, though the Lord is not mentioned, He is still the true Judge of all (Schawb, 126) who brings down the Usurper of the crown (Satan will soon be crushed under your feet).
Abimelech represents all power hungry, humanistic government. His was a centralizing of power (v.2) with intent to “lord it over.” He is in contrast to Christ, whose Father is the real king and who was given all authority to rule.
8. The whole of the passage reminds us that man’s power is void
A. Israel is enslaved [12-14]
B. Ehud the savior [15-17]
C. Idols [18-19a]
D. Roof chamber [19b-20a]
E. Slaughtering Eglon [20b-22]
D. Roof chamber [23-25]
C. Idols 
B. Ehud the savior [27-28a]
A. Israel is freed [28b-30]
· Ehud: The left handed man from Benjamin (son of my right hand). Left handed people were typically forced to be right handed. Left hand was the “unclean” hand. Ehud is definitely an oddity; a backwards man of sorts, perhaps even despised.
· Moab Ammon: the perverted offspring of Lot (sodomites?), Amelek (defeated foes)
· Eglon: The fat (girly) cow. Baal is often depicted as a calf (golden calves from Aaron & Jeraboam). He is something of a sacrifice. He is a bull that is slaughtered. Even the sword that pierces him is called a flame. Sinners will be cut down and “burned” by God’s wrath. More than that, the gods we worship are defeated and shown to be utterly (pun intended) powerless.
· The text does not present Eglon, king of Moab, as grossly fat orin any way impeded. he terms used typically denote health, strength, and attrac-tiveness and constitute a portrayal of him as a formidable, healthy, robust man.
· Is Eglon a homosexual? (Feminine noun and possibly the reason why he tells everyone to leave.)
· The idols are important. They were set at the edge of the region, as guardians, of sorts. They were to protect the people, but the idols were completely impotent; powerless to save.
· Gilgal- the place where Israel was circumcised in covenant renewal. “The idols at Gigal would have been for Ehud something attuned to seeing a Nazi flag at Arlington national Cemetery.”
· At the center of the chiasm is “God’s word.” The sword is actually a “two mouthed sword” (edge). See Provers 5:3-4, Hebrews 4:12, Rev. 1:16. Ehud brought down the king with the very word of God, reminding us that one day God will speak once and for all and his enemies will cast down. “One little word shall fell them.”
I. The impotence of idolatry:
Israel’s idolatry put them in bondage. It made them week. Eglon’s idols couldn’t protect. The Lord, on the other hand, handed them over. He is in sovereign control at all times.
II. The destruction of idolatry:
Eglon’s idols (cultic, food, sexual perversion, etc) are the causes of his downfall. Judgment comes through and upon each.
III. The foolery of idolatry:
A. God is shown to be supreme. He judges men for their worship.
B. Israel should laugh hard, but the laughing stops when we remember that they were conquered because of their sin and their sins are just as evil. They should have been slaughtered. But another was sacrificed in their place.
C. They only have rest for 80 years. They eventually turn back to their foolish ways.
 http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/pdf/jjju.pdf, p. 60.
 Schwab, Right in their own eyes.
A. Israel Enslaved by God [1-3]
B. Woman of War: Deborah [4-10]
C. Kenite 
D. Sisera & Barak [12-14]
E. The Lord routed Sisera 
D. Sisera & Barak 
C. Kenite 
B. Woman of War: Jael [18-22]
A. Israel Freed by God [23-24]
1. Jabin had already been conquered by Joshua (Jos 11.1f). His name means “intelligent one.” He is crafty and a usurper of the Lord’s territory. As Jabin’s general, Sisera is the right hand of the evil king.
2. By putting it at the center of the chiasm, the passage focuses attention on the Lord’s routing Sisera and His deliverance (not Debbie or Barak’s power).
3. Women play a primary role in this passage. Debbie is a prophetess and judge. Jael is the battle winner. This must be read in light of Gen 2-3 and Isaiah 3:12. The people are “doing what is right in their own eyes.” Men have abdicated their roles as leaders. Women are ruling. Barak is a limp man who must be coaxed into following the Lord (Deborah at least is honorable to call him to fulfill his office). In the end the battle belongs to a woman (v. 9).
This is not God’s plan for leadership. God calls men to stand up for righteousness and take their roles as leaders seriously. He who abdicates is in rebellion against God.
4. The men in the passage are girly. Not just Barak who is in a real sense Deborah’s “help mate,” but also Sisera. There is a bit of humor when in verse 20 he says, “If anyone asks, ‘Is there any man here?’ Say, ‘No.’” It should not be missed that both men are told what to do and where to go.
5. Barak – “lightening bolt.” The Canaanite god Baal was the god of rain; he carried a lightening bolt in his hand.
6. Heber the Kenite separated from Israel and made an alliance with Jabin. He is an apostate. But his wife is faithful to Israel and Israel’s God. She broke the alliance and put herself at risk. But she rather serve the Lord than obey the commandments of men. (You could say that she wore the pants in that family).
7. Dale Ralph Davis points out that Heber moved to just the right place at just the right time. This was God’s providence over the events of history to bring about his larger purposes.
8. Schwab makes the case that Jael’s capture of Sisera involved sex and an “unmanning” of Sisera.
9. The enemy’s head is crushed. The wiles of the evil one come to an end.
The Lord’s grace amidst the bounty of sin
I. Repeated idolatry
II. Leadership & manliness
III. Heber’s apostasy
IV. [Perhaps Jael’s sexual exploit]
 Schwab, Right in their own eyes.
Structure of Judges 5
A Introduction 
B Mother of Israel, nobility, despairing hopes Lord’s Praise [2-11a]
C Woman is focal point, repetition of armies marching down [11b-15a]
D Shame of non participants [15b-18]
E. Battle commences: kings (ones who ride horses) 
F. Miraculous rain [20-21]
E. Battle described: horses (trampling kings?) 
D Shame of non participants 
C Woman is focal point, repetition of Sisera “falling down” [24-27]
B Mother of Sisera, nobility, despairing hopes, Lord’s Praise [28-31a]
A Conclusion [31b]
1. It is funny that in B the leaders of Israel in Israel are compared to a bunch of wishful thinking princesses in B’. Is there a connection?
2. I wonder if there is some sarcasm in Deborah’s claim that “the leaders took the lead” and that her heart went out to them (when someone has acted stupidly we sometimes say, “Bless their heart”). They hardly took the lead, but had to be coaxed into it.
3. The whole of the song has a bent towards the feminine, Deborah, Jael, Sisera’s mother & princess posse, and clans/towns who did not come out to fight like a man. There is joy in God’s victory, but it is a bitter victory. She still awaits the true man, Jesus Christ to lead them.
4. The song reminds us that the mother of Israel, as strong as she is, cannot bring about the new birth that Israel needs.
5. James Jordan points out that this song might be sung yearly at a particular feast (kind of like our Christmas carols). Imagine the shame felt by those clans/places (in D) as they continually recite the folly of their non participation! Those who fail to fight for the Lord must battle enduring shame (a picture of hell).
6. The Canaanite kings and horses galloping are put in juxtaposition in E. Were the horses trampling the kings down in the mud? If so, then there is great meaning: The high were brought low. Those who oppressed the Israelites were themselves pressed down. The heads of the kings were trampled underfoot; crushed like Sisera’s (v. 26; harkens to the seed of the woman who crushes the head of the serpent - Genesis 3:16)
7. The rain shows how the victory of chapter 4 came about. The battle was the Lord’s and came by His miraculous intervention. But notice that the battle became something of a cleansing. It was a baptism where “new life” came into existence.
8. Dale Ralph Davis calls v28-31a “vindictive gloating.” The audience laughs at the scene, the way the Lord laughs at his enemies.
 Note the chiastic arrangement of these verses:
a) leaders/nobility - Lord’s praise
b) despairing hopes
c) Mother, [2-11a]
b) despairing hopes
a) leaders/ nobility - Lord’s praise
 Note the chiastic arrangement of these verses:
a) Army marching down
b) Woman: Deborah [11b-15a]
a) Army marching down
Surprise surprise, another chiasm...
A Israel embraced other gods [11-13]
B The anger of the Lord burned [14-15]
C Judges raised up but they didn’t listen to them [16-17]
C’ Judges died off and they went back to sinful ways 
B’ The anger of the Lord burned 
A God gave them other gods to worship [21-22]
“They did evil in the sight of the Lord”
· The Bible does not allow us to gloss over our sins or “pretty them up” as we so often do. Sin is called evil to pinpoint how heinous it really is. They are not “shortcomings” or foibles, or faux pas. They are detestably wicked things; in a word, they are evil!
· Fertility god- this god will give you fertility, wealth, happiness, joy. But you must stimulate him to action by first copulating, cutting, sacrificing your child. You “arouse” your god to serve you as opposed to submitting to the God who promises to sustain you. Paganism’s gods must be coerced rather than trusted.
· Jordan expresses that Baalism is complimentary to secular humanism and evolution. Both are theologies of nature. Baalism seeks to control nature, as does secular humanism. Both say that nature is self existent and bring life through developmental processes (enhanced by our “help”).
Jordan also explains that we must understand worship: in the ancient world gods were worshiped (prostration, sacrifice, sacrament); today they are studied (lecture, study, meditation).
· Baalism and YHWHism might not have been seen as mutually exclusive. People might see the Lord working out his purpose through Baal & Ashtoreth. He might very well have been one god among many, or even the overarching god.
14-15 The Lord’s reaction
· The anger of the Lord burned: Jealous anger, one that will not tolerate being shared.
· The people were “sold” to their plunderers: the idea is a hearkening back to Egypt. They became slaves. They were oppressed because of their faithlessness.
· God gives us over to our sins. They worshiped the baals, so they became subject to the baalist leaders and expereinced how horrible Baal’s mastry is.
· They were helpless (marching out and harmed): God promised that one would chase a thousand and there enemies would scatter before them, but curse was inability to be successful. We miss the blessing because we love our sin!
16: Saved them
· The Lord raised up judges and was “with” the judge – Imanuel principle,
· The word is yasha [Joshua]
· The salvation was not fully a heart deliverance though. They were quick to whore after other gods (necessity of the new covenant and the promise of a new heart)
18: God’s pity
· It is amazing that God continues to react with pity, even despite their faithlessness (and lack of true repentance). God is that gracious!
A These are the Nations left
B To test them, for the purpose of knowing war
A These are the nations left
B. To test them, for determining obedience to God’s commands
A These are the nations left
Theme: God calls us to war, to war that we may obey. Intermarriage, which is mixing with the culture and foreign gods, is the failure to obey and loss of the war.
A The test offered (for war) [1-2]
B Nations listed 
C for obedience 
B’ Nations listed 
A’ Test failed (intermarriage) 
3:7-11 Othniel: “the hour of God” or “the lion of God.”
A the people sinned [7-8]
C. The Lord raised up a deliverer, Spirit of the Lord upon him 
A’ the people were saved 
· Cushan rish—“double wicked one” Mockery? Maybe, but definitely shows the power of God (his hand prevailed over Cushan).
· God is in complete control of every aspect of this over his people, over their enemies.
· The overall feel of Othniel narrative is that he is successful. There is triumph and nothing can really be said against Othniel.
This points to the greater Lion who comes at the appointed hour of God who will destroy the Wicked One who tyrannizes God's people.
A Gideon deals with arrogant men (Ephraim) [1-3]
B Succoth & Peniel Refuse help [4-9]
C Z’s Captured [10-12]
B Succoth & Peniel Punished [13-17]
A Gideon deals with arrogant men (Zeb & Zal) [18-21]
The chiastic structure reinforces the promise of God: He will deliver his people from his oppressors.
But the structure also says a great deal more. The majority of the passage is about Israel and its sins. First, we see how Succoth & Peniel are faithless. They did not join in the battle and realize that the victory was the Lord’s. They waiver because they do not believe the promise.
Secondly, Ephraim is in parallel with the two evil kings, Zeb & Zal. What a rebuke! Ephraim’s pride is so abhorrent that they are equated with God’s enemies.
Israel’s Oppression and Conviction [1-10]
This section may be chiastically arranged, with the stress laid on the Israelite’s crying out to the Lord.
- The people’s disobedience is stated 
- The Lord punishment of Israel (Midian) [2-5]
- The people cry out [6-7]
- The Lord’s prosecution of Israel (Egypt) [8-10a]
· The people’s disobedience is stated [10b]
Israel is severely punished. They cower in caves, as if death has come upon them and they are already in a grave of sorts. They are swarmed by man-locusts causing the death of their economy. The people were dead in their sins and suffering wages of sin (death).
Note: Sin is called “evil in sight of the Lord.” No attempt is to downplay the character or nature of sin. Sin is portrayed in all its vile wretchedness. Man would like to brighten it up and, if he would talk about it, do so in more cheery terms (shortcomings, faults, etc). Scripture would have us see it as God does though.
The crying out of the people brings the Lord’s word. It is a stinging word, but a necessary and gracious word. It is a gracious word because it echoes past graces. But it is a necessary word because it reminds them of how evil their apostasy is. They’ve sinned against grace. They’ve been unfaithful.
Remember, the crying out doesn’t necessarily mean repentance. They are sad and sorrowed, but not repentant. They are only missing the blessings of God. They hate the tyranny and want the good times of freedom back, but not necessarily the God of that freedom.
The call of Gideon [11-18]
This section is chiastically arranged, with the stress on the angel’s speech in verse 14.. The following pattern may be witnessed:
• Angel Appears 
• “The Lord is with you” 
• Gideon speaks of nation’s weakness 
• The Lord turns to him; charges him; sends him 
• Gideon speaks of his weakness 
• “I will be with you.” 
• Angel Stays [17-18]
Gideon states the problem succinctly: He and Israel are weak & worthless. They have no power to accomplish the Lord’s salvation in and of themselves. The passage though reminds us that salvation is always “of the Lord.”
At the very first we see the angel initiates things. God acts first in deliverance of his people. Then we are twice told where the power for salvation lies “the Lord is with you.” This is the Immanuel principle. Christ comes to us and abides with us, enabling.
The central point of the text is key. First, the angel turns to Gideon. Was he facing away? Or is he simply trying to remind us that God’s favor has turned to us? What ills have you when God turns towards you and makes his face to shine upon you?
Secondly, we hear the angel’s charge: “Go in this might of yours.” This may be confusing because Gideon has just confessed his (and his nation’s) powerlessness. But this is exactly where true spiritual strength lies: in our humility. Paul would confess, “His power is make perfect in weakness.” Indeed, humility takes more power than pride. Confessing one’s weakness is where God’s strength will be most vividly demonstrated.
Gideon’s Sign of Assurance [19-24]
God did not have to wait, but he accommodated himself to Gideon’s weakness. He provided a demonstration of his power in order to assure weak Gideon.
God has provided us with sensible signs too, for the purpose of bolstering our faith. In baptism and the Lord’s Supper he speaks to our weakness and assures us of his saving promise.
Gideon’s offering is a peace offering, but it does not bring peace. He is terrified. Perhaps Gideon was testing to see if it was really the Lord. Once he “gets the picture” he realizes what has happened. God
This passage may also be chiastically arranged:
• An offering of peace to the Lord 
• The Angel of the Lord acts 
• Fire springs up angel vanishes 
• The Angel of the Lord recognized 
• An offering of peace from the Lord [23-24]
The God is a consuming fire. No wonder Gideon was so terrified. Peace is offered, but the central focus is a good reminder: Don’t mess with God. Sin is not something he takes lightly. If he brings deliverance, he requires obedience and a right respect for His nature.
Testing Gideon's Faith & Mockery of Baal [25-32]
A Command to show Baal’s impotence [25-26]
B Gideon fears reprisal 
C Alter broken down - Baal lays defeated 
B Men threaten reprisal [29-30]
A Proclamation of Baal’s impotence [31-32]
Testing Gideon's faith
Everything in these verses puts Gideon’s faith to the test. Was he really convicted that God was to be followed? First he must tear down the alter to the foreign God. It is a cleansing of idols and an expression of one’s true devotion to the only God. You can hear God say, “There shall be no gods besides me.”
This wasn’t a simple task though. Family pressures were no doubt high as it was the family idol. Gideon does it, never the less.
The second challenge is offering the second bull as a sacrifice. It sounds simple enough, but it was a time of economic depression. Taking out a bull would be equivalent to taking out one of your tractors or possible channel of food. To make this offering would be to say, “I am in your hands, O God. Do with me as you will. I trust you shall be my deliverance and provider.”
Jesus would also say, “Sell all you have and give it to the poor. Then come follow me.” If we are going to follow the Lord, he demands we be ready to part with our savings and say goodbye to our estate.
You should snicker at the unfolding of these verses. Gideon’s father points out the impotence of Baal. Baal cannot even guard his own alter.
Weakness in Israel arises from their weak gods. Israel’s feeble state is due to its following an impotent god. The true God needs no defender, but he will use weakness (i.e. Gideon, and those like him) for His mighty purposes.
Gideon Clothed [33-35]
A People align for battle
B Gideon clothed with the Spirit
A People align for battle
Gideon is garbed with the Spirit. He has, in a very real sense, put on the armor of God. With the coming of the Spirit, we see a new birth. Israel is, in a sense, “born again.” The armies gather, but this time: Immanuel. God is with His people.
The Fleece [36-40]
It would seem that Gideon's weakness continues despite his being "clothed" with the Spirit? Some are ready to charge Gideon with sin for having asked for the signs. However, God doesn’t. God recognizes our frailty and he condescends to our humanity. He is patient with us and willingly assists us in our fears.
When we tell a 3 year old that he can pet the neighbor’s large (intimidating!) dog, he can still be scared. We do not call him a sissy. We encourage him and assure him that what we have said is true and can be believed.
In a similar way, the Lord acts to assure Gideon. In doing so He shows His power over Baal. Baal is supposedly the god of rain/dew. Yet, as the chiasmi suggest, the Lord shows that He alone controls the atmosphere.
The second test is greater than the first. In the first one would assume that the fleece would soak in the moisture and leave the ground dry. The second test provides more "durability" to the miracle as the fleece does not soak in a single drop. The lesson is clear: He is the God of the impossible; Baal is no contender.
We are not to set out "fleece" and expect God to answer our calls for a sign. We are instead to trust the word of the Lord and the signs he has already given us. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper are visible signs that God uses to bolster our weak faith. If we need confirmation that the Lord is a Saving God, all we need to do is remember the baptismal waters that flowed over us and partake of His Table.
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