Aaaaand I’m back.
Maybe it’s because this chapter is longer, but Gideon feels like an actual real character. Much of the earlier books in the Bible are so focused on their theological and theonomic messages that they don’t focus as much on individual characters. Dialogue and descriptions are limited. But here Gideon gets to talk, a lot, and mostly he talks back. People who say that you aren’t allowed to question God are apparently unfamiliar with Gideon. From the start, any time he’s told something by God’s messengers, he immediately and somewhat sarcastically questions it. God is with us? Couldn’t guess that from how we’ve been harassed by Midian for seven years. Go deliver Israel? I’m a nobody. I’ve found favor with God? Prove it! Even after he witnesses a miracle (fire plus the disappearance of the messenger), he still doubts whether God is telling him the truth. He may ask more humbly now, but he stills demands two separate signs from God.
And while we’re at it, he’s also not all that brave in this chapter. Yes, he destroys the altars to Baal and Asherah, but he does it at night, with servants, and lets his father defend him rather than standing up for himself.
So here’s an image of Gideon: cynical, cautious, self-protecting but self-doubting, a man who doesn’t want to move until he’s absolutely sure, but he’s never really absolutely sure. We get two more long chapters with him before moving on to the next Judge, so we’ll see how he develops.
The Japanese: kyoui “threat, menace,” sakeru “to avoid, to escape,” doukutsu “cave, cavern,” horaana “cave, cavern,” yousai “fortress” (v 2), jin wo shiku “to encamp, to take up a position,” kate “food” (v 4), hanahadashiku “excessively, widely,” otoroeru “to decline, to lose” (v 6), yokuatsusha “oppressor,” omomuku “to proceed, to go” (v 9), uyamau “to respect, to honor, to worship” (v 10), manukareru “to escape, to evade” (v 11), furikakaru “to happen, to befall” (v 13), hinjaku “poor, meager” (v 15), atakamo “as if it were, as though” (v 16), sonaemono “offering” (v 18), meshitsukai “servant” (v 27), semetateru “to reproach,” kabau “to protect, to shelter” (v 31), kessoku suru “to band together” (v 33), sumizumi “length and breadth of,” gouryuu suru “to join, to meet, to merge” (v 35).