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9 Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt 28 And when the men of the city arose not die.
early in the morning, behold the altar of 24 Then Gideon "built an altar there | Baal was cast down, and the grove was unto the LORD, and called it * JEHOVAH-|| cut down that was by it, and the second shalom: unto this day it is yet in bullock was offered upon the altar thal Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites. [Practical Observations.]
29 And they said one to another 25 1 And it came to pass the same || Who hath done this thing? And when night, that the LORD said unto him, Take they inquired and asked, they said, thy father's young bullock, + even the sec-Gideon the son of Joash hath done this ond bullock of seven years old, and thing. u throw down the altar of Baal that " thy 30 Then the men of the city said unto father hath, and y cut down the grove that Joash, - Bring out thy son, that he may is by it;
die: because he hath cast down the altar 26 And a build an altar unto the LORD of Baal, and because he hath cut down thy God upon the top of this rock, in the grove that was by it.
the ordered place, and take the second 31 And Joash said unto all that stood bullock, and offer a burnt-sacrifice with || against him, Will ye plead for Baal? the wood of the grove which thou shalt will ye save him? he that will plead for cut down.
him, e let him be put to death whilst it is 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his yet morning: ' if he be a god, let him plead servants, a and did as the Lord had said for himself, because one hath cast down unto him: and so it was, because he fear- his altar. ed his father's household, and the men of 32 Therefore on that day he called the city, that he could not do it by day, | him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead that he did it by night.
against him, because he hath thrown down q Gen. 43:23. Ps. 85:8. Joha 2 Cor. 6:15–17.
33 | Then all the Midianites, and That is, The LORD send | Heb. strong place. peace. Gen. 22:14. Ex. 17:15. Or, an orderly manner.
|| That is, Let Bael plead. I d Ex. 23:2. Num. 14:6. Eph. 5:
shameful thing plead. Jer. 11: Kings 18:40. f i Kings 18:27,29. Ps. 115:4
11:27. 20:19,26. Rom. 1:7.
* Matt. 10:37. Acts 4:19. 5:29. 21:4. Gen. 33:20. Josh. 22:10, y 3.7 Ex. 34.13. Deut. 7:5. 26—28.
z 2 Sat 24:18.
11. I Cor. 8:4.
c Jer. 26:11. 50:38. John 16:2.
Sam. 12:11. 2 Sam. 11:21. Jerubbesheth: that is, let the
Jer. 23:6. 33:16. Ez. 48:35. $ 8:32. 1 Gen. 35:2. Job 22:23. Ps. 101:2.
Or, and. u 1 Kings 18:21. Matt. 6:24.
13. Hos. 9:10. g Ps. 3:1. 97:2.3. 118:10_12 Is. 8:9,10. Rom. 8:35_39.
7. Is. 41:23. 46:1,7. Jer. 10:5,
V. 23. The LORD said.] Either at a second employed in idolatry: for it was of great importappearance, or by an audible voice, or in a vision | ance, that a protest against the worship of Baal, as afterwards. (25)
and an arowal of JEHOVAH, as the only true God, V. 24. Gideon does not seem to have intended should introduce Israel's deliverance. (Noles, this altar for sacrifices; but for a memorial of the Lev. 1:5--9. 17:3—7. Deut. 12:2–9. I San. 7:9. Lord's appearance, and gracious words to him. | 1 King: 18:38,39, 2 Kings 3:20.) (Marg. Ref. r, and on marg. reading.) It re- V. 27. The large family of Gideon's father mained at the time when this history was written. I was grievously infected with this idolatry; which
V. 25, 26. Our translation supposes, that only the more magnifies the mercy of God in preserv. one bullock was sacrificed: yet the term, “the ing him, and in selecting him to be Israel's deliv. second bullock," may imply that two were ap
Some however, even of his servants, were pointed. It does not however appear, when or ready and willing to help in this perilous attempt. how the first bullock, if two were meant, was of- V. 28–30. When the citizens arose betimes, fered. This "second bullock of seven years old,” || (perhaps to pay their morning devotions to Baal,) (the same number as the years of Israel's oppres- and saw what had taken place, they were speed sion,) seems to have been fattened on purpose for ily informed that Gideon had done it and nothing a public sacrifice to Baal.-Before he offered the but his blood could satisfy the persecuting rage sacrifice, Gideon was directed to “throw down of these infatuated idolaters! (Note, 1 Kings the altar which his father had” for the worship of 19:2.) Baal; and “to cut down the grove;” and thus to V. 31, 32. Joash, though himself guilty of idoldeclare open war against idolatry, before he at- || atry, was unwilling to have his son punished: and tacked the enemies of his people: regarding the probably, by what had been done, he was conhonor and command of God, more than the au- vinced of the sin and folly of worshipping an idol, thority or credit of his father; which probably which could not defend itself; and which needed had hitherto made him satisfy himself with silent to be saved by its devotees, instead of being able disapprobation.—Some think that the word ren- to save them. If Baal were indeed a god, let dered grove, means an image of Ashtaroth, which him plead his own cause against Gideon: and if was cut in pieces; and burnt as fuel in consuming he were not a god, they who pleaded for him de. the sacrifice offered to JEHOVAH. (Note, 2:11 | served immediate death. (Notes, 1 Sam. 5: 6: Is. 13.)-Gideon was not a priest, or even a Levite; || 46:1,2.) – Probably Joash now recollected the law but he acted by extraordinary commission, as a | against idolaters. (Note, Deut. 13:1–5.) Some prophet.—Sacrificing also was generally restrict- however think, that he spake merely as á magised to the altar at Shiloh: yet on this occasion the trate, against any who should excite a tumult op Lord was pleased to dispense with the ritual ap- | account of these transactions.-On this occasion pointment; and even to command and accept a he gave his son a new name, and called him Jesacrifice offered with those things which had been Il rubbaal; as if he had said, Let Baal plead against the Amalekites, and the children of the || 37 . Behold, I will put a fleece of wool east, were gathered together, and went in the floor; and if the dew be on the over and pitched in the valley of Jez- fleece only, and it be dry upon all the reel.
earth beside, then shall I know that thou 34 But 'the Spirit of the LORD came wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou upon Gideon, and he mblew a trumpet; | hast said. and "Abi-ezer twas gathered after him. 38 And it was so: for he rose up early
35 And he sent messengers through-| on the morrow, and thrust the fleece toout all Manasseh; who also was gathered gether, and wringed the dew out of the after him: and he sent messengers unto feece, a bowl-full of water. , and
God, • Let Naphtali; and they came up to meet not thine anger be hot against me, and I them.
will speak but this once: Let me prove 36 | And Gideon said unto God, P If I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as let it now be dry only upon the fleece, thou hast said,
and upon all the ground let there be dew.
40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there
was dew on all the ground. † Heb. was called after him.
h 3. 8:10,11. 1 Chr. 5:19,20. * Heb. clothed. Rom. 13:14. Job 1:3.
Gal. 3:27. i 7:24. Josh. 3:16,17.
m 3:27. Num. 10:3. k Josh. 17:16. 19:18. 1 Kings 11. 8:2. Josh. 17:2.
18:45. 21:1. 1 3:10. 13:25. 14:19. 15:14. 1 o 2 Chr. 30:6–12. Sam. 10.6. 11:6. 16:11. i Chr. p 14,17–20.
2 12:13. 2 Chr. 24:20. Ps. 51:11. Kings 20:8. Ps. 103:13,14. 1 Cor. 12:8-11.
Deut. 32:2. Ps. 72:6. Hos. 6:
t Ps. 107:3335. Is. 35:6, 7. 43 19,20. Matt. 8:12. 21:43. Acte 13:46. 22:21. 28:28. Rom. 11.12
hiin if he be able. He was also called Jerubbe- He has so constituted the world, that fear, shame, sheth, which signifies, let shame plead; (2 Sam. 11: I and misery are the natural effects of sin, and will 21.) for what the people called Baal, or lord, was inevitably follow the commission of it; however indeed their shame. (Notes, Jer. 11:13. Hos. 9: | impenitent sinners may endeavor to evade them, 9,10.)—Some fragments of Phenician history ev- and for a time succeed.-Conscious guilt appals idently mention Gideon under the title of Jérom the heart, and reduces men to the most degrading balus, and call him the priest of Jevo; doubtless expedients for self-preservation: and plenty abusfrom this sacrifice offered by him to JEHOVAH. ed in excess must expose them, at least, to the The writer says he received some commentaries merciful chastisement of pinching want. Heavy from him, which probably mean the books of Mo- | afflictions often extort from sinners cries of disses, the law of JEHOVAH.
tress and prayers for relief: but if the Lord re V. 33, 34. It seems that a very great and sur- l gard these cries and prayers, he will convince prising reformation took place on this occasion, the sufferers of their guilt and lead them to rein Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites; for that city fur- | pentance; for without this no deliverance will nished Gideon with his first troops, when he pre- || eventually prove a blessing.–The ministers of pared to attack the Midianites after they had God must declare to sinpers, his perfections and crossed Jordan on their annual plundering inva- | authority; the relations in which they stand to sion. (Note, 2,3.)
him, and their obligations to obedience; the reaV. 36—40. The view of the very great multi- || sonableness of his precepts, the advantages of his tudes of the enemy perhaps rather discouraged service, the evil of sin, and the number and heinGideon; who, for the confirmation of his own ousness of their transgressions. Hence it will faith, and that of his troops, desired this miracu- | appear, that they greatly need repentance and lous sign of the Lord's presence as the seal of his forgiveness; and that the message of the gospel is commission. But, as it is the nature of wool to indeed worthy of their most cordial acceptation. suck in the moisture, when there is any in the And, having brought these things home to their air, so the first token did not quite satisfy him: | consciences, they must leave the rest with God, and, though conscious of his unbelief, he asked earnestly praying to him to render his word sucthe reversal of the sign, joining with his petition cessful. Yet, alas! nwnbers hear the word of a humble deprecation of the Lord's displeasure; || God, and are convinced that their conduct is in. and he obtained his request. (Noles, 7:13—15. excusable, who notwithstanding proceed in their Ex. 4:1—7. Luke 1:18–20.)- According to this sinful courses, even while groaning uni er the miracle, the nation of Israel was moistened by painful effects of them! the dew of heavenly blessings, when the whole
V. 11-24. earth besides remained dry: and now that the The Lord reserves to himself a remnan in the nations of the earth enjoy the blessings of re- worst of times, to whom he manifests his g acious demption, the Jews remain like the dry fleece. presence; and they are never more likel to be
thus favored, than when struggling with otward PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS. difficulties, employed in honest labor, and mediV. 1-10.
tating upon heavenly things.—Talents, sui led for The tendency of our fallen nature to apostacy || peculiar services, may for a time be buried in obfrom God is so strong, that no means can of them- | scurity; but in due season the Lord will take the selves prevent its effect; and in all cases when || candle from “under the bushel,” and place it won divine grace is withheld, man as naturally does a candlestick” to give light to all around: and evil as the stone falls to the ground. The Scrip- that time must be waited for, by those who feel tures every where teach us this humiliating truth their hearts glow with desires of usefulness, which and in proportion as we effectually learn it, we at present they have no opportunity of executing. shall in all things depend on the special assist- | -We are more disposed to muse on our troubles, ance and blessing of God, with constant, earnest than on our transgressions: and when we du vor prayer; and unreservedly give him all the glory, | directly experience the sale deliver a ce, as whatever good be wrought in us, or done by us. have been afforded to otheir, tease apt t think CHAP. VII.
against me, saying, 'Mine own hand hath Gideon's army is tried by diviue directions, and reduced to three saved me. hundred men, 1-8. He is sent into the enemy's canıp by night, and encouraged by hearing a dream interpreted, 215.
3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in He divides his army into three companies, giving each man a
the ears of the people, saying, 5 Whosotrumpet, and a lamp in a pitcher, 16 –18. The Midianites are thrown into confusion and put to flight, 19–22. The Israelites ever is fearful and afraid, let him return, intercept their flight, and take their princes Oreb and Zeeb, whom they put to death, 23—25.
and depart early from mount Gilead: and THEN • Jerubbaal, (who is Gideon,) there returned of the people - twenty and
and all the people that were with two thousand, and there remained ten him, "rose up early, and pitched beside thousand. the well of Harod: so that the host of the
4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The Midianites were on the north side of them, people are yet too many; bring them by the hill of • Moreh, in the valley.
down unto the water, and I will try them 2 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The for thee there; and it shall be, ihat of people that are with thee, are too many whom I say unto thee, This shall go with for me to give the Midianites into their thee, the same shall go with thee; and of hands, leste Israel vaunt themselves whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall
Zech. 4:6. 12.7. I Cor. 1:27– not go with thee, the same shall not go.
e Deut. 32:27. Is. 2:11,17. Jer.
f Deut. 8:17. Is. 10:13. Ez. 28: 1 h Matt. 20:16.
2,17. Dan. 4.30. Hab. 1:16. i Gen. 22:1. 1 Sam. 16:7. Jeb g Deut. 20:8. Matt. 13.21. Luke 23:10. Ps. 7:9. 66:10 Jer. 6.27 14:25_-33. Rev. 17:14. 21:8. -30. Mal. 3:2,3.
that the Lord's “hand is shortened," or that she cannot always keep out disquieting fears, in cir. hath forgotten to be gracious;” not considering cumstances of peculiar danger and difficulty. In that he worketh every thing in its appointed sea- this struggle against involuntary unbelief, the son, according to the determinations of his un- Lord himself, the Author and Finisher of his peofathomable wisdom, and as best answers the pur- ple's faith, is their Refuge: to him they make apposes of his own glory.—But "before honor is hu- plication, and he will help them; and when they mility:" and the delays and disappointinents, by | are encouraged, they will be enabled to strengthwhich he humbles those whom he delighteth to
en their brethren. 'Yet the same inward enemy honor, often discourage their hearts, and induce will repeatedly assail them; and conscious that distrust and reluctance to duty: so imperfect and their fears dishonor the power and faithfulness so defiled with sin are our best graces! Yet he and love of God, they will deprecate his displeas. generally employs those who are most sensible of ure, and beseech him to strengthen their faith; their own unworthiness and insufficiency: at the and he will both pardon them, and condescend to same time teaching them to exercise the courage their desires, while they endeavor to trust in him, of faith, and to grow strong by simply expecting || but“cannot do the thing that they would."-What help from Him; and graciously assuring them of cause have we sinners of the Gentiles to thank his direction and support.-When the Lord favors the Lord, that the dew of heavenly blessings, his servants with glimpses of his glory, and tastes once confined to Israel, now descends upon the of his love, they long for the continuance of his inhabitants of the earth, without that limitation! gracious presence: and when the sense of bis | Yet still the means of grace are dispensed in difpardoning love has banished the fear of wrath; | ferent measures according to the purposes of they rise superior to discouragements, praise him God; and even in the same congregations, one for his mercies, and are ready to say, “Here am
man's soul is like Gideon's moistened fleece, I, send me;" though the service be dangerous and another's like the dry ground. Let us then condifficult, and require much self-denial. (Notes, Is. tinually pray for the divine blessing on the ordi6:6-8.)
nances of God to ourselves and others: not at any V. 25-40.
time forgetting the nation of Israel, to which all In attempting reformation, (which is the first other nations are so deeply indebted, and which step towards recovering prosperity,) no man must has been so long a dry fleece, whilst the earth be known according to the Aesh: nay, when the around has enjoyed the blessing. commands of God are concerned, even parental
NOTES. authority loses its obligation; and though the Chap. VII. V. 2, 3. Gideon either forgot the method of procedure should be regulated by wis- | law, which ordered proclamation to be made bedom, yet we must not be counselled by natural fore the battle, that the fearful with some others affection or the fear of man. (Notes, Matt. 10: might return home; or he thought it might be dis37–39. P.0.34–42. Luke 14:25–27. ? Cor.5:1 pensed with on so urgent an occasion. (Note, 16.)-If we do any thing effectual against the Deut. 20:5—9.) But the Lord knew, that pride cause of Satan, his servants will certainly be en- and unbelief prevailed in the army. The people raged, especially those who are zealous for any had readily enlisted at first; but when they saw kind of false religion. But the Lord has all hearts the multitudes of the Midianites, their courage in his hands, and can easily intimidate the ene- sunk: yet, had they prevailed, they would have mies of his people, or convert them into friends | vaunted, and ascribed the victory to their own and helpers and persecution must always appear valor, and not to the special help of God! Most of unreasonable and odious to a reflecting mind. them were destitute of true faith, and many doubtJehovah does not allow his servants to use carnal less disheartened with a guilty conscience. They weapons: and his friends should leave them ex- thought that instead of being too many, they were clusively to idolaters, anti-christians and ungodly too few; and the greatest part of them availed
-Wicked men are frequently most furious, || themselves of the proclamation, and went home.when destruction is just at hand: for “when the Mount Gilead, here mentioned, must have been enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the some mountain of that name west of Jordan, of LORD lifteth up a standard against him.” Yet less note than mount Gilead which lay east of that even they who have the Spirit of God, and by the river: for Gideon's army never crossed Jordan trunpet of the gospel call others to the conflict, Il till after the victory. (8:4.)
5 So he brougnt down the people unto' along in the valley like 'grass-hoppers the water; and ihe LORD said unto Gide- || for multitude; and their camels were withon, Every one that lappeth of the water out number, as the sand of the sea-side with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him for multitude. shalt thou set by himself; likewise every 13 And when Gideon was come, beone that boweth down upon his knees to hold, there was a man that told a dream drink.
unto his fellow, and said, Bebold, 1 6 And the number of them that lapped, || dreamed a dream; and * lo, a cake of putting their hand to their mouth, were barley-bread tumbled into the host of ihree hundred men: but all the rest of the Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote people bowed down upon their knees to it that it feil, and overturned it, that the drink water.
tent lay along. 7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, 14 And his fellow answered and said, by the three hundred men that lapped This is nothing else save the sword of will I save you, and deliver the Midianites Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: into thine hand: and let all the other peo-ll for ? into his hand hath God delivered ple go every man unto his place. Midian and all the host.
8 So the people took victuals in their 15 And it was so, when Gideon heard hand, and their trumpets: and he sent the telling of the dream, and the t interall the rest of Israel every man unto his pretation thereof, that he worshipped, tent, and retained those three hundred and returned into the host of Israel, and
And the host of Midian was be- said, • Arise, for the Lord hath delivered neath him in the valley.
into your hand the host of Midian. 9 1 And it came to pass
n the same
(Prostical Observations.) night, that the LORD said unto him, °Arise, 16 | And he divided the three hundred get thee down unto the host; for p I have men into three companies, and he put a delivered it into thine hand.
trumpet in every man's hand, with 10 But if thou fear to go down, go empty pitchers, and $ lamps within the thou with Phurah thy servant down to the pitchers. host.
17 And he said unto them, a Look on 11 And thou shalt hear what they say, me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I and afterward shall • thine hands become to the outside of tħe camp, it shall strengthened to go down unto the host. be, that as I do, so shall ye do. Then went he down, with Phurah his ser- 18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and vant, unto the outside of the * arined men all that are with me, then e blow ye the that were in the host.
trumpets also on every side of all the 12 And the Midianites, and the Amal camp, and say, 'The sword of the LORD, ekites, and all the children of the east, lay and of Gideon.
k 18-22. 1 Sam. 14:6. Is. 41:14
-16. I 3:27. Ley. 23:24. 25:9. Num. 10:9. Josh. 6:4,20. Is. 27:13. 1 Cor 15:52. m 6:23. a Gen. 46:2,3. Job 4:13. 33:15, 16. Matt. 1:20. 2:13. Acts 18: 9,10.27:23. Josh. 1:59. Is. 41:10-16.
43:1,2. p 3:10,28. 4:14,15. 2 Chr. 16:8,
u 2:10. 2 Chr. 14:212. Ps. 3: 2 Chr. 20:18,19
1:33:16. 118:10-12. Is. 8:9,10. b 4:14. 2 Cor. 10:46.
all of them.
for firebrands, or, torches.
Heb. 13:7. 1 Pet. 5:3.
fi Sam. 17:47. 2 Chr. 20:15 a Gen. 24:26,27,48. Ex. 4:30,31. 17.
V. 4—7. Some of the soldiers that still remain- | tained nothing but present necessary provisions, ed, were not so courageous as they would be and perhaps all the trumpets which belonged to thought: but Gideon had done his part in that the whole arıny, without any other arms! This respect; and it pleased the Lord himself to prove was no doubt done by immediate direction from and purify the company, by an extraordinary ex- | God. (Notes, 1 Sam. 14:6–15. 1 Cor. 2:3 –5.) pedient. Perhaps they were led to the water V. 9--11. Marg. Ref:-Note, 6:36—40. after the fatigue of a long march, under the idea V. 12. Marg. Ref.-Notes, 1 Kings 20:27. 2 tnat they were going directly to attack the enemy. Chr. 14:9—15. It seems to have been customary for them to drink V. 13—15. This dream might'appear to have as the cattle do, by putting their mouths down to little coherency in it: but the event evidently the water, and drawing it in: but they who only proved that it was from the Lord, who directed took a little into their hands, and sucked it up, the soldier to an exact interpretation; and at the (as dogs are remarked to lap a little water hastily,) | same time discovered, that the name of Gideon might be supposed to be less enslaved to their ap- | had filled the hearts of the Midianites with terror. petite, more able to endure hardship, and more. The very small unarmed company which Gideon eager to engage.-It may be presumed that most headed, had the Midianites known about them, of this very small company, by whom God was I would have appeared as contemptible as the barpleased to save Israel, were men of genuine faith ley-cake, and no more likely to destroy their arand piety, as well as of steady courage.
my than that to overturn a tent.-Gideon there. V. 8.' This small company seems to have re- fore took this as a sure pledge of success; and
19 So Gideon, and the hundred men || shittah * in Zererath, and to the border that were with him, came unto the outside of • Abel-meholah unto Tabbath. of the camp 6 in the beginning of the mid- 23 And P the men of Israel gathered dle watch; and they had but newly set the themselves together out of Naphtali, and watch: and they blew the trumpets, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh,
brake the pitchers that were in their and pursued after the Midianites. hands.
24 And Gideon 9 sent messengers 20 And the three companies i blew throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, the trumpets, and k brake the pitchers, Come down against the Midianites, and and held the lamps in their left hands, and take before them the waters unto • Beththe trumpets in their right hands to blowbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of withal: and they cried, The sword of the Ephraim gathered themselves together LORD, and of Gideon.
and took the waters unto Beth-barah and 21 And they stood every man in his Jordan. place round about the camp: and mall 25 And they took two princes of the the host ran, and cried, and fled.
Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they 22 And the three hundred blew the slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and trumpets, and the LORD set every man's Zeeb they slew at the wine-press of sword against his fellow, even throughout Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought all the host: and the host fled to Beth-the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon
on the other side Jordan.
Ex. 14:24. Matt. 25:6. 1 Thes. 5:3. Rev. 16:15. h Ps. 2:9. Jer. 13:13,14. 19:1
11. i Num. 10:1-10. Josh. 6:4,16, 20. Is. 27:13. 1 Cor. 15:52.
1 Thes. 4:16. k 2 Cor. 4:7. Heb. 11:4. 2 Pet.
Job 15:21,22. Prov. 28:1.
without delay worshipped God, and returned with intercepted and slew two princes of Midian, and confidence to his three hundred men, who were brought their heads to Gideon at the passage of the host of Israel,” by whom the Lord intended Jordan (1775 mayo).-(Marg. Ref:--Vote, 8:3,4) to deliver his people. (Note, 2 Cor. 10:1–6.)
V. 16–22. This small nu:uber of men, thus PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS. divided, would be able to encompass the whole
V. 1-15. camp of the Midianites. Concealing the lamps Activity and prudence very properly accompain the pitchers, they would pass unobserved to ny dependence upon God for success in our law. their appointed stations: then in the dead of the ful undertakings: but “the LORD seeth not as man night, when most of the enemy were fast asleep, I seeth;” and knowing the secrets of every heart, all at once breaking their pitchers one against he varies his conduct, with a wise regard to innuanother, with as much noise as they could; and merable circumstances which are imperceptible blowing the trumpets, and shouting“The sword by all others. When he sees men inclined to of the LORD, and of Gideon;" they would occa- overlook him, and through unbelief to shrink from sion an exceedingly great alarm. And their ene- perilous services, or through pride "to vaunt mies, thus awakened and affrighted, hearing the themselves against him," he lays them aside, and continued sound of so many trumpets, and seeing | does his work by other instruments. Indeed very the camp surrounded with lights, would in their many profess themselves followers of Christ, help. confusion naturally conclude themselves surprised ers to his servants, and prepared to fight under by a large army: so that, perceiving the lamps his banner, while persecution and tribulation are and trumpets still keeping their stations, they | at a distance: but without true faith and a good would be led to suspect that the enemy was even conscience, the heart will fail in the immediate now in the camp. And in the dark they would prospect of danger; and some pretence will be become jealous of one another: so that, when found for deserting the cause, and escaping the some had by mistake been slain by their com
But though a religious society may thus rades, the distraction, terror, and suspicion would be greatly diminished in numbers, and in exterbecome general; until every one was engaged in nal prosperity; yet it will be improved in purity, battle with his fellow-soldier. Thus we may eas- || and may consequently expect an increasing blessily conceive the success of this stratagem: but the ing: -Many who have real faith and grace are power of God had previously prepared the dis- | unfit for special services, and unable to bear pemayed hearts of the Midianites to receive such culiar trials, from which therefore the Lord will an impression, and he set every man's sword | exempt them; and to which he will appoint those, against his fellow; (Note, 2 Chr. 20:22——25.) and to whom he has given superior hardiness, boldthe obedience of faith alone could have induced ness, and firmness of spirit and very trivial inci. so defenreless a company to venture on such an dents will sometimes make a discovery of men's expedient, which no doubt Gol directed Gideon capacities and dispositions, and shew who are and to employ. Notes, Josh. 6:3--5,7. 2 Cor. 4:7. | who are not to be depended on in arduous underP. 0.7-12.)
takings.—But, while the Lord pursues his purV. 23—25. As soon as the stratagem began to poses of displaying his own glory, he will try to the take effect, many of those who had heen dismiss- uttermost the faith and courage of the strongest ed contrary to their inclinations, would return: believers: and even when they are acting by his (Nole, 1 Sam. 14:16—23.)_ Gideon also speedily | orders, and have the security of his promise for sent messengers to the Ephraimites. so that their support, appearances may be so very much numbers were soon collected; and, while some against them, that they cannot keep out the misoccupied the fords of Jordan to prevent the escape givings and struggles of unbelief. This he perof any Midianites, others pursued and slew the ceives; and in the most seasonable hour, by some fugitives: (Note, 3:29.) especially the Ephraimites II"token for good," he will make their faith victo