Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Judges
Book: Judges
Chapter: 6

Israel oppressed By Midianites. (1-6) Israel rebuked By a
Prophet. (7-10) Gideon set to deliver Israel. (11-24) Gideon
destroys Baal's Altar. (25-32) Signs given him. (33-40)

1-6 Israel's Sin was renewed, and Israel's troubles were
repeated. Let all that Sin expect to suffer. The Israelites hid
themselves in dens and caves; such was the effect of a guilty
Conscience. Sin dispirits men. The invaders left No Food for
Israel, except what was taken into the caves. They prepared that
for Baal with which God should have been served, now God justly
sends an enemy to take it away in the season thereof.

7-10 They cried to God for a deliverer, and he sent them a
Prophet to teach them. When God furnishes a land with Faithful
ministers, it is a token that he has Mercy in store for it. He
charges them with rebellion against the Lord; he intends to
bring them to Repentance. Repentance is real when the sinfulness
of Sin, as disobedience to God, is chiefly lamented.

11-24 Gideon was a Man of a brave, active Spirit, yet in
obscurity through the times: he is here stirred up to undertake
something great. It was very sure that the Lord was with him,
when his Angel was with him. Gideon was weak in Faith, which
made it hard to reconcile the assurances of the presence of God
with the distress to which Israel was brought. The Angel
answered his objections. He told him to appear and act as
Israel's deliverer, there needed No more. Bishop Hall says,
While God calls Gideon valiant, he makes him So. God delights to
advance the humble. Gideon desires to have his Faith confirmed.
Now, under the influences of the Spirit, we are not to expect
signs before our eyes such as Gideon here desired, but must
earnestly pray to God, that if we have found Grace in his sight,
he would show us a sign in our Heart, By the powerful working of
his Spirit there, The Angel turned the meat into an Offering
made By Fire; showing that he was not a Man who needed meat, but
the Son of God, who was to be served and honoured By Sacrifice,
and who in the Fulness of time was to make himself a Sacrifice.
Hereby a sign was given to Gideon, that he had found Grace in
God's sight. Ever since Man has By Sin exposed himself to God's
wrath and Curse, a message from Heaven has been a terror to him,
as he scarcely dares to expect good tidings thence. In this
world, it is very awful to have any converse with that world of
spirits to which we are So much strangers. Gideon's courage
failed him. But God spoke peace to him.

25-32 See the power of God's Grace, that he could raise up a
reformer; and the kindness of his Grace, that he would raise up
a deliverer, out of the family of a leader in Idolatry. Gideon
must not think it enough not to Worship at that Altar; he must
throw it down, and offer Sacrifice On another. It was needful he
should make peace with God, before he made War On Midian. Till
Sin be pardoned through the great Sacrifice, No good is to be
expected. God, who has all hearts in his hands, influenced Joash
to appear for his son against the advocates for Baal, though he
had joined formerly in the Worship of Baal. Let us do our duty,
and trust God with our safety. Here is a challenge to Baal, to
do either good or evil; the result convinced his worshippers of
their folly, in praying to one to help them that could not
avenge himself.

33-40 These signs are truly miraculous, and very significant.
Gideon and his men were going to fight the Midianites; could God
distinguish between a small Fleece of Israel, and the vast floor
of Midian? Gideon is made to know that God could do So. Is
Gideon desirous that the Dew of Divine Grace might come down
upon himself in particular? He sees the Fleece wet with Dew to
assure him of it. Does he desire that God will be as the Dew to
all Israel? Behold, all the ground is wet. What cause we sinners
of the Gentiles have, to Bless the Lord that the Dew of heavenly
blessings, once confined to Israel, is now sent to all the
inhabitants of the Earth! Yet still the Means of Grace are in
different measures, according to the purposes of God. In the
same Congregation, one Man's soul is like Gideon's moistened
Fleece, another like the dry ground.