Judges 8:29-35

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 19, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech. Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.” (Judges 8:29-35)

We’ve been writing about Gideon for about 2 months now, and we’re finally coming to the end of his story. After his victory in battle thanks to his obedience to God, and the people wanting to honor him for that, Gideon settles back into life at home. His many wives and sons indicate his prosperity in that day. God honored Gideon’s obedience to Him by giving him a large family.

One of Gideon’s concubines is singled out in this passage. A concubine is similar to a wife, but with lower status; another word for one could be a mistress. It should be noted that just because Gideon had many wives and concubines doesn’t make it ok in God’s eyes. Gideon was still a human, prone to sinful tendencies, and this was one of them.

So this one particular concubine of Gideon’s lived in the town of Shechem. She was still under her father’s household and authority, but Gideon would visit her periodically. (Again, just because Gideon did it does not make this ok in God’s eyes!) She is singled out because she bore Gideon a son named Abimelech, who we’ll read about more next week. Stay tuned.

The fact that verse 32 says that Gideon died “at a good old age” indicates that he had a long and full life. This expression is used elsewhere in the Old Testament to describe Abraham (Genesis 25:8) and David (1 Chronicles 29:28).

And what happened after Gideon died? The people began to worship idols again (verse 33). The phrase “When the cat’s away, the mice will play” comes to mind here. Gideon was the one who had destroyed their altars to Baal and their Asherah poles, so once he was gone they essentially built them right back up again. They began to worship the false god Baal-Berith; this literally means “lord of the covenant.” This was their blatant disregard for the covenant that Israel had with God, which they were now clearly abandoning, yet again.

Israel continued to forget God’s provision for them, and they constantly turned to the things of this world. God had rescued them in a triumphant victory from the horrible oppression of the Midianites, and now they completely turned their backs on Him!

But how often do we do that as well? Maybe the power of God set you free from an addiction, and then you soon get addicted to something else. Maybe you briefly praise God for something good that He did in your life, but the next day you turn your back on God and rely on yourself again. We do this all the time, because we’re a sinful people, but that’s no excuse. We need to try to be more like Gideon and less like the Israelites, turning to God and relying on Him rather than following other people or the ways of this world. People come and go, but we are continually called to follow the one true God.

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