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Gideon was Israel's fourth major Judge after the birth of Joshua, who eventually led a small army of Israelites against the Midianites. He was known by his pagan neighbors as Jerubbaal for desecrating an idol of Baal. While Gideon was the instrument God used to rescue Israel from Midian, he also had significant struggles with idol worship and polygamy. Gideon bore seventy-sons, making him the leader of a very large but conflicted family. After his death his sons Jotham and Abimelech fought over succeeding his position as Judge.

Biography

Early life

Gideon was born to his father, Joash, who was a member of the Abiezrite clan, the weakest in the entire Tribe of Manasseh. Gideon had the weakest position in his entire household, indicating he was probably the youngest son. [1]

Gideon lived in the small town of Ophrah[2] where he worshipped pagan Baal-gods, such as Asherah[3]. Though Gideon practiced false religions, he had familiarity with the accounts of Yahweh delivering Israel from Egypt. He may have been reminded of God's miracles in the past when a prophet spoke to all of Israel on their disobedience. Since Israel was so indulged in pagan Baal worship, all of Israel was oppressed under the rule of Midian.

The Calling

Under the dominion of Midian and other Canaanite nations, food was a scarcity. The Canaanites loved to steal valuable commodities like wheat from the Israelites. In an effort to hide the wheat from Midian, Gideon processed it in a winepress at his home[2]. While Gideon was hiding the food, the Angel of Yahweh approached him. The Angel told Gideon that God was with him as a mighty man. Gideon was astonished at these words and asked how God could be with Israel when there were no miracles like those at the Red Sea.

All Gideon was told in reply was to go save Israel in his "might". Still, Gideon insisted he was not qualified, because he was the least important family member of the smallest clan in Manasseh. [1]

Gideon would not offer his trust off to the God who performed miracles as his ancestors had told him about. Needing to be convinced, Gideon decided t.o test his favor with God, so he asked the envoy Angel to wait for him while pre prepared an offering

Verses

  1. 1.0 1.1 Judg 6:15
  2. 2.0 2.1 Judg 6:11
  3. Judg 6:25 (Link)

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