The Period Of The Judges

 Chapter 18  Israel Sins
Judges 6:1–10

Text

1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.
3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. 6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
8 That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;
10 And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.

Introduction

In this chapter we have an account of the distressed condition Israel was in due to the Midianites, Jud. 6:1-6; of a prophet being sent unto them to make them aware of their sins, Jud. 6:7-10; of an angel
appearing to Gideon, with an order to him to go and save Israel out of the hands of the Midianites, Jud. 6:11-16; and of a sign given him by the angel, whereby he knew this order was from God, Jud. 6:17-24; and of the reformation from idolatry in his father's family that came from him throwing down the altar of Baal, and building one for the Lord, Jud. 6:25-32; and of the preparation he made to fight the Midianites and others, Jud. 6:33-35; but first he desired a sign from the Lord, that Israel would be saved by his hand, which was granted and repeated, Jud. 6:36-40.

Commentary

1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.--KJV

1 The people of Israel did what the LORD considered evil. So the LORD handed them over to Midian for seven years. 2 Midian's power was too strong for Israel. The Israelites made hiding places in the mountains, caves, and mountain strongholds {to protect themselves} from Midian.--GW

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Gideon was an unlikely candidate for God’s “Hall of Fame” [1](Heb. 11:32 ). When God called him, he was hiding. When God spoke to him, he raised problems instead of trusting promises. One of his favorite words was “if” (vv. [2]13 , [3]17 , [4]36 ; think about how this little word comes into play in these NT verses, [5]Mark 9:22–23 ). When Gideon did start to obey God, he worked at night [6](v. 27 ) because he was afraid of being discovered and he had to have repeated reassurance that the Lord was with him.

But God saw the potential in Gideon and even called him a “mighty man of valor” [7](v. 12 ). God sees the potential in you and says to you as He did to Simon, “You are . . . You shall be” [8](John 1:42 ). He knows your weaknesses and will accommodate Himself to your needs so that He might develop your faith.  For a man with a worried heart, “And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die” was just what Gideon needed to hear [9](v. 23). You can enjoy God’s peace today as you fight the battle [10](Phil. 4:4–9 ).

We are told right-off-the-bat, “the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian.”—as if they did not learn anything from their former experiences, the Israelites again [11]apostatized , and new sins were followed by fresh judgments. Midian had sustained a severe blow in the time of Moses (See [12]Numbers 31:1-18) ; and the memory of that disaster, no doubt, inflamed their resentment against the Israelites. They were wandering herdsmen, called "children of the East," since they occupied the territory east of the Red Sea, adjoining to Moab. The destructive ravages they are said to have committed in the land of Israel, at this time, are similar to those of the Bedouin Arabs, who harass the peaceful peasant farmers. Unless some kind of settlement is made with them, they return annually at a certain season, when they carry off the grain, seize the cattle and other property; and even life itself is in jeopardy from the attacks of those prowling marauders. The vast horde of Midianites that overran Canaan was the greatest scourge which had ever afflicted the Israelites.

And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years: this was not the Midian where Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, lived, which lay more southward, but that which joined to Moab, and was more eastward. This people had been destroyed by the Israelites in the times of Moses, on their way to the land of Canaan, [13](Numbers 31:1, 2 ) and for that reason they might bear them a grudge, and take the opportunity to revenge themselves on the Israelites.  God permitted them to do so, due to Israel’s sins. The destruction of this people by Israel was very wide-ranging, yet some of them made their escape, and afterwards returned to their own land, and since this was about two hundred years ago, they  might have revived their country by this time, and become strong and powerful.

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. After the death of Deborah and Barak, during whose life they kept to the pure worship of God, and who, perhaps, lived pretty near the close of the forty years' of peace, or twenty years after their victory over Jabin; but their generation was dying. This was the time when the children of Israel fell into idolatry, for that was the reason they were involved with evil (See Judges 6:10 ), even worshipping the gods of the Amorites. This will be the pattern throughout the book of Judges; the Israelites again turned away from God after 40 years of peace brought by Deborah's victory over Canaan, and consequently, were allowed to be attacked by the neighboring Midianites and Amalekites. God chose Gideon, a young man from an otherwise unremarkable clan from the tribe of Manasseh, to free the people of Israel and to condemn their worship of idols. The burnt child dreads the fire; yet this wicked unthinking people, that had so often smarted greatly [14](Num. 22:4) , for their idolatry, when they have a little reprieve from God’s judgments return to it again. These Israelites have a revolting rebellious heart, not kept in awe by the terror of God’s judgments, nor engaged in honour and gratitude by the great things he had done for them to keep them in His love. The [15]providence  of God will not change the hearts and lives of sinners.

Of Midian - For although most of the Midianites had been cut off by Moses about two hundred years ago, yet many of them no doubt fled into the neighboring countries, from where they eventually returned to their own land, and in time they might have easily grown to be a very great number; especially, when God advanced their increase, so that they might be a thorn in the side of Israel when they lapse into idolatry. LET ALL THAT SIN, EXPECT TO SUFFER: LET ALL THAT TURN TO FOOLISHNESS, EXPECT TO RETURN TO MISERY.

With the disobedient, God will show himself unyielding — “With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the [16]froward  thou wilt shew thyself [16]froward.” (Ps. 18:26); in this verse David gives a principle and a delightful promise. The principle is this: With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful. The dealings of the Lord are always just. He metes out to every man according to his willingness to serve God. God measures the area of a man’s land by the same rod with which that man measures the area of others’ land. David is sure that, since he has lived uprightly, God will be his light in his darkest hour. All who live righteously in Christ Jesus have that same promise. But, He will walk contrary to those that walk contrary to him [17](Lev. 26:21, 24).

Now let us look closely at this trouble that Israel was in: It arose from a very despicable enemy. God delivered them into the hand of Midian, not the Midian in the south where Jethro lived, but the  Midian in the east that joined to Moab [18](Num. 22:4) , a people that all men despised as being uncultivated and unintelligent; hence we do not read here that they had any king, lord, or general, but the force with which they destroyed Israel was an undisciplined mob; and, that made it even more dreadful; they were a people that Israel had formerly subdued, and in a manner destroyed (see [19]Num. 31:7) , and yet by this time (nearly 200 years after) the poor remains of them were so multiplied, and so magnified, that they were capable of being made a very severe scourge to Israel. Thus God moved them to jealousy with those who were not a people, even a foolish nation [20](Deu. 32:21). The poorest and humblest creature will serve to chastise those that have made the great Creator their enemy. And, when those we are authorized to rule prove rebellious and disobedient to us, it concerns us to enquire whether we have not been so to our sovereign.

The Midianites and the Amalekites moved as a disorganized tribe. They were raiders. They would raid the crops and supplies of others. They generally took their families with them. In fact, they took all that they had with them. They would pitch their tents as they moved along. In this incident, we are not given numbers concerning them because no one in the world would have been able to number them—they were so disorganized. But by sheer numbers, and they were many, they overwhelmed the inhabitants of the land. The children of Israel fled from their homes and lived in caves and dens. There is abundant evidence in the land of Israel today that they lived in caves, especially during the period of the judges.

It is the same old story once again. Israel sinned and the hoop started moving. God had blessed the children of Israel under the administration of Deborah. When they sinned, God delivered them to Midian, and they cried out for deliverance.

made . . . dens . . . in the mountains and caves--not, of course, excavating them, for they were already there, but making them fit for habitation.

And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. The hand of Midian prevailed, purely by their multitude. God had promised to increase Israel like the sand on the sea shore; but their sin stopped their growth and diminished them, and then their enemies, though they were inferior to them in every other way, overpowered them with numbers. They came upon them like a huge swarm of grasshoppers (v. 5), not in a regular army way, to engage them in the field, but in a confused swarm to plunder the country, billet themselves upon it, and enrich themselves with its spoils—they were no better than bands of robbers. And sinful Israel, being separated by sin from God, did not have the spirit to make headway against them. Observe the wretched havoc that these Midianites made with their bands of plunderers in Israel. The Israelites imprisoned, or rather imprisoning themselves, in dens and caves, owing purely to their own timidity and faint-heartedness, that they would rather flee than fight; it was the effect of a guilty conscience, which made them tremble at the shaking of a leaf, and the just punishment for their apostasy from God, who fought against them with those very terrors with which he would otherwise have fought for them. Had it not been for this, we cannot help but to think that Israel was more than a match for the Midianites, and able enough to make headway against them; but the heart that departs from God is lost, not only to that which is good, but to that which is great. Sin blunts the spirit of men, and makes them sneak into dens and caves. The day will come when great and mighty men will call in vain to rocks and mountains to hide them.

And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: [and] because of the Midianites the children of Israel hid in the dens which [are] in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. They were too strong for them, and overcame them, and brought them into subjection to them, and no wonder, when the Lord delivered them into their hand.

Made them the dens which are in the mountains and caves, and strong holds. —nothing can give a more distressing description of the state of the Israelites than what is related here. The Israelites did not reside in the open country, but were obliged to live in the dens and caves in the mountains, and they lived like wild beasts, and were hunted like them by their adversaries; and the oppression lasted for seven years. The caves were for the poorer sort, and the strong holds for the richer to withdraw to with their goods; though, according to Jarchi, the strong holds were nothing more than fences they made in woods, by cutting down trees, and setting them round about them, perhaps much the same as the thickets, [21](1 Samuel 13:6) . Wood (p. 202) dates this oppression as beginning 1169 B.C. It was now more than a century since Joshua had conquered the land, and the Midianite oppression was almost the conquest in reverse! The Midianites were desert nomads who had learned to domesticate camels and were now using them for the purpose of long-distance raids into more settled areas. Midian was south of Edom, near the Gulf of Aqaba. The oppression headed by the Midianites was also aided by the Amalekites and the children of the east, nomadic groups from the Syrian desert. The statement that their camels were without number is the first documentation of extensive use of camels in a military campaign, giving the Midianite-Arab alliance a tremendous advantage against the Israelites.

The extent of their infiltration and invasions reached into the tribal areas of the north and penetrated as far south as Gaza in the territory of the Philistines. The final battle took place in the Valley of Jezreel [22](vs. 33)  and drove the Midianites completely out of Israelite territory. The statements that they destroyed the increase of the earth.…And Israel was greatly impoverished would imply that these were probably annual raids which were made on the agricultural produce of the Israelites. They literally rushed in like grasshoppers (i.e., locusts) covering the land and devouring everything in their path. It is no wonder then that the children of Israel prayed for deliverance from this invading desert horde. (On the Midianites and Amalekites see R. K. Harrison, Old Testament Times, pp. 180ff.)

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3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.--KJV
 
3 Whenever Israel planted crops, Midian, Amalek, and Kedem came and damaged the crops. 4 The enemy used to camp on the land and destroy the crops all the way to Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to live on—not one sheep, cow, or donkey. 5 Like swarms of locusts, they came with their livestock and their tents. They and their camels could not be counted. They came into the land only to ruin it.--GW

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They came into Israel’s territory, pitched their camps where ever they wanted, and they brought their livestock with them, above all, they possessed innumerable camels (v. 5). They were not a raiding party that would attack only a few settlements take their livestock and crops and then leave as suddenly as they had come. But what they did do was to force their way, and they penetrated through the heart of the country as far as Gaza on the western side. They let the Israelites alone to sow their ground, but at harvest time they seized it all, and either ate it up or destroyed it, both grass and corn. And when they went away, they took with them the sheep and oxen, so that they left no sustenance for Israel, except what was secretly taken by the rightful owners into the dens and caves. Now here we may see:
1. The justice of God in the punishment for their sin. They had neglected to honor God with their substance in tithes and offerings, to whom it rightfully was due, and had instead given that to Baal; and now God justly sends an enemy to take it away in the harvest season [23](Hos. 2:8, 9) . Israel’s backsliding resulted in poverty, slavery, and fear. Those whom Israel had once conquered were now her masters. When we turn from the Lord as Christians, old habits enslave and impoverish us as well
2. The consequence of God’s departure from a people is that all good goes with Him and all monkey business breaks in. When Israel kept in touch with God, they reaped what others sowed ([24]Jos. 24:13 ; [25]Ps. 105:44) ; but now that God had forsaken them others reaped what they sowed. Let us learn a lesson from this: to bless God for our national peace and tranquility, that we may eat the labor of our hands.

Children of the East—probably those who inhabited the eastern part of the Arabian Desert, Ishmaelites.

Encamped against them—Wandering hordes of Midianites, Amalekites, and Ishmaelites came, in the times of harvest and autumn, and carried away their crops, their fruit, and their cattle. And they appear to have come early, encamped in the plains, and watched the crops till they were ready to be carried off.

And destroyed the increase of the earth—they destroyed the corn and grass before they were ripe, and fit to cut down; except they gave some of it to their cattle, and the rest they carried off.

till thou come unto Gaza—a principality of the Philistines, which lay in the western part of Canaan, on the shore of the Mediterranean sea; so that as these people came out of the east, and entered the eastern part, they went through the whole land from east to west, cutting down all the fruits of the earth for feed for their cattle: so they destroyed the whole land.

Till thou come unto Gaza—That is, the whole breadth of the land, from Jordan to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Thus the whole land was ravaged, and the inhabitants deprived of the necessaries of life.

And left no sustenance for Israel—nothing to support life with, cutting down their corn and their grass, their vines and olives, so that they had nothing to live upon.

Neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass—not anything was left for the Israelites to live upon.

For they came up with their cattle, and their tents—they brought their flocks and their herds with them, to eat up the crops and grass; and, they pitched and removed their tents from place to place, for the convenience of feeding their cattle, while they cut down the fruit of the earth everywhere they found it. All this proves that they were different tribes of wanderers who had no fixed residence; but, like their descendants the Bedouins or wandering Arabs, they moved from place to place to get game for themselves and feed for their cattle.

And they came as grasshoppers for multitude; or "as locusts", they were like them in that they were a great number of them, and for devouring all they came to.

And their camels were without number—which they brought with them, to load and carry off the plunder they could not eat. Midian was a place famous for camels and dromedaries, [26](Isaiah 60:6)  and so was Arabia. The people of Arabia joined the Midianites in this expedition; of whom Leo Africanus says, that they think of their riches as the number of camels they own; so if anyone speaks about the riches of such-and-such a prince or nobleman, he says that he possesses many camels, and not so many thousands of pieces of gold [27](see Job 1:3) .

Without number—That is, so many that it was not easy to number them. And to make it even harder, they did not travel like a regular army, but in a confused swarm, to plunder the country.
And they entered into the city to destroy it—this was their sole aim, to wipe out their hated enemy, Israel.

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6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.--KJV

6 So the Israelites became very poor because of Midian and cried out to the LORD for help.--GW

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And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites—this is the purpose of Gods punishments; to call his to repentance, so that they may seek help from Him. The Israelites were reduced to a very low condition, where they faced starvation because the Midianites and the other children of the east that joined with them to live by plunder (long before this, the Sabeans and Chaldeans had plundered Job) made frequent incursions into the land of Canaan, destroying the fruits of the earth, year after year. This fruitful land was a great temptation to them; and the sloth and luxury into which the Israelites had sunk after forty years’ rest made them and their substance an easy prey to them.

And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord— Israel’s sense of God’s hand revived at last. For seven years, year after year, the Midianites made these inroads upon them, each one, we may suppose was worse than the other (v. 1), until at last, all other helps failing, Israel cried unto the Lord, for crying to Baal ruined them, and would not help them. When God judges he will overcome; and sinners will be made either to bend or break before him.

Their first reaction to these attacks should have been to seek God’s forgiveness and help, instead of going into dens and caves; however, better late than never; they cried, not to the idols they had served; but to Jehovah the God of the whole earth, and who was in a special sense their God, though they had forsaken him.

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7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
8 That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;
10 And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.--KJV

7 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help because of what the Midianites had done to them, 8 the LORD sent a prophet to them. He said, “This is what the LORD God of Israel says:
I brought you out of Egypt. I took you away from slavery. 9 I rescued you from the power of the Egyptians and from the power of those who oppressed you. I forced people out of your way. I gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God. You must never fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you will live.' But you have not obeyed me.”--GW

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Here goes Israel again, whining and complaining. But God is gracious and good. A prophet came and told them why they were in their present condition. They cried out to God, and God in mercy sent them another judge.

And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, because of the Midianites. Because of the oppressions and bad treatment of them by the Midianites, and not because of their sins, which had brought those evils on them, of which, at present, they seemed not to be practical; and yet such was the goodness and compassion of God to them, that having a mind to deliver them, he immediately, on their crying to him, sends them a messenger to bring them to a awareness of their sins, and prepare them for the deliverance he designed to work for them. Observe the notice God took of the cries of Israel, when at long last they were directed towards him. Though, in their prosperity they had neglected him and courted his rivals, and though they never sought after God until they were driven to it by extreme hardship, yet, because of their complaining and prayers, he intended relief for them. Thus would He show how ready He is to forgive, how swift he is to show mercy, and how inclined to hear prayer, so that sinners may be encouraged to return and repent [28](Ps. 130:4) .

That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel. When Israel cried out to the Lord for help, He sent them a prophet to remind them of their idolatry. He reminded them that God had delivered them from the Egyptians and other oppressors, urging them to not fear the gods of the Amorites. However, the oppression is viewed by the writer of Judges as the means of God’s disciplining His people for idolatry, because they have not obeyed His voice. There can be no doubt that the prophet was reminding them that they did not deserve deliverance because of their repeated relapses into idolatry. He did not say, however, that there would be no such deliverance.

"A man, a prophet", as he is called in the Hebrew text, not an angel, but a man; and he is not Phinehas as some Jewish writers say; for it is not probable that he could live for more than two hundred years; and had he been living, it is more likely that he would not have been heard of in the times of the preceding judges, and that he was not made use of before now to scold the people for their sins. But it is more likely that it was some prophet or teacher raised up by the Lord to warn and instruct them. Such were his witnesses, and they were raised up from time to time to declare the counsel of God to his rebellious people. Abarbinel supposes he was raised up for a short time. But we are not told who the prophet was; we have no account either now or hereafter, here or elsewhere.

Now observe the method God took of working deliverance for them.
• Before he sent an angel to raise them up a savior, He sent a prophet to convict them of their sin, and to bring them to repentance. This prophet is not named, but he was a man, a prophet, not an angel, as [29]ch. 2:1 . Whether this prophet took an opportunity of delivering his message to the children of Israel when they had met together in a general assembly, at some solemn feast or other great occasion, or whether he went from city to city and from tribe to tribe, preaching this message, is not certain; but his errand was to convince them of sin, so that, in their crying to the Lord, they might confess their sin with sorrow and shame, and not waste their breath by only complaining of their trouble.
• They cried to God for a deliverer, and God sent them a prophet to instruct them, and to make them ready for deliverance.
Note,
(1.) We have reason to hope that God is planning mercy for us, if we find he is by his grace preparing us for it. If to those that are sick he sends a messenger, an interpreter, by whom he shows unto man his uprightness, then he is gracious, and grants a recovery [30](Job 33:23, 24) .
(2.) The sending of prophets to a people, and the furnishing of a land with faithful ministers, is a token for good, and evidence that God has mercy in store for them. He thus turns us to him, and then causes his face to shine [31](Ps. 80:19) .

Which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage. He came in the name of the Lord and using the approach and manner of speech that was used by the prophets of Israel that came before him, he put them in mind of the true God they had forgot, and who was still their Lord and God. He reminded them of the benefits they received from God, and the obligations they lay under to serve him, who, when they were bond slaves in Egypt, he appeared for them, and brought them out of their miserable condition.

And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you. He brought them out of Egypt, where they would have continued in perpetual poverty and slavery, if He would have ignored their cries for deliverance. Even after they were brought out of Egypt, when the Egyptians pursued after them, and overtook them at the Red sea; where they were in the utmost danger, and the Lord skillfully saved them, by making them a safe passage through it, and destroyed the Egyptians in it. Furthermore, He delivered them out of the hands of all that oppressed them (the Amalekites who made war with them at Rephidim, Sihon, and Og, kings of the Amorites, who came out to fight with them, and oppose their passage through their land into Canaan, and the kings of the Canaanites also, who combined against them); this is mentioned to imply that the reason why they were not now delivered out of the hands of the oppressing Midianites was not due to the absence of any power or good-will on God’s part, but because they had sold themselves by their wickedness, and God would not redeem them until they repented and turned to him.

And drave them out from before you, and gave you their land. It was not only the land of Sihon and Og, but the whole land of Canaan that it can be said that He drove out the inhabitants of these territories. He put them in quiet possession of this good land; this not only aggravated their sin, and revealed their base ingratitude, but it justified God, and cleared him of blame for the trouble they were now in. They could not say He was unkind, for he had given all possible proofs of his love and good will for them; if they meet with troubles, they have only themselves to thank for it.

He sets before them the great things God had done for them; but now he turns to their rebellion and lack of respect for how He had looked after them. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; they had worshipped the gods of the nations, as if they had had no God of their own to worship and therefore might choose whom they pleased; but they are reminded here of one whom they had forgotten, who was known by the title of the God of Israel, and to him they must return. They had turned to other gods, as if their own had been either incapable or unwilling to protect them, and therefore they are told what he did for their fathers, in whose loins they were, the benefit of which descended and still remained to this their ungrateful seed.

And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell. He was the covenant God of them and their fathers, and they should not have owned idols and acknowledged any other god besides Him. They had shown themselves to be unfaithful; therefore, he shows the easiness and fairness of God’s demands and expectations for them: "I am the Lord your God, to whom you lie under the highest obligations, fear not the gods of the Amorites,’’ that is, "do not worship them, or show any respect to them; do not worship them for fear of their doing you any hurt, for what hurt can they do you while I am your God? Fear God and you need not fear them.”

But ye have not obeyed my voice. He charges them with rebellion against God, who had laid this injunction upon them: But you have not obeyed my voice. The charge is short, but very comprehensive; this was the malignity of all their sin, it was disobedience to God; and therefore it was this that brought those calamities upon them under which they were now groaning. He intends here to bring them to repentance; and our repentance is right and genuine when sin, in the form of disobedience to God, is what we chiefly grieve over.


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[1](Heb. 11.32) “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:”
[2](Jg. 6.13) “And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
[3](Jg. 6.17) “And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.”
[4](Jg. 6.36) “And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,”
[5](Mark 9:22–23) “And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” 
[6](Jg. 6.27) “Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.”
[7](Jg. 6.12) “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.”
[8](Jn. 1.42) “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” Cephas. This is a Syriac word, meaning the same as the Greek word Peter, a stone. Matthew 16:17. The stone, or rock, is a symbol of firmness and steadiness of character-a trait in Peter's character after the ascension of Jesus that was very remarkable. Before the death of Jesus he was rash, headstrong, fickle; and it is one proof of the omniscience of Jesus that he saw that Peter would possess a character that would be expressed appropriately by the word stone or rock.—Barnes' Notes on the New Testament
[9](Jg. 6.23) “Then the Lord said to him, "Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die."
[10(Phil. 4:4–9) “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
[11]Apostasy (pronounced /əˈpɒstəsi/) is the formal religious disaffiliation, abandonment, or renunciation of one's religion, especially if the motive is deemed unworthy. In a technical sense, it is as used sometimes by sociologists without the depreciative and disparaging connotations of the word; the term refers to renunciation and criticism of, or opposition to, one's former religion. One who commits apostasy is an apostate, or one who apostatizes. 
[12](Numbers 31:1-18) 1 Then the LORD said to Moses,2 “On behalf of the people of Israel, take revenge on the Midianites for leading them into idolatry. After that, you will die and join your ancestors.”3 So Moses said to the people, “Choose some men, and arm them to fight the LORD’s war of revenge against Midian.4 From each tribe of Israel, send 1,000 men into battle.”5 So they chose 1,000 men from each tribe of Israel, a total of 12,000 men armed for battle.6 Then Moses sent them out, 1,000 men from each tribe, and Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest led them into battle. They carried along the holy objects of the sanctuary and the trumpets for sounding the charge.7 They attacked Midian as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men.8 All five of the Midianite kings—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.9 Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder.10 They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived.11 After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals,12 they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho.13 Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp.14 But Moses was furious with all the generals and captains who had returned from the battle.15 “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded.16 “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people.17 So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man.18 Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.
[13](Numbers 31:1, 2) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.” The Lord spake unto Moses, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites -- a semi-nomad people, descended from Abraham and Keturah, occupying a tract of country east and southeast of Moab, which lay on the eastern coast of the Dead Sea. They seem to have been the principal instigators of the infamous scheme of seduction, planned to entrap the Israelites into the double crime of idolatry and licentiousness (lacking legal or moral restraints)  [Nu 25:1-3, 17, 18] by which, it was hoped, the Lord would withdraw from that people the benefit of His protection and favor. Moreover, the Midianites had rendered themselves particularly obnoxious by entering into a hostile league with the Amorites (Jos 13:21). The Moabites were at this time spared in consideration of Lot (De 2:9) and because the measure of their iniquities was not yet full. God spoke of avenging "the children of Israel" (Nu 31:2); Moses spoke of avenging the Lord (Nu 31:3), as dishonor had been done to God and an injury inflicted on His people. The interests were identical. God and His people have the same cause, the same friends, and the same assailants. This, in fact, was a religious war, undertaken by the express command of God against idolaters, who had seduced the Israelites to practice their abominations.
[14](Num. 22.4) “So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.”
[15]Providence—God's foreseeing protection and care of his creatures.
[16]Froward—Stubbornly contrary and disobedient; obstinate.
[17](Lev. 26:21, 24) “And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to sins…Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.” 
[18](Num.22.4) “And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the your ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.”
[19](Num. 31.7) “And they warred against the Midianites, just as the LORD commanded Moses, and they killed all the males.” they slew all the males -- This was in accordance with a divine order in all such cases (De 20:13). But the destruction appears to have been only partial -- limited to those who were in the neighborhood of the Hebrew camp and who had been accomplices in the villainous plot of Baal-peor (Nu 25:1-3), while a large portion of the Midianites were absent; And they warred against the Midianites, just as the LORD commanded Moses, and they killed all the males. 
[20](Deu. 32:21) “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” those which are not a people -- that is, not favored with such great and peculiar privileges as the Israelites (or, rather poor, despised heathens). The language points to the future calling of the Gentiles.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
[21](1 Samuel 13:6) “When the Israelites saw that they were in trouble, they went to hide in caves and bushes, among the rocks, and in pits and wells.”
[22](Jg, 6.33) “All the Midianites, the Amalekites, and other peoples from the east joined together and came across the Jordan River and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.” 
[23](Hos. 2:8, 9) “For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.” God says that He will judge Israel. I think we can apply the same thing to our own nation. We entered into difficult times beginning in World War I because we thought we were such a sophisticated nation. We have become so sophisticated that we think homosexuality should be considered normal in our society. We don’t like to punish murderers anymore; we would rather accept them into our society. God calls murder and homosexuality sin, and He says that when these things become prevalent in a nation it is a sign that the nation is going down the tube. We have too many judges who know a great deal about the law but know nothing about how God overrules even the laws of a nation, especially when the laws are wrong and the wrong men sit on the benches of our judicial system.
[24](Jos. 24:13) “I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” Now the people of Israel are settled in the land. But, because they did not get rid of the civilization that was there, they are surrounded by idolatry. They are in real danger. Realizing this, Joshua calls them to a real dedication to God, a turning over of their lives completely to Him.
[25](Ps. 105:44) “He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, And they inherited the labor of the nations.”
[26](Isaiah 60:6) “The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD.”
camels -- laden with merchandise; the camel is "the ship of the desert" (compare Isa 30:6).
cover thee -- so many of them shall there be.
dromedaries -- They have one hump on the back, whereas the camel has two: distinguished for swiftness (Jer 2:23).
Midian -- east of the Elanitic branch of the Red Sea, and stretching northward along Mount Seir. Associated with the Ishmaelites in traffic (Ge 37:25, 28).
Ephah -- part of Midian, east of the Dead Sea. It abounded in camels (Judges 6:5).
Sheba -- in Arabia-Felix, famed for frankincense and gold (Ps 72:15 Jer 6:20), which they traded in (Isa 45:14 Job 6:19 Eze 27:22).—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
[27](Job 1:3) “His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.”
[28](Ps. 130:4) “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” But there is forgiveness with thee—Thou canst forgive; mercy belongs to thee, as well as judgment. The doctrine here is the doctrine of St. John: "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord hath spoken!" Jesus has died for our sins; therefore God can be just, and yet the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
[29](Jg. 2:1) “And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.” I believe that the “angel of the Lord” is none other than the pre–incarnate Christ. God appeared in a form that could be perceived by the human senses.
[30](Job 33:23, 24) “If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: 24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.”
[31](Ps. 80:19) “Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
Turn as again—Redeem us from this captivity.
O Lord God of hosts—Thou who hast all power in heaven and earth, the innumerable hosts of both worlds being at thy command.
Cause thy face to shine—Let us know that thou art reconciled to us. Let us once more enjoy thy approbation. Smile upon thy poor rebels, weary of their sins, and prostrate at thy feet, imploring mercy.
And we shall be saved—From the power and oppression of the Chaldeans, from the guilt and condemnation of our sins, and from thy wrath and everlasting displeasure. Thus, O God, save US!—Adam Clarke's Commentary
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