|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:25-32 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.
Verse 25. - The grove. See Judges 3:7. The size of the asherah is indicated by the order in ver. 26 to use it for the altar fire.
CHAPTER 6:25-32 Verse 25. - The same night, etc. The iron was hot; it was time to strike. As regards what follows, there are two ways of understanding the verse. One, that of the A.V., supposes that only one bullock is spoken of, and that "the young bullock" belonging to Joash is further described as "even the second bullock of seven years old;" to which it is objected that a bullock of seven years old is not "a young bullock," "the bullock of an ox," as the Hebrew phrase is, and that there is no explanation of the meaning of "the second bullock;" and that the Hebrew manifestly describes two bullocks:
(1) Joash's young bullock, and
(2) the bullock of seven years old.
The other supposes two bullocks, and instead of has the more natural rendering and. The only objection to this, by far the most natural rendering, is that Gideon is not told what to do with the first bullock. But it is a simple explanation that the two bullocks were used in the laborious work of demolishing the altar of Baal, and removing the earth and the stone to build the altar of the Lord, and that when the work was finished one of the bullocks - the seven-year-old - was sacrificed. For the grove see Judges 3:7, note.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass the same night,.... The night which followed the day in which the angel appeared to Gideon as he was threshing:
that the Lord said unto him; perhaps in a dream, since it was in the night: take thy father's young bullock: or "the bullock, the ox" (p); a bullock which was a large grown ox, and was not only his father's property, but what his father designed and set apart for the service of Baal; and though it was his father's, yet having a divine warrant for it, it was sufficient for him to take it without his leave, and especially as it was designed for such an ill use:
even the second bullock of seven years old; which, according to Hesiod (q) is in its prime and full strength at nine years old, and lives much longer. In Homer (r), one of five years old is said to be sacrificed: this further describes what he was to take, the second that stood in the stall of the bullocks, or that drew in the second row at plough, or the second in age and value, or the second that was set apart for the service of Baal; though the words may be rendered, "and the second bullock" (s); besides that of his father's, he was to take another, which perhaps belonged to the people, and was the second in birth or age with respect to the former, being seven years old; or, as the Targum is, that had been fatted seven years, and had been so long preparing for the sacrifice of Baal; which was as long as the tyranny of the Midianites over them, and was occasioned by the idolatry of the people of Israel; and such a bullock was ordered to be taken with respect to that, and to show that it would end with the sacrifice of this creature:
and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath; upon his ground, in some part of his possessions, and perhaps built at his own expense, though for public use:
and cut down the grove that is by it; or "about it", as the Vulgate Latin version; it being usual with the Heathens to plant groves near or around their altars and temples where religious worship was performed; partly to make them more pleasant and venerable, and partly for the commission of deeds which would not bear the light; or "over it", for they were commonly tall trees which grew over the altar they erected. Some render it, "upon it" (t), and understand by it an idol placed on it: so the Arabic version is,"cut down the female idol Asira (perhaps the same with Astarte), which is upon the same altar;''and so the Syriac version to the same purpose, which calls it the idol Estere, set upon the altar.
(p) "juvencum bovem", Drusius; "juvencum adultiorem", Junius & Tremellius. (q) Opera & dies, l. 2. ver. 54. 55. (r) Iliad. 2. ver. 403. & Iliad. 7. ver. 35. (s) "et juvencum alium", Tigurine version; "et alterum taurum", V. L. "et juvencum secundum", Pagninus, Montanus. (t) , Sept. "super illud", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
6:25 The second bullock - He was to offer one for himself, the other for the sins of the people, whom he was to deliver. 'Till sin be pardoned thro' the great sacrifice, no good is to be expected. Thy father hath - Which thy father built in his own ground, tho' for the common use of the city. The grove - Planted by the altar for idolatrous uses, as the manner of idolaters was. This action might seem injurious to his father's authority; but God's command was a sufficient warrant, and Gideon was now called to be the supreme magistrate, whereby he was made his father's superior, and was authorized to root out all idolatry, and the instruments thereof.
Judges 6:25 Parallel Commentaries
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