And they said one to another, Who has done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They said.—We are not told that Gideon’s servants betrayed his secret, but suspicion would naturally fall on so brave and prominent a worshipper of Jehovah as Gideon was; and it is rarely that actions which require so much effort and so many coadjutors can be kept secret. Gideon had proved himself to be what his name signifies—“a hewer.” A man so brave and so patriotic must have stood almost alone among a cringing and apostate people.
throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath—standing upon his ground, though kept for the common use of the townsmen.
cut down the grove that is by it—dedicated to Ashtaroth. With the aid of ten confidential servants he demolished the one altar and raised on the appointed spot the altar of the Lord; but, for fear of opposition, the work had to be done under cover of night. A violent commotion was excited next day, and vengeance vowed against Gideon as the perpetrator. "Joash, his father, quieted the mob in a manner similar to that of the town clerk of Ephesus. It was not for them to take the matter into their own hands. The one, however, made an appeal to the magistrate; the other to the idolatrous god himself" [Chalmers].
and when they inquired and asked; one and another, everyone present, or they could think of as proper to inquire of; they were very diligent and industrious to find it out; and perhaps they inquired of the family and servants of Joash and Gideon, in whose ground the altar stood:
they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing; when they had inquired of everybody they could, and thought of one person and another, there was none appeared to them more likely to have done it, than Gideon; partly because they knew he was no friend of Baal, and partly because he was a man of spirit and courage, and they concluded none but such an one would have ventured to have done it; and besides, they considered he was the son of Joash, who perhaps was their chief magistrate, and that he might presume on his father's protection, as they might surprise; and being near the premises, he was the most likely person they could think of; and it is not improbable, that upon inquiry they got it out of the servants concerned, or that had knowledge of it from them, or from some that saw him that morning at the sacrifice, or returning from it, and therefore peremptorily assert he was the man that did it.And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 29. - They said, Gideon hath, etc. No doubt one of the ten servants (ver. 27) employed by him had spoken about it.
The theophany here described resembles so far the appearance of the angel of the Lord to Abram in the grove of Mamre (Genesis 18), that he appears in perfect human form, comes as a traveller, and allows food to be set before him; but there is this essential difference between the two, that whereas the three men who came to Abraham took the food that was set before them and ate thereof - that is to say, allowed themselves to be hospitably entertained by Abraham - the angel of the Lord in the case before us did indeed accept the minchah that had been made ready for him, but only as a sacrifice of Jehovah which he caused to ascend in fire. The reason for this essential difference is to be found in the different purpose of the two theophanies. To Abraham the Lord came to seal that fellowship of grace into which He had entered with him through the covenant that He had made; but in the case of Gideon His purpose was simply to confirm the truth of His promise, that Jehovah would be with him and would send deliverance through him to His people, or to show that the person who had appeared to him was the God of the fathers, who could still deliver His people out of the power of their enemies by working such miracles as the fathers had seen. But the acceptance of the minchah prepared for Him as a sacrifice which the Lord himself caused to be miraculously consumed by fire, showed that the Lord would still graciously accept the prayers and sacrifices of Israel, if they would but forsake the worship of the dead idols of the heathen, and return to Him in sincerity. (Compare with this the similar theophany in Judges 13.)
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