Judges 6:32
Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
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(32) He called him.—Rather, people called him, he got the name of. The phrase is impersonal. (Vocatus est, Vulg.; hiess man ihn, Luther.)

Jerubbaal.—The name meant, “Let Baal strive;” but might also mean, “let it be striven with Baal,” or “Baal’s antagonist,” and this gave the name a more ready currency. It is possible that the name may have been yet more allusive, since from the Palmyrene inscriptions it appears that there was a deity named Jaribolos (Mover’s Phönizier, 1:434). If in 2Samuel 11:21 we find the name Jerubbesheth, this is only due to the fondness of the Jews for avoiding the names of idols, and changing them into terms of insult. It was thus that they literally interpreted the law of Exodus 23:13 (comp. Joshua 23:7). It was a part of that contumelia numinum with which the ancients charged them (Plin. xiii. 9). I have adduced other instances in Language and Languages, p. 232. (Longmans.) Bosheth means “shame,” i.e., “that shameful thing,” and was a term of scorn for Baal (Hosea 9:10; Jeremiah 11:13). We have two other instances of this change in the case of the sons of Saul. Whether from a faithless syncretism, or a tendency to downright apostasy, he called one of his sons Esh-baal, i.e., “man of Baal,” and another Merib-baal (1Chronicles 8:33-34); but the Jews angrily and contemptuously changed these names into Ishbosheth and Mephibosheth (2Samuel 2:10; 2Samuel 4:4). Ewald, however, and others have conjectured that both Baal and Bosheth may, at one time, have had more harmless associations (see especially 2Samuel 5:20), and it appears that there was a Baal among the ancestors of Saul (1Chronicles 8:30). The LXX. write the name Hierobalos; and Eusebius (Praep. Evang. i. 9), quoting from Philo Byblius, tells us that a Gentile historian named Sanchoniatho, of Berytus, whom he praises for his accuracy in Jewish history and geography, had received assistance “from Hierombalos, the priest of the god Iao.” Some have supposed that this is an allusion to Gideon, under the name Jerubbaal.

Jdg 6:32. He called his name Jerubbaal — That is, Let Baal plead. The meaning is, either that Joash called Gideon so, Jdg 8:1, in remembrance of this noble exploit, and to put a brand on Baal; or that his countrymen gave him this name. For, as Houbigant observes, the Hebrew may be rendered, On that day they gave him the name of Jerubbaal. It is a probable conjecture, that that Jerombalus, whom Sanchoniathon (one of the most ancient of all the heathen writers) speaks of as priest of Jao, (a corruption of Jehovah,) and to whom he was indebted for a great deal of knowledge, was this Jerubbaal.

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.He called him - i. e. "He was called" Jerubbaal, as being the person against whom it was popularly said that Baal might strive. See margin. 25. Take thy father's … second bullock—The Midianites had probably reduced the family herd; or, as Gideon's father was addicted to idolatry, the best may have been fattened for the service of Baal; so that the second was the only remaining one fit for sacrifice to God.

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].

He called him, i.e. Joash called Gideon so, Judges 7:1, in remembrance of this noble exploit, and to put a brand upon Baal.

Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal,.... That is, Joash called his son Gideon by that name; who, some think, is the same with Jerombalus, the priest of the god Jevo, or Jehovah; from whom Sanchoniatho, an ancient Phoenician writer, as Philo Byblius says (w), received the principal things in his history respecting the Jews:

saying, let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar; giving this as the reason of the name of Jerubbaal he called him by, which signifies, "let Baal plead"; let Baal plead his own cause, and avenge himself on Gideon for what he has done to him, and put him to death if he can.

(w) Apud Euseb. Evangel Praepar. l. 1. p. 31.

Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
32. on that day he called him Jerubbaal] Or with a slight change, he was called; in consequence of the foregoing episode the people give Gideon a new name. This is explained to mean ‘Let Baal contend against him’; but the explanation will not hold good, for (a) if Jerub-baal is connected with the verb rîb ‘contend,’ which is questionable, the meaning must be ‘Baal contends,’ without any further thought of ‘against him’: (b) of course Baal did not contend against Gideon, the point of the story is Baal’s impotence. The explanation given in the text rests, not upon a scientific etymology, but upon an assonance, as often elsewhere in the O.T. (e.g. Genesis 4:1, Exodus 2:10); Jerub-baal suggested the shrewd remark of Joash in Jdg 6:31, let Baal contend. Originally, no doubt, the name had quite another significance, and baal, i.e. ‘lord,’ referred to Jehovah. In early days baal could be used without offence in this way; thus we find such names as Ish-baal, Merib-baal, Baal-yada in the families of Saul and David, whose loyalty to Jehovah was above suspicion; one of David’s heroes was even called Baal-jah. But the dangerous associations of the title led the prophets to discountenance this usage (see especially Hosea 2:16), and it was given up; the names just mentioned were altered to Ish-bosheth (‘shame’), Mephi-bosheth, El-yada1[36]. Jerub-baal was allowed to stand, because the general drift of the present narrative (as distinct from the explanation given in this verse) suggested the interpretation ‘Adversary of Baal,’ cf. LXX. cod. A δικαστήριον τοῦ Βάαλ; nevertheless in 2 Samuel 11:21 the name is changed to Jerub-besheth. If the name, then, originally had nothing to do with the Canaanite Baal, and therefore was not given to Gideon in consequence of the episode related here, we can only suppose that the story grew out of a fanciful etymology. For linguistic reasons many scholars consider that Jerub-baal is not connected with the verb rîb ‘contend2[37] ,’ and that the proper spelling is Jeru-baal, i.e. ‘Baal (Jehovah) founds,’ like Jeru-el, Jeri-yahu; none of the forms in the LXX have the doubled letter (Ἀρβάαλ, Ἰαρβάλ, Ἰεροβάαλ, etc.).

[36] Cf. 1 Chronicles 9:39-40; 1 Chronicles 14:7; 1 Chronicles 12:5 with 2 Samuel 2:8; 2 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 5:16.

[37] The imperfect of rîb is not yârôb (whence jerub) but yârîb; cf. the pr. name Jeho-yarib 1 Chronicles 24:7.

Verse 32. - Jerubbaal, i.e. Jarov Baal, let Baal plead. In Judges 7:1; Judges 8:29, 35; Judges 9:1, etc., Jerubbaal is used as the synonym of Gideon, just as in English history Coeur de Lion is used as a synonym for Richard. The name Jerubbaal appears as Jerubbesheth; besheth or bosheth, meaning shame, i.e. a shameful idol, being substituted for Baal, as in the name Ishbosheth, for Eshbaal (see 2 Samuel 2:8; 1 Chronicles 8:33).

CHAPTER 6:33-40 Judges 6:32From this fact Gideon received the name of Jerubbaal, i.e., "let Baal fight (or decide," since they said, "Let Baal fight against him, for he has destroyed his altar." ירבּעל, is formed from ירב equals ירב or יריב and בּעל. This surname very soon became an honourable title for Gideon. When, for example, it became apparent to the people that Baal could not do him any harm, Jerubbaal became a Baal-fighter, one who had fought against Baal. In 2 Samuel 11:21, instead of Jerubbaal we find the name Jerubbesheth, in which Besheth equals Bosheth is a nickname of Baal, which also occurs in other Israelitish names, e.g., in Ishbosheth (2 Samuel 2:8.) for Eshbaal (1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Chronicles 9:39). The name Jerubbaal is written Ἱεροβάαλ by the lxx, from which in all probability Philo of Byblus, in his revision of Sanchuniathon, has formed his Ἱερόμβαλος, a priest of the god Ἰεύω.
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