Judges 8:13
And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Before the sun was up.—If the rendering were certain, it would prove that he had made a night attack on Karkor; but it seems more probable that the words should be rendered “from the ascent of Heres,” or “of Hechares,” as in the LXX., Peshito, and Arabic. If so, it implies that he came round by some other road to attack Succoth. The word for “going up” is maaleh, as in Maaleh Ahrabbim, “the ascent of scorpions” (see Note on Judges 1:36), which is also applied to sunrise. (Genesis 19:15.) It cannot possibly mean “before sunset” (ehe die Sonne heraufgekommen war), as Luther renders it, following the Chaldee and various Rabbis. The ordinary word for “sun” is shemesh, not cheres; but the latter word occurs in various names (see on Judges 1:35; Judges 2:9), which makes it perhaps more probable that this also is the name of some place. It might, indeed, be prudent for Gideon to desist from further pursuit when the dawn revealed the paucity and exhaustion of his followers; and in poetic style (Job 9:7) cheres may mean “sun,” so that here the phrase might be an archaism, as cheresah is in Judges 14:18; but the preposition used (min) cannot mean “before.” Aquila renders it “from the ascent of the groves” and Symmachus “of the mountains;” but this is only due to a defective reading.

Jdg 8:13. Gideon returned before the sun was up — By which it may be gathered, that he came upon them in the night, which was most convenient for him who had so small a number with him, and most likely to terrify them by the remembrance of the last night’s sad work. It must be acknowledged, however, that different interpretations are given of this passage. The Seventy, the Syriac, and Arabic versions take החרס, hechares, here rendered sun, for the name of a place, in which they are followed by Houbigant, who translates the words, By that place which is above Hares. It is well known, however, that the word just quoted does properly mean the sun, and is so translated in other passages of Scripture, and the translating it so here both gives a more important sense to the passage, and is more agreeable to the context than the amendment proposed.8:13-17 The active servants of the Lord meet with more dangerous opposition from false professors than from open enemies; but they must not care for the behaviour of those who are Israelites in name, but Midianites in heart. They must pursue the enemies of their souls, and of the cause of God, though they are ready to faint through inward conflicts and outward hardships. And they shall be enabled to persevere. The less men help, and the more they seek to hinder, the more will the Lord assist. Gideon's warning being slighted, the punishment was just. Many are taught with the briers and thorns of affliction, who would not learn otherwise.Before the sun was up - The translation of the words is doubtful, because of the rarity of the word rendered "sun" (חרס cheres). Many suppose it to be the name of a mountain pass, and render it from the ascent of Heres. 13. Gideon returned from battle before the sun was up—He seems to have returned by a nearer route to Succoth, for what is rendered in our version "before the sun was up," means "the heights of Heres, the sun-hills." By which it may be gathered that he came upon them in the night, which was most convenient for him, who had so small a number with him; and most likely both to surprise and terrify them by the remembrance of the last night’s sad work, and the expectation of another like it. And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle,.... To Penuel and Succoth, to chastise them for their ill treatment of him and his men:

before the sun was up; by which it appears that it was in the night that he fell upon the host at Karkor, which must be the night following; it could not be the same night in which he had defeated them in the valley of Jezreel; though Vatablus thinks this battle was begun and finished in one night; but there were, according to this history, so many things done after the first defeat, as sending messengers to Mount Ephraim and the Ephraimites, upon the taking the fords of Jordan, and bringing the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, expostulating with him, and his answer to them, and his stay at Succoth and Penuel; which make it more probable that the day following was spent in the pursuit, and that it was the night after that that the whole affair was finished; and before sunrise Gideon returned to Penuel and Succoth again; so Ben Gersom and Abarbinel; but according to the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, this phrase is to be rendered, "before the sunset", while it yet appeared, and was above the horizon; and so it must be in the daytime that he pursued the two kings and took them, and returned before sunset. Abendana observes the word for "sun" may be the name of a place, and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions call it the ascent of Ares or Heres; as if it was the name of the place from whence Gideon returned, so called in like manner as the ascent of Akrabbim, and the like.

And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle {i} before the sun was up,

(i) Some read, the sun being yet high.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. from the ascent of Heres] So LXX. A and Luc., with a slight correction of the text; or upwards to Heres, with further corrections. The word Ḥeres = ‘the sun’ lends itself to various experiments, which are to be seen in the Versions. The general sense of the verse seems to be that Gideon returned from the battle by some different way.Verse 13. - Before the sun was up. There is a wonderful diversity in the renderings of this verse. Some of the old versions and Jewish Rabbis interpret it before sunset. Many of the best Jewish commentators, however, understand the phrase as the A.V. does - "Before the going up of the sun," i.e. before sunrise; supposing Gideon's attack on the Midianitish camp to have been a night attack, and Succoth to have been so near to Karkor that he was able to reach it by sunrise. But others say that the word here rendered sun (heres) is only used in poetry, and that the word rendered up is never used of sunrise, but, as, in the phrase "the going up of Akrabbim" (Judges 1:36), of an ascent up a hill. They therefore take heres as a proper name, and translate "from the going up of Hems." Others again, by an almost imperceptible change in the last letter, read "the mountains" instead of Heres. But the A.V. may be well defended, and gives an excellent sense. In Judges 14:18 the same word for the sun is used in the very similar phrase, "before the sun went down." In Genesis 19:15 the phrase, "the morning arose," has the verb from which the word here rendered up is derived; and a note of time here exactly suits the context. It marks the celerity of Gideon's move. ments that he was actually on his way back to Succoth at sunrise, after having routed the Midianites and taken their two kings prisoners. Gideon threatened them, therefore, with severe chastisement in the event of a victorious return. "If Jehovah give Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will thresh your flesh (your body) with desert thorns and thistles." The verb דּוּשׁ, constructed with a double accusative (see Ewald, 283, _.), is used in a figurative sense: "to thresh," in other words, to punish severely. "Thorns of the desert" as strong thorns, as the desert is the natural soil for thorn-bushes. The ἁπ. λεγ. בּרקנים also signifies prickly plants, according to the early versions and the Rabbins, probably "such as grow upon stony ground" (Bertheau). The explanation "threshing machines with stones or flints underneath them," which was suggested by J. D. Michaelis and Celsius, and adopted by Gesenius, cannot be sustained.
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