Judges 8:14
And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described to him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even three score and seventeen men.
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(14) Caught a young man.—Comp. Judges 1:24.

Described.—Marg. writ, i.e.: the boy wrote down their names (LXX., apegrapsato; Vulg., descripsit).

Threescore and seventeen.—Perhaps a sort of local Sanhedrin of Seventy (Numbers 11:16), with their presiding sheykhs. The number shows that Succoth was a place of considerable importance.

Jdg 8:14. He described unto him, &c. — Hebrews יכתב, jichtob, he wrote down, probably the names and dwellings, and perhaps also the qualities of the great men of the city, and of the judges, who were the persons that derided Gideon, and whom alone he intended to punish, and not all the people who were not guilty.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.The written (see the margin) list would enable Gideon to punish the guilty and spare the innocent people. Succoth was governed by a sanhedrim or council of seventy elders (compare Numbers 11:16), with perhaps seven others of superior rank called princes. 14. he described—wrote the names of the seventy princes or elders. It was from them he had received so inhospitable a treatment. He told him their names and qualities. And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him,.... Just before he came to the city, he spied a young man which belonged to it, and laid hold on him, and inquired of him about the chief magistrates of the city, who they were, what their names, and their places of abode:

and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even seventy seven men; by which it appears that this was no inconsiderable city to have so many princes and elders in it; these the young man described to Gideon, what sort of men they were, what their names, and where they dwelt: or "he wrote unto him" (y); wrote down their names, and what part of the city they dwelt in; or Gideon took down in writing for himself their names and places of abode from the young man, that he might not forget: and in this Gideon showed great wisdom, and strict justice; being desirous to punish only the delinquents, and not the innocent with the wicked, the people with their rulers; for though he asked bread of the men of Succoth, the answer was returned in the ill natured manner it was by the princes.

(y) "et scripsit ad eum", Montanus, Piscator; "et scripsit sibi", Pagninus, Munster; so some in Drusius.

And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men.
14. he described for him] he wrote down (and gave) unto him. The knowledge of writing must have been widely spread even at this early period. Cf. the similar incidents in Jdg 1:24 f.; 1 Samuel 30:11-16.

the elders] Cf. Jdg 8:16; the leading inhabitants and representatives of a district or city, e.g. Jdg 11:5-11; they constituted the local authority and transacted public business, e. g. 1 Kings 21:8; 1 Kings 21:11. Elders and princes—the latter perhaps the executive of the local authority—are mentioned together in 2 Kings 10:1; Psalm 105:22; Ezra 10:8; Ezra 10:14.Verse 14. - He described. Rather, he wrote down, i.e. gave him a list of the princes and elders. The inhabitants of Pnuel on the north bank of the Jabbok (see at Genesis 32:24.) behaved in the same churlish manner to Gideon, and for this he also threatened them: "If I return in peace," i.e., unhurt, "I will destroy this tower" (probably the castle of Pnuel).
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