Judges 8:17
And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.
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(17) Beat down the tower.—The importance of the place led to its re-fortification by Jeroboam (1Kings 12:25).

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 men of the city - Perhaps the rulers; who, it is likely, had possession of the tower or citadel, and so could tyrannize over the people. Gideon killed the great men, and beat down their towers, but did not injure the inhabitants. 16. he took … the thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth—By refusing his soldiers refreshment, they had committed a public crime, as well as an act of inhumanity, and were subjected to a horrible punishment, which the great abundance and remarkable size of the thorn bushes, together with the thinness of clothing in the East, has probably suggested. No text from Poole on this verse. And he beat down the tower of Penuel,.... As he threatened he would, Judges 8:9 whether this was before or after he had chastised the elders of Succoth, is not clear; one would think by the course he steered going from Succoth to Penuel, as he went, he should come to Penuel first at his return; however, he demolished their tower in which they trusted:

and slew the men of the city; perhaps they might, as Kimchi conjectures, resist when he went about to beat down their tower; on which a fray might ensue, in which they were slain; or they might upon his approach, sensible of the offence they had given him, fly to their tower for safety, and were killed in it when that was beaten down about them. In what manner this was done is not said; no doubt they had instruments in those days for demolishing such edifices.

And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.
17. Gideon’s revenge strikes us as vindictive. In return for some jeering words he treated these towns, which no doubt contained many of his own countrymen, with a barbarity which is altogether absent from his execution of the Midianite kings, who had murdered his brothers and plundered his home. We must allow for the rough and passionate temper of the age, and for the exasperating lack of patriotism in the two towns; cf. Jdg 5:23.Verse 17. - He slew the men of the city. This makes it probable that the threshing of the men of Succoth was a capital punishment, as there is no reason why the men of Penuel should be more severely punished than the men of Succoth. The Midianitish kings were at Karkor with all the remnant of their army, about fifteen thousand men, a hundred and twenty thousand having already fallen. Gideon followed them thither by the road of the dwellers in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbeha; and falling upon them unawares, smote the whole camp, which thought itself quite secure, and took the two kings prisoners, after discomfiting all the camp. The situation of Karkor, which is only mentioned here, cannot be determined with certainty. The statement of Eusebius and Jerome (Onom. s. v. Καρκὰ, Carcar), that it was the castle of Carcaria, a day's journey from Petra, is decidedly wrong, since this castle is much too far to the south, as Gesenius (Thes. p. 1210) has shown. Karkor cannot have been very far from Nobah and Jogbeha. These two places are probably preserved in the ruins of Nowakis and Jebeiha, on the north-west of Ammn (Rabbath-ammon; see at Numbers 21:31). Now, as Burckhardt (Syr. p. 612) also mentions a ruin in the neighbourhood, called Karkagheisch, on the left of the road from Szalt to Ammn, and at the most an hour and a half to the north-west of Ammn, Knobel (on Numbers 32:42) is inclined to regard this ruin as Karkor. If this supposition could be proved to be correct, Gideon would have fallen upon the camp of the enemy from the north-east. For "the way of the dwellers in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbeha" cannot well be any other than the way which ran to the east of Nobah and Jogbeha, past the most easterly frontier city of the Gadites, to the nomads who dwelt in the desert. באללים השּׁכוּני has the article attached to the governing noun, which may easily be explained in this instance from the intervening preposition. The passive participle שׁכוּן has an intransitive force (see Ewald, 149, a.). The verb החריד in the circumstantial clause acquires the force of the pluperfect from the context. When he had startled the camp out of its security, having alarmed it by his unexpected attack, he succeeded in taking the two kings prisoners.
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