Judges 8:21
Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.
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(21) Rise thou, and fall upon us.—They deprecated the pain and shame of falling by the irresolute hands of a boy.

For as the man . . . his strength.Deuteronomy 33:25. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

Ornaments.Saharonim, “little moons,” crescent-shaped ornaments of gold and silver, still in common use to decorate animals. Isaiah 3:18, “round tires like the moon.” “Niveo lunata monilia dente” (Stat. Theb. ix. 689). After one of his battles Mohammed found a slain camel adorned with these lunulœ and with strings of emeralds. The Roman senators (for another reason) wore silver crescents on their shoes.

Jdg 8:21. Rise thou, and fall upon us — They thought it better to die by the hand of Gideon, who was as eminent for his strength as his dignity, and would despatch them with more speed than a stripling could.

8:18-21 The kings of Midian must be reckoned with. As they confessed themselves guilty of murder, Gideon acted as the avenger of blood, being the next of kin to the persons slain. Little did they think to have heard of this so long after; but murder seldom goes unpunished in this life. Sins long forgotten by man, must be accounted for to God. What poor consolation in death from the hope of suffering less pain, and of dying with less disgrace than some others! yet many are more anxious on these accounts, than concerning the future judgment, and what will follow.The ornaments - See marg. and compare Isaiah 3:18. The custom of adorning the necks of their camels with gold chains and ornaments prevailed among the Arabs so late as the time of Mahomet. 20. he said unto Jether his first-born, Up, and slay them—The nearest of kin was the blood-avenger; but a magistrate might order any one to do the work of the executioner; and the person selected was always of a rank equal or proportioned to that of the party doomed to suffer (1Ki 2:29). Gideon intended, then, by the order to Jether, to put an honor on his son, by employing him to slay two enemies of his country; and on the youth declining, he performed the bloody deed himself. As the man is, so is his strength: thou excellest him, as in age and stature, so in strength; and it is more honourable, as well as easy, to dig by the hands of a valiant man.

Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, rise thou and fall upon us,.... Since they must die, they chose rather to die by the hand of so great a man and valiant a commander as Gideon, which was more honourable than to die by the hand of a youth:

for as the man is, so is his strength; signifying, that as he was a stout able man, he had strength sufficient to dispatch them at once, which his son had not, and therefore they must have died a lingering and painful death: wherefore as they consulted their honour, so their ease, in desiring to die by the hand of Gideon:

and Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna; nor was it unusual in those early times for great personages, as judges and generals, to be executioners of others, as were Samuel and Benaiah, 1 Samuel 15:33.

and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks; the Targum calls them chains, as in Judges 8:26 no doubt of gold; so the horses of King Latinus (b) had golden poitrels or collars hanging down their breasts. They were, according to Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Gersom, in the form of the moon; see Isaiah 3:18 some have thought that these were worn in honour of Astarte, or the moon, the goddess of the Phoenicians, from whom these people had borrowed that idolatry.

(b) Virg. Aeneid. l. 7. v. 278.

Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for {l} as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.

(l) Meaning, that they would be freed from their pain at once, or else have a valiant man put them to death.

21. The chiefs reply with undaunted spirit like true sons of the desert: as the man is, so is his strength, i.e. a man has a man’s strength (Moore); but the word so is not expressed in the terse Hebrew.

crescents] lit. moons, metal ornaments worn not only by the kings but by their camels, Jdg 8:26, and by the women of Jerusalem, Isaiah 3:18. The name is not Israelite, nor is it the ordinary word for ‘moon’; it is related to the old Aramaic name of the moon-god (sahar).

Verse 21. - The ornaments. Literally, little moons, crescent-shaped ornaments of gold and silver, which as well as "chains" (ver. 26) were hung as ornaments on their camels' necks (cf. Judges 5:30). It would seem from ver. 26 that the kings themselves also wore these ornaments; and in Isaiah 3:18 they are enumerated among the articles of female attire - round tires like the moon, A.V.

CHAPTER 8:22-35 Judges 8:21After punishing these cities, Gideon repaid the two kings of Midian, who had been taken prisoners, according to their doings. From the judicial proceedings instituted with regard to them (Judges 8:18, Judges 8:19), we learn that these kings had put the brothers of Gideon to death, and apparently not in open fight; but they had murdered them in an unrighteous and cruel manner. And Gideon made them atone for this with their own lives, according to the strict jus talionis. איפה, in Judges 8:18, does not mean where? but "in what condition, of what form, were the men whom he slew at Tabor?" i.e., either in the city of Tabor or at Mount Tabor (see Judges 4:6, and Joshua 19:22). The kings replied: "As thou so they" (those men), i.e., they were all as stately as thou art, "every one like the form of kings' sons." אחד, one, for every one, like אחד אישׁ in 2 Kings 15:20, or more frequently אישׁ alone. As the men who had been slain were Gideon's own brothers, he swore to those who had done the deed, i.e., to the two kings, "As truly as Jehovah liveth, if ye had let them live I should not have put you to death;" and then commanded his first-born son Jether to slay them, for the purpose of adding the disgrace of falling by the hand of a boy. "But the boy drew not his sword from fear, because he was yet a boy." And the kings then said to Gideon, "Rise thou and stab us, for as the man so is his strength," i.e., such strength does not belong to a boy, but to a man. Thereupon Gideon slew them, and took the little moons upon the necks of their camels as booty. "The little moons" were crescent-shaped ornaments of silver or gold, such as men and women wore upon their necks (see Judges 8:26, and Isaiah 3:18), and which they also hung upon the necks of camels-a custom still prevalent in Arabia (see Schrder, de vestitu mul. hebr. pp. 39, 40, and Wellsted, Reisen in Arab. i. p. 209).
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