Judges 8:22
Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, Rule you over us, both you, and your son, and your son's son also: for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.
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(22) Then the men of Israel.—Here begins the third great phase of the life of Gideon. which was characterised by his noblest act—the refusal of the kingdom—and his most questionable act—the setting up of a schismatic worship.

Rule thou over us.—The energy and success of Gideon had shown them the advantage of united action under one great leader; but they forgot that Gideon had received a special call from God. and that, as Gideon reminded them. God was their king. Yet no doubt the memory of Gideon deepened the wish which Samuel was afterwards commanded to grant (2Samuel 8:5-7; 2Samuel 12:12; 2Samuel 12:17).

Jdg 8:22. Rule thou over us — Not as a judge, for as such he already ruled over them, but as a king; both thou and thy son, &c. — Let the kingdom be hereditary to thee and to thy family. For thou hast delivered us — This miraculous and extraordinary deliverance by thy hands deserves no less from us.8:22-28 Gideon refused the government the people offered him. No good man can be pleased with any honour done to himself, which belongs only to God. Gideon thought to keep up the remembrance of this victory by an ephod, made of the choicest of the spoils. But probably this ephod had, as usual, a teraphim annexed to it, and Gideon intended this for an oracle to be consulted. Many are led into false ways by one false step of a good man. It became a snare to Gideon himself, and it proved the ruin of the family. How soon will ornaments which feed the lust of the eye, and form the pride of life, as well as tend to the indulgences of the flesh, bring shame on those who are fond of them!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. 22, 23. the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us … Gideon said unto them, the Lord shall rule over you—Their unbounded admiration and gratitude prompted them, in the enthusiasm of the moment, to raise their deliverer to a throne, and to establish a royal dynasty in his house. But Gideon knew too well, and revered too piously the principles of the theocracy, to entertain the proposal for a moment. Personal and family ambition was cheerfully sacrificed to a sense of duty, and every worldly motive was kept in check by a supreme regard to the divine honor. He would willingly act as judge, but the Lord alone was King of Israel. Rule thou over us; not as a judge, for that he was already made by God; but as a king; and let the kingdom be hereditary to thee and to thy family. This miraculous and glorious deliverance by thy hands deserves no less from us. Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon,.... Some time after his return, the chief men of Israel having met in a body, and consulted matters among themselves, sent a deputation to Gideon with an offer of the government of them:

rule thou over us, both thou and thy son, and thy son's son also; by which they meant, that he would take the kingly government of them, and which they proposed to settle in his posterity for ages to come; for, as a judge in Israel, he had a sort of rule and government of them under God already, but amounted not to regal power and authority; and this was what the people of Israel were fond of, that they might be like their neighbours; and this they tempted Gideon with, who had done such very wonderful and extraordinary things for them, which they allege as a reason:

for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian; from the bondage they were in to them, and therefore fit to be a king over them.

Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy {m} son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.

(m) That is, thy posterity.

22–28. Gideon refuses the kingship: he sets up an ephod: conclusion

22. the men of Israel] Not the 300 of Jdg 8:4-21, but the men who formed the army Jdg 7:14, Jdg 9:55, the Israelites drawn from Ephraim, Manasseh, and the neighbouring tribes Jdg 7:23. Thus Jdg 8:22-23 are probably not the sequel of Jdg 7:4-21, nor of Jdg 7:1-3, for the Ephraimites shewed anything but a disposition to make Gideon king; so these verses appear to come from a source secondary to the two main documents (see p. 69). The offer of the kingship shews that Gideon’s exploit was more than the avenging of a private wrong (Jdg 7:4-21); he had saved his countrymen; as king it would be his duty to save them still.Verses 22, 23. - Rule thou, etc. The gratitude of Israel to their great deliverer, added to a sense that it would be for their own security, and to a desire, already perhaps beginning to he felt, to be like the nations around them (1 Samuel 8:5), naturally led to the offer, "Rule thou over us." But the time predicted by Moses (Deuteronomy 17:14, 15) was not yet come. And so Gideon returned an answer replete with moderation and piety: "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you" (cf. 1 Samuel 8:7; 1 Samuel 10:19; 1 Samuel 12:12). Gideon then reproached the elders with the insult they had offered him (Judges 8:6), and had them punished with desert thorns and thistles. "Men of Succoth" (Judges 8:15 and Judges 8:16) is a general expression for "elders of Succoth" (Judges 8:16); and elders a general term applied to all the representatives of the city, including the princes. אתי חרפתּם אשׁר, with regard to whom ye have despised me. אשׁר is the accusative of the more distant or second object, not the subject, as Stud. supposes. "And he taught the men of Succoth (i.e., caused them to know, made them feel, punished them) with them (the thorns)." There is no good ground for doubting the correctness of the reading ויּדע. The free renderings of the lxx, Vulg., etc., are destitute of critical worth; and Bertheau's assertion, that if it were the Hiphil it would be written יודע, is proved to be unfounded by the defective writing in Numbers 16:5; Job 32:7.
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