And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold.—About seventy pounds of gold. This would imply a very large number of nose-rings or earrings (Genesis 24:22), and therefore a slaughter of many leading Midianites. It is analogous to the “three bushels of knights’ rings” which Mago carried to Carthage, and emptied upon the floor of the Carthaginian Senate, after the massacre of the Romans at Cannae (Liv. xxiii. 12).
Beside ornaments.—Rather, beside the golden crescents (Judges 8:21). Gideon seems to have gratified his love of vengeance, as goel, before he thought of booty.
And collars.—Marg., sweet jewels. Rather, and the eardrops (netiphoth, Isaiah 3:19). Wellsted, in his Travels in Arabia, says that the Arab women are accustomed to load themselves and their children with earrings and ornaments, of which he sometimes counted as many as fifteen on each side.
Purple raiment.—Comp. Exodus 25:4.
collars—rather, "earrings," or drops of gold or pearl.
purple—a royal color. The ancient, as well as modern Arabs, adorned the necks, breasts, and legs, of their riding animals with sumptuous housing.
besides ornaments; such as were upon the necks of the camels, Judges 8:21 for the same word is used here as there:
and collars; the Targum renders it a crown, and Ben Melech says in the Arabic language the word signifies clear crystal; but Kimchi and Ben Gersom take them to be golden vessels, in which they put "stacte", or some odoriferous liquor, and so were properly smelling bottles:
and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian; which it seems was the colour that kings wore, as they now do; so Strabo (h) says of the kings of Arabia, that they are clothed in purple:
and besides the chains that were about their camels' necks; which seem to be different from the other ornaments about them, since another word is here used; now all these seem to have been what fell to his share, as the general of the army, and not what were given him by the people.And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)26. And the weight etc.] 1700 shekels of gold by the heavy standard = nearly 75 lbs. Troy = £3485, or by the light standard = nearly 37½ lbs. Troy = 742 10s. A single ring might weigh half a shekel, Genesis 24:22.
beside the crescents … necks] The sentence interrupts the account of the ephod, and looks like a later addition. Pendants (Heb. neṭîfôth from naṭaf ‘to drop’) were perhaps single beads or gems attached to the lobe of the ear, cf. Arab. naṭafat ‘a small clear pearl’; the Verss. understood some kind of necklace, so AV. collars; some Jewish interpreters think of small boxes containing fragrant gum (nâṭâf ‘stacte,’ Exodus 30:34), hence AVm. sweet jewels. For chains render necklaces, Song of Solomon 4:9, Proverbs 1:9, contrast the crescents in Jdg 8:21.Verse 26. - A thousand and seven hundred shekels - equal to about fifty pounds weight, and probably to above £3000 worth of our money, reckoning a shekel of gold at £1 16s. 6d. If the rings, like that given to Rebekah (Genesis 24:22), weighed each half a shekel, they would be the spoil of 3400 dead bodies. If they each weighed less it would of course imply a larger number of slain. The ornaments, as in ver. 21, the collars. The word so rendered seems rather to mean drops or pendants. When worn by women (Isaiah 3:19, chains, A.V.) they were often of single pearls. The purple raiment, the famous Tyrian purple, made from the juice of a shellfish which is found in the Mediterranean, which was the distinctive colour of royal and imperial raiment. Chains. Perhaps the ornaments mentioned in ver. 21 as on the camels' necks were suspended to these chains. In Song of Solomon 4:9 the chain is mentioned as an ornament of a woman's neck; in Proverbs 1:9 of a man's neck. Many interpreters understand these last-mentioned articles as not being part of Gideon's spoil, but being the people's portion. But it seems much more probable that the spoil of the kings should be Gideon's portion, as indeed ver. 21 implies. It is best, therefore, to take all these articles as being the property of the kings, and to understand the writer to tell us that Gideon had the rings, which were the people's spoil, in addition to all the spoil which naturally fell to his own share. 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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