Judges 8:26
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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(26) 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.

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!If the Ishmaelite nose-rings were half a shekel in weight, then 1,700 shekels weight of gold implied that 3,400 persons wearing, gold rings had been slain. The "collars" were rather "ear-drops." 26. ornaments—crescent-like plates of gold suspended from the necks, or placed on the breasts of the camels.

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.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And the weight of the golden earrings he requested was one thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold,.... Which, as Schcuchzer (e) computes, was eight hundred and ten ounces, five drachms, one scruple, and ten grains, of the weight of physicians; but as reckoned by Moatanus (f) amounted to eight hundred and fifty ounces, and were of the value of 6800 crowns of gold; and, according to Waserus (g), it amounted to 3400 Hungarian pieces of gold, and of their money at Zurich upwards of 15,413 pounds, and of our money 2,380 pounds:

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.

(e) Physica Sacra, vol. 3. p. 468. (f) Tubal Cain, p. 15. (g) De Numis. Heb. l. 2. c. 10. (h) Geograph. l. 16. p. 539.

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.
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 8:26This request of Gideon's was cheerfully fulfilled: "They spread out the cloth (brought for collecting the rings), and threw into it every one the ring that he had received as booty." Simlah, the upper garment, was for the most part only a large square piece of cloth. The weight of these golden rings amounted to 1700 shekels, i.e., about 50 lbs., (מן לבד) separate from, i.e., beside, the remaining booty, for which Gideon had not asked, and which the Israelites kept for themselves, viz., the little moons, the ear-pendants (netiphoth, lit. little drops, probably pearl-shaped ear-drops: see Isaiah 3:19), and the purple clothes which were worn by the kings of Midian (i.e., which they had on), and also apart from the neck-bands upon the necks of their camels. Instead of the anakoth or necklaces (Judges 8:26), the saharonim, or little moons upon the necks of the camels, are mentioned in Judges 8:21 as the more valuable portion of these necklaces. Even at the present day the Arabs are accustomed to ornament the necks of these animals "with a band of cloth or leather, upon which small shells called cowries are strung or sewed in the form of a crescent. The sheiks add silver ornaments to these, which make a rich booty in time of war" (Wellsted, Reise, i. p. 209). The Midianitish kings had their camels ornamented with golden crescents. This abundance of golden ornaments will not surprise us, when we consider that the Arabs still carry their luxurious tastes for such things to a very great excess. Wellsted (i. p. 224) states that "the women in Omn spend considerable amounts in the purchase of silver ornaments, and their children are literally laden with them. I have sometimes counted fifteen ear-rings upon each side; and the head, breast, arms, and ankles are adorned with the same profusion." As the Midianitish army consisted of 130,000 men, of whom 15,000 only remained at the commencement of the last engagement, the Israelites may easily have collected 5000 golden rings, or even more, which might weigh 1700 shekels.
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