Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thus was Midian subdued.—This verse closes the second great epoch of Gideon’s life. The separate phrases occur in Judges 1:2; Judges 4:23-24; Judges 5:31. The remaining verses of the chapter furnish us with a few notices of the third and last period of his life.Jdg 8:28. They lifted up their heads no more — That is, they recovered not their former strength or courage, so as to conquer or oppress others. The country was in quietness forty years — To the fortieth year from the beginning of the Midianitish oppression; in the days of Gideon — As long as Gideon lived.1 Kings 12:28.
28. Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel—This invasion of the Arab hordes into Canaan was as alarming and desolating as the irruption of the Huns into Europe. It was the severest scourge ever inflicted upon Israel; and both it and the deliverance under Gideon lived for centuries in the minds of the people (Ps 83:11).Lifted up their heads no more, i.e. recovered not their former strength or courage, so as to conquer or oppress others, as they had done.
Forty years, i.e. to the fortieth year, from the beginning of the Midianitish oppression: see on Judges 3:11.
In the days of Gideon, i.e. as long as Gideon lived.
so that they lifted up their heads no more; in a proud and haughty manner to insult them, and in an hostile way to invade and oppress them; such a blow was given them that they could not recover themselves, nor do we read of any effort of theirs ever after, or of their giving or attempting to give any disturbance to Israel, or any other nation:
and the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon; that is, the land of Canaan; it was free from wars with Midian, or any other people, and enjoyed undisturbed peace and tranquillity. According to Bishop Usher (m), this was the fortieth year from the rest restored by Deborah and Barak; and, according to Abarbinel and others, these forty years are to be reckoned from the beginning of the servitude; that is, the seven years' oppression under the Midianites are included in them; but I cannot see that in this instance, and in others before met with, years of bondage can be counted with years of peace and prosperity, and go under that general name. The true sense seems to be, that after the Israelites had been in subjection to the Midianites for seven years, and Gideon had delivered them, that from thenceforward they had rest and quietness forty years, which in all probability was the time Gideon lived after his victories.Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. The Deuteronomic editor’s conclusion of the story; cf. Jdg 3:30 n. and Jdg 3:11 n.
Verse 28. - Lifted up their heads no more. Thus showing the wisdom of Gideon's perseverance in pushing on his victory to completeness (see Homiletics on Judges 8:4-12). The narrative goes back to ver. 26, or perhaps rather to ver. 21. Judges 8:22, Judges 8:23. As Gideon had so gloriously delivered Israel from the severe and long oppression on the part of the Midianites, the Israelites offered him an hereditary crown. "The men of Israel" were hardly all the twelve tribes, but probably only the northern tribes of the western part of the land already mentioned in Judges 6:35, who had suffered the most severely from the Midianitish oppression, and had been the first to gather round Gideon to make an attack upon the foe. The temptation to accept the government of Israel was resisted by this warrior of God. "Neither I nor my son shall rule over you; Jehovah shall rule over you," was his reply to this offer, containing an evident allusion to the destination and constitution of the tribes of Israel as a nation which Jehovah had chosen to be His own possession, and to which He had just made himself known in so conspicuous a manner as their omnipotent Ruler and King. This refusal of the regal dignity on the part of Gideon is not at variance with the fact, that Moses had already foreseen the possibility that at some future time the desire for a king would arise in the nation, and had given them a law for the king expressly designed for such circumstances as these (Deuteronomy 17:14.). For Gideon did not decline the honour because Jehovah was King in Israel, i.e., because he regarded an earthly monarchy in Israel as irreconcilable with the heavenly monarchy of Jehovah, but simply because he thought the government of Jehovah in Israel amply sufficient, and did not consider either himself or his sons called to found an earthly monarchy.
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