Judges 8:3
God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.
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(3) Then their anger was abated towards him.—The soft answer turned away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). The word for anger is mach, “wind,” or “spirit”—anger expressed by fierce breathing through the nostrils, “the blast of the terrible ones” (Isaiah 25:4). (Comp. Ecclesiastes 10:4 : “If the spirit (ruach) of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.”) “Gideon’s good words were as victorious as his sword.”—Bp. Hall.

Jdg 8:3. Then their anger was abated — According to that fine maxim of Solomon, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”8:1-3 Those who will not attempt or venture any thing in the cause of God, will be the most ready to censure and quarrel with such as are of a more zealous and enterprising spirit. And those who are the most backward to difficult services, will be the most angry not to have the credit of them. Gideon stands here as a great example of self-denial; and shows us that envy is best removed by humility. The Ephraimites had given vent to their passion in very wrong freedom of speech, a certain sign of a weak cause: reason runs low when chiding flies high.A civil war with the great tribe of Ephraim would soon have turned Israel's victory into mourning. Gideon therefore soothes their wounded pride by confessing that Ephraim had done more, though they had joined him so late in the day, than he had been able to effect in the whole campaign. The grape-gleaning of Ephraim was better than the whole vintage of Abi-ezer. 2, 3. he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you?—His mild and truly modest answer breathes the spirit of a great as well as good man, who was calm, collected, and self-possessed in the midst of most exciting scenes. It succeeded in throwing oil on the troubled waters (Pr 16:1), and no wonder, for in the height of generous self-denial, it ascribes to his querulous brethren a greater share of merit and glory than belonged to himself (1Co 13:4; Php 2:3). His soft and humble answer allayed their rage and envy. See Proverbs 15:1 25:15. God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb,.... A high honour this conferred upon you, and with which you may be well contented:

and what was I able to do in comparison of you? what he had done in defeating and pursuing the army of Midian, in slaying and taking any of them prisoners, was nothing in comparison of what they had done; nay, he signifies that he was not capable of doing anything worth mentioning without them; the glory of finishing this conquest was reserved for them:

then their anger was abated towards him when he had said that; it being what gratified their pride and was pleasing to them; and this conduct of Gideon showed him to be a wise and humble man.

God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.
Whilst the 300 men blew their trumpets, "Jehovah set the sword of one against the other, and against the whole camp," i.e., caused one to turn his sword against the other and against all the camp, that is to say, not merely man against man, but against every one in the camp, so that there arose a terrible slaughter throughout the whole camp. The first clause, "and the three hundred blew the trumpets," simply resumes the statement in Judges 7:20, "the three companies blew the trumpets," for the purpose of appending to it the further progress of the attack, and the result of the battle. Bertheau inserts in a very arbitrary manner the words, "the second time." His explanation of the next clause ("then the 300 fighting men of Gideon drew the sword at Jehovah's command, every man against his man") is still more erroneous, since it does violence to the constant usage of the expression בּרעהוּ אישׁ (see 1 Samuel 14:20; 2 Chronicles 20:23; Isaiah 3:5; Zechariah 8:10). "And all the camp of the Midianites fled to Beth-shittah to Zeredah, to the shore of Abel-meholah, over Tabbath." The situation of these places, which are only mentioned here, with the exception of Abel-meholah, the home of Elisha (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Kings 4:12), has not yet been determined. According to the Syriac, the Arabic, and some of the MSS, we should read Zeredathah instead of Zererathah, and Zeredathah is only another form for Zarthan (comp. 1 Kings 7:46 with 2 Chronicles 4:17). This is favoured by the situation of Zarthan in the valley of the Jordan, probably near the modern Kurn Sartabeh (see p. 35), inasmuch as in all probability Beth-shittah and Abel-meholah are to be sought for in the valley of the Jordan; and according to Judges 7:24, the enemy fled to the Jordan. Beth-shittah, i.e., acacia-house, is not the same place as the village of Shutta mentioned by Robinson (iii. p. 219), since this village, according to Van de Velde's map, was to the north of Gilboa. For although Shutta is favoured by the circumstance, that from a very ancient time there was a road running from Jezreel along the valley, between the so-called Little Hermon (Duhy) and the mountains of Gilboa, and past Beisan to the Jordan; and the valley of Jalud, on the northern side of which Shutta was situated, may be regarded as the opening of the plain of Jezreel into the valley of the Jordan (see v. Raumer, Pal. p. 41, and Rob. iii. p. 176); and v. Raumer conjectures from this, that "the flight of the Midianites was apparently directed to Bethsean, on account of the nature of the ground," - this assumption is rendered very questionable by the fact that the flying foe did not cross the Jordan in the neighbourhood of Beisan, but much farther to the south, viz., according to Judges 8:4, in the neighbourhood of Succoth, which was on the south side of the Nahr Zerka (Jabbok). From this we are led to conjecture, that they were not encamped in the north-eastern part of the plain of Jezreel, in the neighbourhood of Jezreel (Zerin) and Shunem (Solam), but in the south-eastern part of this plain, and that after they had been beaten there they fled southwards from Gilboa, say from the district of Ginaea (Jenin) to the Jordan. In this case we have to seek for Abel-shittah on the south-east of the mountains of Gilboa, to the north of Zeredathah (Zarthan). From this point they fled on still farther to the "shore of Abel-meholah." שׂפה does not mean boundary, but brink; here the bank of the Jordan, like היּרדּן שׂפת in 2 Kings 2:13. The bank or strand of Abel-meholah is that portion of the western bank of the Jordan or of the Ghor, above which Abel-meholah was situated. According to the Onom. (s. v. Ἀβελμαελαί, Abelmaula), this place was in the Aulon (or Ghor), ten Roman miles to the south of Scythopolis (Beisan), and was called at that time Βηθμαιελά or Bethaula. According to this statement, Abel-meholah would have to be sought for near Churbet es Shuk, in the neighbourhood of the Wady Maleh (see V. de Velde, Mem. p. 280). And lastly, Tabbath must have been situated somewhere to the south of Abel-meholah.
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