Judges 8:30
And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.
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(30) Threescore and ten sons.—According to Oriental fashion, no account is taken of his daughters.

He had many wives.—It is clear that Gideon was a king in all but name. This is the most magnificent, but the least honourable, period of his career. In Deuteronomy 17:17 it had been said of the future king, “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself. . . . neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” Polygamy was only adopted on a large scale by rulers (Judges 10:4; Judges 12:9).

8:29-35 As soon as Gideon was dead, who kept the people to the worship of the God of Israel, they found themselves under no restraint; then they went after Baalim, and showed no kindness to the family of Gideon. No wonder if those who forget their God, forget their friends. Yet conscious of our own ingratitude to the Lord, and observing that of mankind in general, we should learn to be patient under any unkind returns we meet with for our poor services, and resolve, after the Divine example, not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good.The ephod was that particular part of the high priest's dress which was necessary to be worst when he inquired of God by Urim and Thummim. It seems that Gideon being now the civil ruler, desired to have an ephod of his own, kept in his own city, to he worn by the priest whenever Gideon might summon him to inquire of the Lord for him. His relations with the tribe of Ephraim probably made him unwilling to resort to Shiloh. Compare the act of Jeroboam 1 Kings 12:28. Jud 8:28. Midian Subdued.

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).

No text from Poole on this verse.

And Gideon had seventy sons of his body begotten,.... Not after his victories, for it is plain he had children before; mention is made of Jether, his firstborn, as a youth able to draw a sword, and slay with it, Judges 8:20 but this was the number of all his sons, both before and after, and a large number it was; and the phrase "of his body begotten", or "that went out of his thigh" is used to show that they were his own sons, begotten in wedlock, and not sons that he had taken into his family by adoption, or that he was father-in-law to, having married a woman or women that had sons by a former husband; but these were all his own:

for he had many wives; which, though not agreeable to the original law of marriage, was customary in those times, and even with good men, and was connived at; and this is a reason accounting for his having so many sons.

And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.
30. of his body begotten] Only again in Genesis 46:26 (‘which came out of his loins’) and Exodus 1:5 P, cf. Genesis 35:11 P. The more sons a man had, the greater his importance, cf. Jdg 10:4, Jdg 12:9.

Verses 30-32. - Gideon had threescore and ten sons, etc. This notice helps us to fill up the picture of Gideon's state after the Midianitish victory, lie had indeed nobly refused the kingdom, as a Pericles would have refused to be tyrant of Athena But he did not return to poverty and obscurity, as L. Q. Cincinnatus, in the Roman legend, returned to his plough after his victory over the Volsciana He was judge over Israel for forty years, with a household and a harem like a great prince, living in his paternal city, with the ephod set up there, himself the centre round which the powers of Church and State gathered; directing the affairs of his country, both civil and ecclesiastical, with eminent success, so that the country was at peace for forty years (a peace as long as that which followed the battle of Water-leo], and the detestable Baal-worship was effectually suppressed. And having lived in wealth and honour, he died in peace, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father at Ophrah in a good old age. He remains to us as one of the most remarkable characters of the Old Testament, not indeed without faults and blemishes, and not wholly unspoiled by prosperity, but still a great man, and an eminent servant of God. Judges 8:30Before the account of his death, a few other notices respecting his family are introduced for the purpose of preparing the way for the following history of the doings of his sons, in which the sin of Gideon came to a head, and the judgment burst upon his house. "And Jerubbaal, the son of Joash, went and dwelt in his house." Both the word ויּלך, which simply serves to bring out the fact more vividly (see the remarks on Exodus 2:1), and also the choice of the name Jerubbaal, merely serve to give greater prominence to the change, from the heat of the war against the Midianites to the quiet retirement of domestic life. Instead of accepting the crown that was offered him and remaining at the head of the nation, the celebrated Baal-fighter retired into private life again. In addition to the seventy sons of his many wives, there was a son born to him by a concubine, who lived at Shechem and is called his maid-servant in Judges 9:18, and to this son he gave the name of Abimelech, i.e., king's father. את־שׁמו ויּשׂם is not the same as את־שׁמו קרא, to give a person a name, but signifies to add a name, or give a surname (see Nehemiah 9:7, and Daniel 5:12 in the Chaldee). It follows from this, that Abimelech received this name from Gideon as a cognomen answering to his character, and therefore not at the time of his birth, but when he grew up and manifested such qualities as led to the expectation that he would be a king's father.
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