And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite…
Unexpected by himself and undreamt of by the nation. The whole land is given over to idolatry and wretchedness, but God is at no loss to find his servant. A strong man - a hero, ignominiously concealed, he is a symbol of Israel's helplessness.
I. THE PERSONALITY AND RELATIONS OF GIDEON ARE A REBUKE TO ISRAEL, A VINDICATION OF THE SOVEREIGN WILL OF GOD, AND A REVELATION OF THE SOURCE OF ALL TRUE POWER. He is the youngest scion of an insignificant family in a secondary tribe. Not only has he had no special religious or political training, he is an idolater, or at any rate belongs to an idolatrous family.. And he is addressed whilst acting in a manner of which he must have felt ashamed. Hidden, helpless, a sceptic regarding Divine existence or intervention. The culture and religion of Israel are ignored. So God always chooses whom he will to act, to preach: to suffer. There was no danger that Gideon would be credited with the work of deliverance as an achievement of his own originality and innate power.
II. THE OCCASION WAS SIGNIFICANT OF THE HELP GOD INTENDED TO GIVE. He comes when things are at the worst. It was a sign that he would work out a radical deliverance. Not partial help, but complete salvation would be due to him.
III. GIDEON IS AN INSTANCE OF THE POWER OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE. He has heard in some way or another of God's works in his nation's history. Evidently his thoughts have been occupied with them. A rough interpretation has been arrived at, helping him to grasp the meaning of the situation. His was not total ignorance, but a knowledge preparing for higher revelations and corresponding achievements. Truth smoulders in the mind until it bursts into flame. Inward impressions and realisations of sacred knowledge prepare for the Divinely-arranged circumstances of life, critical moments, and heavenly visitations,
IV. GOD'S MANNER OF DEALING WITH THE DIFFICULTIES AND OBJECTIONS OF HIS INTENDED SERVANT IS VERY INSTRUCTIVE. He accommodates himself to the thoughts passing through Gideon's mind. By his words he drives the brooding mind into distressful paradox. The past achievements of Gideon are remembered, and a corresponding respect shown him. The revelation of himself is gradual. He is considerate, gracious, and painstaking with the heart he intends to make his own. "Have not I sent thee" is sufficient guarantee for God's servant. There ought to be no misgiving when that assurance has been given. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
WEB: The angel of Yahweh came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.