Judges 6:11
(11) There came an angel of the Lord.--It is obviously absurd to suppose, as some have done, that a prophet is intended, like the one in Judges 6:8. There the word is Nabi, here it is Maleak-Jehovah, as in Judges 2:1. Josephus, when he says that "a phantasm stood by him in the shape of a youth," is merely actuated by his usual desire to give the story as classical an aspect as possible for his Gentile readers.

Under an oak.--Rather, under the terebinth (haelah):--some well-known tree beside the altar in Ophrath. (Comp. Genesis 35:4.)

Ophrah.--This Ophrah was in Western Manasseh. There was another in Benjamin (Joshua 18:23). The name means "fawn," and the place is identified by Van de Velde with Erfai, near the north border of Ephraim.

Joash the Abi-ezrite.--Joash was the head of the family which descended from Abiezer, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh (Numbers 26:30; Joshua 17:2).

Gideon.--The name means "hewer."

Threshed wheat by the winepress.--Perhaps, rather, beating it out than threshing it, as in Ruth 2:17 (LXX., rhabdiz?n). There would hardly be room for regular threshing in the confined space of a winepress, for wine-presses were vats sunk in the ground.

To hide it.--Literally, to make it fly (Exodus 9:20). The threshing-floors--open circular places in the fields where the corn was trodden out by oxen--would naturally be the first places where an invading enemy would come to forage, as in 1Samuel 23:1.

Verse 11. - An angel, etc. Rather, the angel of the Lord, otherwise called "the angel of his presence" (Isaiah 63:9). In vers. 14, 16, 23, for the angel of the Lord we have simply the Lord (see Judges 2:1, note). An oak. Rather the oak, or terebinth, as it should be rendered. It was doubtless a well-known tree still standing in the writer's time (see ver. 19). Compare the mention of the oak (terebinth) at Shechem (Genesis 35:4); the great oak (terebinth) in which Absalom was caught (2 Samuel 18:9); Deborah's palm tree (Judges 4:5, where see note). Observe the simple way in which the ministration of the angel is introduced, as if it were a matter of course in the eyes of him who is the Lord of the millions of the heavenly host, those ministers of his who do his pleasure. Human scepticism, the twin sister of human selfishness, would blot out all creation except itself. To hide it, etc. These graphic touches give a lively picture of the straits to which the Israelites were reduced by the Midianite occupation.

6:11-24 Gideon was a man of a brave, active spirit, yet in obscurity through the times: he is here stirred up to undertake something great. It was very sure that the Lord was with him, when his Angel was with him. Gideon was weak in faith, which made it hard to reconcile the assurances of the presence of God with the distress to which Israel was brought. The Angel answered his objections. He told him to appear and act as Israel's deliverer, there needed no more. Bishop Hall says, While God calls Gideon valiant, he makes him so. God delights to advance the humble. Gideon desires to have his faith confirmed. Now, under the influences of the Spirit, we are not to expect signs before our eyes such as Gideon here desired, but must earnestly pray to God, that if we have found grace in his sight, he would show us a sign in our heart, by the powerful working of his Spirit there, The Angel turned the meat into an offering made by fire; showing that he was not a man who needed meat, but the Son of God, who was to be served and honoured by sacrifice, and who in the fulness of time was to make himself a sacrifice. Hereby a sign was given to Gideon, that he had found grace in God's sight. Ever since man has by sin exposed himself to God's wrath and curse, a message from heaven has been a terror to him, as he scarcely dares to expect good tidings thence. In this world, it is very awful to have any converse with that world of spirits to which we are so much strangers. Gideon's courage failed him. But God spoke peace to him.And there came an angel of the Lord,.... This was not the prophet before mentioned, as Ben Gersom thinks, but an angel of God, as expressed, and not a created one, but the Angel of Jehovah's presence, the Word and Son of God, and who is expressly called Jehovah himself, Judges 6:14.

and sat under an oak; or stayed there a while, as Kimchi interprets it, seeing, according to his observation, angels are not said to sit, but stand:

which was in Ophrah, that pertaineth to Joash the Abiezrite; which shows that this Ophrah is different from a city of this name in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:23 for the oak that was in it, under which the angel sat, belonged to Joash an Abiezrite, a descendant of Abiezer, son of the sister of Gilead, who was the son of Machir the son of Manasseh, Joshua 17:2, it is called by Josephus (h) Ephra, and by Jerom (i) Ephrata:

and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites; lest they should take it away, and bereave his father's family of their sustenance, as they were wont to do, wherever they could find it; and all circumstances attending this affair were on this account; he threshed it himself, this he chose to do, and not trust his servants, lest it should be discovered; and he beat the wheat out with a staff, that it might be more silently done, and not with oxen, which was the usual way of treading out corn, who, bellowing (k), would discover it; and this was done not on a threshing floor, but where a winepress stood, where there could be no suspicion of such work being doing.

(h) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 6. sect. 5, 7. (i) De loc. Heb. fol. 90. K. (k) Vid. Homer. Iliad. 20. ver. 495, 496, 497.

Judges 6:10
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