Title: Judges 8. Gideon, part 42: God's gifts are filled with righteousness. They are not to be soiled by corruption.
JDG 8:10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about 15,000 men, all who were left of the entire army of the sons of the east; for the fallen were 120,000 swordsmen.
Karkor is close to the Midianite homeland, and this shows just how far their pursuit went in spite of the lack of provisions from the two towns.
JDG 8:11 And Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the camp, when the camp was unsuspecting.
JDG 8:12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army.
Gideon went by the road used by the nomads and the caravans. We see again that a surprise attack was used.
The Midianites did not expect Israel to pursue them so far south into the desert. The judgment of God was upon them. There is no place far enough to run to.
And that is the end of the Midianite raiders. Gideon will keep the two kings captive, but their fate will not long remain doubtful.
What we find about Midian in the Bible:
Moses married the daughter of a Midianite priest.
Some of Midian (Kenites) were friends of Israel.
Israel warred with Midian due to Balaam and killed many.
Gideon defeats Midianite raiders.
After this, not much is heard about them and hardly nothing is known about them outside of biblical sources.
JDG 8:13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres.
No one quite knows the meaning of Heres. Some translate it as the sun coming up, but that translation is very doubtful. It may be a mountain pass.
JDG 8:14 And he captured a youth from Succoth and questioned him. Then the youth wrote down for him the princes of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men.
JDG 8:15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, "Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, 'Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?'"
JDG 8:16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them.
This likely would have killed them. Gideon enacts a painful death upon them, just as he said he would and he also fulfills his word to Penuel, but he did more to them.
JDG 8:17 And he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
Gideon's actions went beyond his original threat. The irony is that Gideon does to a Jewish city, which by now should have been done to every Canaanite city.
God demanded that Israel do this to every Canaanite city in the respective lands that each tribe settled, but they were weak and chose rather to live among the Canaanites in direct violation of God's command. When Israel did find the strength to destroy the Canaanites in their midst, they chose not to and decided rather to make them pay tribute while continuing to live among them.
DEU 20:10 "When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace.
DEU 20:11 And it shall come about, if it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then it shall be that all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.
DEU 20:12 However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.
DEU 20:13 When the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword.
DEU 20:14 Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the Lord your God has given you.
DEU 20:15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations nearby.
DEU 20:16 Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes.
God had given them the land in grace. Their land was to be filled with righteousness through faith. The Canaanite who lived there for centuries would not worship God, but instead worshipped man.
The Canaanite was blessed in being allowed to live in a prosperous land, just as any unbeliever is blessed to be alive, but the creature refused to give glory to God, man's Giver and Creator.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
DEU 20:17 But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you,
DEU 20:18 in order that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God.
The corruption of the Canaanite religion would not only corrupt their minds and their personal worship of God, but it would also corrupt their government. What a people believe about God fully influences the type of government they have. The pagan sees their god or gods as task-masters and powerful creatures that have created man so that man will work for them and provide for them. That is exactly what a bad government does.
We will look into this a bit more when we see Gideon's refusal to be king over Israel, but then act like a monarch. The Canaanite must not be in the Promised Land that God gave to His elect people so that righteousness would rule the hearts of men and the lives of men and the government of the men within the land.
A land corrupted by human attitudes was not the gift from God.
God gives to man and man reflects that grace back to God in the form of love and worship. God receives the glory.
Government should also reflect God's covenants with men. Government is to have authority, but it is to work for the benefit of the people in providing for them their unalienable rights. It is not to be the other way around. The people are not to work for the benefit of the government.
God gives to man and man reflects that grace and love to others. We serve one another for one another's benefit. And when we have that mindset, that is how we design our government. And so we find that the spiritual condition of the nation is in fact directly influential on the government of the nation. For this reason, as well as for the reason of influence on the individual soul of each Jew, the Canaanites are to be removed. And for this reason, the solution to our nation's government's problems are spiritual. The people of the US must turn to God's grace in Christ if we are going to recover our greatness and blessing as a nation.
Was Gideon justified in his judgment of Succoth and Penuel? God does not tell us. Did he fulfill the law of DEU 13:12-18?
DEU 13:12 "If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that
DEU 13:13 some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying,' Let us go and serve other gods' (whom you have not known),
DEU 13:14 then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. And if it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you,
DEU 13:15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword.
DEU 13:16 Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt.
DEU 13:17 And nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the Lord may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers,
DEU 13:18 if you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.