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Judges 6:25 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And it came to pass the same night, that Jehovah said unto him, Take thy father's bullock, even the second bullock seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the Asherah that is by it;
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that [is] by it:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now on the same night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it;
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said to him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that [is] by it:
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And it came to pass the same night, that Jehovah said to him, Take the young bullock, which thy father hath, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the Asherah that is by it;
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And it came to pass, on that night, that Yahweh said unto him—Take the young bullock that belongeth to thy father, even the second bullock of seven years,—and throw thou down the altar of Baal, that belongeth to thy father, and, the sacred stem that is by it, shalt thou cut down.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And it cometh to pass, on that night, that Jehovah saith to him, 'Take the young ox which [is] to thy father, and the second bullock of seven years, and thou hast thrown down the altar of Baal which [is] to thy father, and the shrine which [is] by it thou dost cut down,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— That night the Lord said to him: Take a bullock of thy father's, and another bullock of seven years, and thou shalt destroy the altar of Baal, which is thy father's: and cut down the grove that is about the altar:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And it came to passe the same night, that the LORD said vnto him, Take thy fathers yong bullocke, euen the second bullocke of seuen yeeres old, and throw downe the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut downe the groue that [is] by it:
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And it came to pass in that night, that the Lord said to him, Take the young bullock which thy father has, even the second bullock of seven years old, and thou shalt destroy the altar of Baal which thy father has, and the grove which is by it thou shalt destroy.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And it came to pass the same night, that Yahweh said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that [is] by it:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And it came to pass x1961
(1961) Complement
הָיָה
hayah
{haw-yaw'}
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
the same x1931
(1931) Complement
הוּא
huw'
{hoo}
The second form is the feminine beyond the Pentateuch; a primitive word, the third person pronoun singular, he (she or it); only expressed when emphatic or without a verb; also (intensively) self, or (especially with the article) the same; sometimes (as demonstrative) this or that; occasionally (instead of copula) as or are.
night, 3915
{3915} Prime
לַיִל
layil
{lah'-yil}
From the same as H3883; properly a twist (away of the light), that is, night; figuratively adversity.
that Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
יְהֹוָה
Y@hovah
{yeh-ho-vaw'}
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
said 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
unto him, Take 3947
{3947} Prime
לָקַח
laqach
{law-kakh'}
A primitive root; to take (in the widest variety of applications).
z8798
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
thy father's 1
{0001} Prime
אָב
'ab
{awb}
A primitive word; father in a literal and immediate, or figurative and remote application.
young y6499
[6499] Standard
פַּר
par
{par}
From H6565; a bullock (apparently as breaking forth in wild strength, or perhaps as dividing the hoof).
bullock, 7794
{7794} Prime
שׁוֹר
showr
{shore}
From H7788; a bullock (as a traveller). wall used by mistake for H7791.
x6499
(6499) Complement
פַּר
par
{par}
From H6565; a bullock (apparently as breaking forth in wild strength, or perhaps as dividing the hoof).
even the second 8145
{8145} Prime
שֵׁנִי
sheniy
{shay-nee'}
From H8138; properly double, that is, second; also adverbially again.
bullock 6499
{6499} Prime
פַּר
par
{par}
From H6565; a bullock (apparently as breaking forth in wild strength, or perhaps as dividing the hoof).
of seven 7651
{7651} Prime
שֶׁבַע
sheba`
{sheh'-bah}
From H7650; a primitive cardinal number; seven (as the sacred full one); also (adverbially) seven times; by implication a week; by extension an indefinite number.
years x8141
(8141) Complement
שָׁנֵה
shaneh
{shaw-neh'}
(The first form being in plural only, the second form being feminine); from H8138; a year (as a revolution of time).
old, y8141
[8141] Standard
שָׁנֵה
shaneh
{shaw-neh'}
(The first form being in plural only, the second form being feminine); from H8138; a year (as a revolution of time).
and throw down 2040
{2040} Prime
הָרַס
harac
{haw-ras'}
A primitive root; to pull down or in pieces, break, destroy.
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
the altar 4196
{4196} Prime
מִזְבֵּחַ
mizbeach
{miz-bay'-akh}
From H2076; an altar.
of B`al בָּעַל 1168
{1168} Prime
בַּעַל
Ba`al
{bah'-al}
The same as H1167; Baal, a Phoenician deity.
that x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
thy father 1
{0001} Prime
אָב
'ab
{awb}
A primitive word; father in a literal and immediate, or figurative and remote application.
hath, and cut down 3772
{3772} Prime
כָּרַת
karath
{kaw-rath'}
A primitive root; to cut (off, down or asunder); by implication to destroy or consume; specifically to covenant (that is, make an alliance or bargain, originally by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
the grove 842
{0842} Prime
אֲשֵׁרָה
'asherah
{ash-ay-raw'}
From H0833; happy; asherah (or Astarte) a Phoenician goddess; also an image of the same.
that x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
[is] by x5921
(5921) Complement
עַל
`al
{al}
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
it:
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

See commentary on Judges 6:24-32.


Judges 6:25

_ _ Take thy father’s ... second bullock — The Midianites had probably reduced the family herd; or, as Gideon’s father was addicted to idolatry, the best may have been fattened for the service of Baal; so that the second was the only remaining one fit for sacrifice to God.

_ _ throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath — standing upon his ground, though kept for the common use of the townsmen.

_ _ cut down the grove that is by it — dedicated to Ashtaroth. With the aid of ten confidential servants he demolished the one altar and raised on the appointed spot the altar of the Lord; but, for fear of opposition, the work had to be done under cover of night. A violent commotion was excited next day, and vengeance vowed against Gideon as the perpetrator. “Joash, his father, quieted the mob in a manner similar to that of the town clerk of Ephesus. It was not for them to take the matter into their own hands. The one, however, made an appeal to the magistrate; the other to the idolatrous god himself” [Chalmers].

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Judges 6:25-32

_ _ Here, I. Orders are given to Gideon to begin his government with the reformation of his father's house, Judges 6:25, Judges 6:26. A correspondence being settled between God and Gideon, by the appearance of the angel to him, it was kept up in another way; the same night after he had seen God, when he was full of thoughts concerning what had passed, which probably he had not yet communicated to any, The Lord said unto him in a dream, Do so and so. Note, God's visits, if gratefully received, shall be graciously repeated. Bid God welcome, and he will come again. Gideon is appointed, 1. To throw down Baal's altar, which it seems hi father had, either for his own house or perhaps for the whole town. See the power of God's grace, that he could raise up a reformer, and the condescensions of his grace, that he would raise up a deliverer, out of the family of one that was a ring-leader in idolatry. But Gideon must not now think it enough not to worship at that altar, which we charitably hope he had not done, but he must throw it down; not consecrate the same altar to God (tit is bishop Hall's observation), but utterly demolish it. God first commands down the monuments of superstition, and then enjoins his own service. He must likewise cut down the grove that was by it, the plantation of young trees, designed to beautify the place. The learned bishop Patrick, by the grove, understands the image in the grove, probably the image of Ashtaroth (for the word for a grove is Ashereh), which stood upon or close by the altar. 2. The erect an altar to God, to Jehovah his God, which probably was to be notified by an inscription upon the altar to that purport — to Jehovah, Gideon's God, or Israel's. It would have been an improper thing for him to build an altar, even to the God of Israel, especially for burnt-offering and sacrifice, and would have been construed into a contempt of the altar at Shiloh, if God, who has not tied up himself to his own laws, had not bidden him to do it. But now it was his duty and honour to be thus employed. God directs him to the place where he should build it, on the top of the rock, perhaps in the same place in which the angel had appeared to him, near to the altar he had already built: and he must not do it in a hurry, but with the decency that became a religious action (in an orderly manner, as it is in the margin), according to the ancient law for altars raised on particular occasions, that they must be of earth not of hewn stone. The word here used for the rock on which the altar was to be built signifies a fortress, or strong-hold, erected, some think, to secure them from the Midianites; if so, it was no security while the altar of Baal was so near it, but it was effectually fortified when an altar to the Lord was built on the top of it, for that is the best defence upon our glory. On this altar, (1.) He was to offer sacrifice. Two bullocks he must offer: his father's young bullock, and the second bullock of seven years old, so it should rather be read, not even the second as we read it. The former, we may suppose, he was to offer for himself, the latter for the sins of the people whom he was to deliver. It was requisite he should thus make peace with God, before he made war on Midian. Till sin be pardoned through the great sacrifice, no good is to be expected. These bullocks, it is supposed, were intended for sacrifices on the altar of Baal, but were now converted to a better use. Thus, when the strong man armed is overcome and dispossessed, the stronger than he divides the spoil, seizes that for himself which was prepared for Baal. Let him come whose right it is, and give it to him. (2.) Ball's grove, or image, or whatever it was that was the sanctity or beauty of his altar, must not only be burnt, but must be used as fuel for God's altar, to signify not only that whatever sets up itself in opposition to God shall be destroyed, but that the justice of God will be glorified in its destruction. God ordered Gideon to do this, [1.] To try his zeal for religion, which it was necessary he should give proofs of before he took the field, to give proof of his valour there. [2.] That some steps might hereby to taken towards Israel's reformation, which must prepare the way for their deliverance. Sin, the cause, must be taken away, else how should the trouble, which was but the effect, come to an end? And it might be hoped that this example of Gideon's, who was now shortly to appear so great a man, would be followed by the rest of the cities and tribes, and the destruction of this one altar of Baal would be the destruction of many.

_ _ II. Gideon was obedient to the heavenly vision, Judges 6:27. He that was to command the Israel of God must be subject to the God of Israel, without disputing, and, as a type of Christ, must first save his people from their sins, and then save them from their enemies. 1. He had servants of his own, whom he could confide in, who, we may suppose, like him, had kept their integrity, and had not bowed the knee to Baal, and therefore were forward to assist him in destroying the altar of Baal. 2. He did not scruple taking his father's bullock and offering it to God without his father's consent, because God, who expressly commanded him to do so, had a better title to it than his father had, and it was the greatest real kindness he could do to his father to prevent his sin. 3. He expected to incur the displeasure of his father's household by it, and the ill-will of his neighbours, yet he did it, remembering how much it was Levi's praise that, in the cause of God, he said to his father and mother, I have not seen him, Deuteronomy 33:9. And, while he was sure of the favour of God, he feared not the anger of men; he that bade him do it would bear him out. Yet, 4. Though he feared not their resentment when it was done, to prevent their resistance in the doing of it he prudently chose to do it by night, that he might not be disturbed in these sacred actions. And some think it was the same night in which God spoke to him to do it, and that, as soon as ever he had received the orders, he immediately applied himself to the execution of them, and finished before morning.

_ _ III. He was brought into peril of his life for doing it, Judges 6:28-30. 1. It was soon discovered what was done. Gideon, when he had gone through with the business, did not desire the concealment of it, nor could it be hid, for the men of the city rose early in the morning, as it should seem, to say their matins at Baal's altar, and so to begin the day with their god, such a one as he was, a shame to those who say the true God is their God, and yet, in the morning, direct no prayer to him, nor look up. 2. It was soon discovered who had done it. Strict enquiry was made. Gideon was known to be disaffected to the worship of Baal, which brought him into suspicion, and positive proof immediately came against him: “Gideon, no doubt, has done this thing.” 3. Gideon being found guilty of the fact, to such a pitch of impiety had these degenerate Israelites arrived that they take it for law he must die for the same, and require his own father (who, by patronising their idolatry, had given them too much cause to expect he would comply with them herein) to deliver him up: Bring out thy son, that he may die. Be astonished, O heavens! at this, and tremble, O earth! By the law of God the worshippers of Baal were to die, but these wicked men impiously turn the penalty upon the worshippers of the God of Israel. How prodigiously mad were they upon their idols! Was it not enough to offer the choicest of their bullocks to Baal, but must the bravest youth of their city fall as a sacrifice to that dunghill-deity, when they pretended he was provoked? How soon will idolaters become persecutors!

_ _ IV. He was rescued out of the hands of his persecutors by his own father, Judges 6:31.

_ _ 1. There were those that stood against Gideon, that not only appeared at the first to make a demand, but insisted on it, and would have him put to death. Notwithstanding the heavy judgments they were at this time under for their idolatry, yet they hated to be reformed, and walked contrary to God even when he was walking contrary to them.

_ _ 2. Yet then Joash stood for him; he was one of the chief men of the city. Those that have power may do a great deal for the protection of an honest man and an honest cause, and when they so use their power they are ministers of God for good.

_ _ (1.) This Joash had patronised Baal's altar, yet now protects him that had destroyed it, [1.] Out of natural affection to his son, and perhaps a particular esteem for him as a virtuous, valiant, valuable, young man, and never the worse for not joining with him in the worship of Baal. Many that have not courage enough to keep their integrity themselves yet have so much conscience left as makes them love and esteem those that do. If Joash had a kindness for Baal, yet he had a greater kindness for his son. Or, [2.] Out of a care for the public peace. The mob grew riotous, and, he feared, would grow more so, and therefore, as some think, he bestirred himself to repress the tumult: “Let it be left to the judges; it is not for you to pass sentence upon any man;” he that offers it, let him be put to death: he means not as an idolater, but as a disturber of the peace, and the mover of sedition. Under this same colour Paul was rescued at Ephesus from those that were as zealous for Diana as these were for Baal, Acts 19:40. Or, [3.] Out of a conviction that Gideon had done well. His son, perhaps, had reasoned with him, or God, who has all hearts in his hands, had secretly and effectually influenced him to appear thus against the advocates for Baal, though he had complied with them formerly in the worship of Baal. Note, It is good to appear for God when we are called to it, though there be few or none to second us, because God can incline the hearts of those to stand by us from whom we little expect assistance. Let us do our duty, and then trust God with our safety.

_ _ (2.) Two things Joash urges: — [1.] That it was absurd for them to plead for Baal. “Will you that are Israelites, the worshippers of the one only living and true God, plead for Baal, a false god? Will you be so sottish, so senseless? Those whose fathers' god Baal was, and who never knew any other, are more excusable in pleading for him than you are, that are in covenant with Jehovah, and have been trained up in the knowledge of him. You that have smarted so much for worshipping Baal, and have brought all this mischief and calamity upon yourselves by it, will you yet plead for Baal?” Note, It is bad to commit sin, but it is great wickedness indeed to plead for it, especially to plead for Baal, that idol, whatever it is, which possesses that room in the heart which God should have. [2.] That it was needless for them to plead for Baal. If he were not a god, as was pretended, they could have nothing to say for him; if he were, he was able to plead for himself, as the God of Israel had often done by fire from heaven, or some other judgment against those who put contempt upon him. Here is a fair challenge to Baal to do either good or evil, and the result convinced his worshippers of their folly in praying to one to help them that could not avenge himself; after this Gideon remarkably prospered, and thereby it appeared how unable Baal was to maintain his own cause.

_ _ (3.) Gideon's father hereupon gave him a new name (Judges 6:32); he called him Jerubbaal: “Let Baal plead; let him plead against him if he can; if he have any thing to say for himself against his destroyer, let him say it.” This name was a standing defiance to Baal: “Now that Gideon is taking up arms against the Midianites that worship Baal, let him defend his worshippers if he can.” It likewise gave honour to Gideon (a sworn enemy to that great usurper, and that had carried the day against him), that encouragement to his soldiers, that they fought under one that fought for God against this great competitor with him for the throne. It is the probable conjecture of the learned that that Jerombalus whom Sanchoniathon (one of the most ancient of all the heathen writers) speaks of as a priest of the god Jao (a corruption of the name Jehovah), and one to whom he was indebted for a great deal of knowledge, was this Jerubbaal. He is called Jerubbesheth (2 Samuel 11:12), Baal, a lord, being fitly turned into Besheth, shame.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Judges 6:25

The second bullock — He was to offer one for himself, the other for the sins of the people, whom he was to deliver. 'Till sin be pardoned thro' the great sacrifice, no good is to be expected. Thy father hath — Which thy father built in his own ground, tho' for the common use of the city. The grove — Planted by the altar for idolatrous uses, as the manner of idolaters was. This action might seem injurious to his father's authority; but God's command was a sufficient warrant, and Gideon was now called to be the supreme magistrate, whereby he was made his father's superior, and was authorized to root out all idolatry, and the instruments thereof.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Judges 6:25

And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock (k) of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that [is] by it:

(k) That is, as the Chaldea text writes, fed seven years.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Take thy father's:

Genesis 35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that [were] with him, Put away the strange gods that [are] among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
Job 22:23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.
Psalms 101:2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

even:
or, and, throw,
1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
2 Corinthians 6:15-17 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? ... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,

thy father:

Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

cut down:

Judges 3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.
Exodus 34:13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
Deuteronomy 7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
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Gn 35:2. Ex 34:13. Dt 7:5. Jg 3:7. 1K 18:21. Jb 22:23. Ps 101:2. Mt 6:24; 10:37. Ac 4:19; 5:29. 2Co 6:15.

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