Judges 6:17
And he said to him, If now I have found grace in your sight, then show me a sign that you talk with me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) I have found grace in thy sight.—A phrase found both in the Old and New Testament. (See Genesis 6:8; Esther 5:8.)

Shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.—Give me some clear proof that this is no mere vision, and that thy message is really from God, and portends me favour. (See Psalm 86:17; Isaiah 7:11.)

Depart not hence.—Comp. 1Kings 13:15.

My present.—My minchah. The word means first “an offering,” but specially “an offering to God,” as throughout the Book of Leviticus for the meat-offering of flour, &c. Hence the LXX. render it “the sacrifice”: “and I will sacrifice before thee.” Gideon seems, however, purposely to use a neutral word, suspecting, but not yet being convinced, that the stranger under the terebinth is something more than man. The desire to be hospitable may have mingled with his deepening sense of awe. (Comp. Judges 13:15; Genesis 18:6.)

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.A sign - If the Angel ate of Gideon's present it would be a conclusive proof of the reality of the vision. (Compare John 21:9-13; Luke 24:37-43; Acts 10:41.) It would also be a token of God's goodwill to Gideon. Compare Genesis 18:3. Jud 6:17-32. Gideon's Present Consumed by Fire. That it is thou, to wit, an angel or messenger sent from God, that appears to me, and discourseth with me; and not a fancy or delusion; that thou art in truth what thou seemest and pretendest to be, Judges 7:12. Or,

a sign of that which thou talkest with me, i.e. that thou wilt by me smite the Midianites. And he said unto him, if now I have found grace in thy sight, &c. Or seeing he had, as appeared by his salutation of him as a man of might, by the work he gave him a commission to do, and by the promise of assistance and success:

then show me a sign that thou talkest with me; in the name of God, as a messenger sent by him, whether an angel or a man; for who he was as yet Gideon was not clear in it, and that what he had said was truth, and would be certainly fulfilled; and which Gideon might desire, not so much, or at least not only for his own sake, and the confirmation of his faith, for which he is renowned, as that he might be able to satisfy others that he had a commission from God, by a messenger of his, to attempt the deliverance of Israel.

And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me {g} a sign that thou talkest with me.

(g) So that we see how the flesh is the enemy of God's calling, which cannot be persuaded without signs.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. shew me a sign that it is thou] Gideon asks for a sign that it is indeed Jehovah who charges him with this great undertaking (Jdg 6:14; Jdg 6:16); but in the following verse Gideon clearly does not know who is addressing him. Jehovah wills partly to retain and partly to withdraw the disguise. His words suggest to Gideon that He is no ordinary stranger. But some scholars think that these words (Jdg 6:17 b) cannot come from the same hand as Jdg 6:18.Verse 17. - A sign that thou talkest with me - that it is indeed thou thyself that speakest to me, even God, and that there is no illusion. Call of Gideon to Be the Deliverer of Israel. - As the reproof of the prophet was intended to turn the hearts of the people once more to the Lord their God and deliverer, so that manner in which God called Gideon to be their deliverer, and rescued Israel from its oppressors through his instrumentality, as intended to furnish the most evident proof that the help and salvation of Israel were not to be found in man, but solely in their God. God had also sent their former judges. The Spirit of Jehovah had come upon Othniel, so that he smote the enemy in the power of God (Judges 3:10). Ehud had put to death the hostile king by stratagem, and then destroyed his army; and Barak had received the command of the Lord, through the prophetess Deborah, to deliver His people from the dominion of their foes, and had carried out the command with her assistance. But Gideon was called to be the deliverer of Israel through an appearance of the angel of the Lord, to show to him and to all Israel, that Jehovah, the God of the fathers, was still near at hand to His people, and could work miracles as in the days of old, if Israel would only adhere to Him and keep His covenant. The call of Gideon took place in two revelations from God. First of all the Lord appeared to him in the visible form of an angel, in which He had already made himself known to the patriarchs, and summoned him in the strength of God to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Midianites (Judges 6:11-24). He then commanded him, in a dream of the night, to throw down his father's altar of Baal, and to offer a burnt-offering to Jehovah his God upon an altar erected for the purpose (Judges 6:25-32). In the first revelation the Lord acknowledged Gideon; in the second He summoned Gideon to acknowledge Him as his God.

Judges 6:11-24

Appearance of the Angel of the Lord. - Judges 6:11. The angel of the Lord, i.e., Jehovah, in a visible self-revelation in human form (see Pentateuch, pp. 106ff.), appeared this time in the form of a traveller with a staff in his hand (Judges 6:21), and sat down "under the terebinth which (was) in Ophrah, that (belonged) to Joash the Abi-ezrite." It was not the oak, but Ophrah, that belonged to Joash, as we may see from Judges 6:24, where the expression "Ophrah of the Abi-ezrite" occurs. According to Joash Judges 17:2 and 1 Chronicles 7:18, Abiezer was a family in the tribe of Manasseh, and according to Judges 6:15 it was a small family of that tribe. Joash was probably the head of the family at that time, and as such was the lord or owner of Ophrah, a town (Judges 8:27; cf. Judges 9:5) which was called "Ophrah of the Abi-ezrite," to distinguish it from Ophrah in the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:23). The situation of the town has not yet been determined with certainty. Josephus (Ant. v. 6, 5) calls it Ephran. Van de Velde conjectures that it is to be found in the ruins of Erfai, opposite to Akrabeh, towards the S.E., near the Mohammedan Wely of Abu Kharib, on the S.W. of Janun (Me. pp. 337-8), close to the northern boundary of the tribe-territory of Ephraim, if not actually within it. By this terebinth tree was Gideon the son of Joash "knocking out wheat in the wine-press." חבט does not mean to thresh, but to knock with a stick. The wheat was threshed upon open floors, or in places in the open field that were rolled hard for the purpose, with threshing carriages or threshing shoes, or else with oxen, which they drove about over the scattered sheaves to tread out the grains with their hoofs. Only poor people knocked out the little corn that they had gleaned with a stick (Ruth 2:17), and Gideon did it in the existing times of distress, namely in the pressing-tub, which, like all wine-presses, was sunk in the ground, in a hole that had been dug out or hewn in the rock (for a description of cisterns of this kind, see Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 135-6), "to make the wheat fly" (i.e., to make it safe) "from the Midianites" (הנים as in Exodus 9:20).

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