And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)When Gideon perceived.—The last sign gave him a deeper sense than before of the grandeur of the messenger who had come to him.
Alas !—There is no need to supply “I shall die” at the end of the clause, but that this was the apprehension in Gideon’s mind is shown by his cry of alarm.
For because.—Rather, for to this end. The belief that death or misfortune would be the result of looking on any Divine being was universal among the Jews. We find it in Judges 13:22; Genesis 16:13; Genesis 32:30; Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 5:24-25. He said, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33:20; Isaiah 6:5; Luke 5:8). The existence of the same belief among the heathen is shown in the legends of Semele, Actæon, Psyche, &c.; and Callimachus sings, “Whosoever, save by God’s own choice, looks on any of the immortals, sees them only to his own great cost.”Joshua 7:7. "because I have seen an angel of the Lord" Compare the marginal references, in which the notion that it was death for mortal man to see God appears clearly. The same notion prevailed among the pagan. Judges 6:23, according to the common opinion in that case; of which see Genesis 16:13 32:30 Exodus 33:20 Deu 5:25,26.
For because, or, for therefore, &c., i.e. therefore God hath showed me this sight as a presage of my death.
Gideon said, alas! O Lord God; woe to me, what will become of me, or befall me, I shall surely die:
for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face; and whom he had reason to believe was the Lord himself, a divine Person, by the miracle wrought; and it was a commonly received notion even among good men, in those times, that the Lord was not to be seen by them and live, as appears from Jacob, Manoah, and others; at least the appearance of a divine Person, and even of any messenger from heaven, was startling, surprising, and frightful to them; which arose from a sense they had of the divine Being, and of their own sinfulness and frailty.And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. Now at last Gideon recognizes the nature of his Guest; he is overwhelmed with terror, for he has intruded upon the holiness of God, and death must be the penalty; cf. Jdg 13:22 and Genesis 16:13; Genesis 32:30, Exodus 33:20 (all J), Deuteronomy 4:33; Deuteronomy 5:24; Deuteronomy 5:26, Isaiah 6:5.Verse 22. - Gideon perceived, etc. Gideon's suspicious were now turned into a certainty. It was indeed God that had spoken to him by his angel (ver. 17). Alas, etc. Gideon speaks thus in terror of the death which he thought must be the penalty of seeing the angel of the Lord (see Judges 13:22, and note). Because. Rather, therefore, or to this end, viz., that I should die. Exodus 3:12; Joshua 1:5), and thou wilt smite the Midianites as one man," i.e., at one blow, as they slay a single man (see Numbers 14:15).
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