And Gideon said to God, Let not your anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray you, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once.—The phrase is the same as in Genesis 18:32. The word rendered “anger” is literally nose. The Hebrew language is very picturesque in its metaphors, and “anger” is so often expressed by the dilatation of the nostrils, that “nose” became a graphic term for anger, as it is to this day in many Eastern languages. I have given some illustrations in my Language and Languages, p. 197, &c.Jdg 6:39. Gideon said — In a way of humble supplication, for the strengthening his own faith, and for the greater encouragement of his soldiers in this great attempt. On all the earth — That is, upon all that spot of ground which encompasses the fleece. On the ground — Which was more preternatural than the former instance, because, if there be any moisture, such bodies as fleeces of wool are likely to drink it up.Judges 6:40, would be more convincing than the former, because it is the nature of fleeces to attract and retain moisture.
let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once; he was conscious to himself that it showed great presumption and boldness in him to repeat his request, and that it had the appearance of great diffidence and distrust in him, after he had been indulged with such a sign to confirm his faith; but as it was not so much on his own account as others, and promising to ask no more favours of this kind, he hoped his boldness would not be resented:
let me prove, l pray thee, but this once with the fleece one time more with it, and that not to try the power of God, of which he had no doubt, but the will of God, whether it was the good pleasure of God to save Israel by his hand, and whether now was the time, or another:
let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew; which might seem to be a greater, at least a plainer miracle than the former, and less liable to cavil and objection; for it might be urged, that a fleece of wool naturally draws in and drinks up moisture about it; wherefore that to be dry, and the ground all around it wet, would be a sure sign and evidence of the wonderful interposition of the power and providence of God, in directing the fall of the dew on the one, and not on the other.And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)39. I will speak but this once] recalls the language of Abraham in Genesis 18:32 J. The dew would naturally soak the fleece more than the rocky threshing-floor; so Gideon asks for a sign still more extraordinary.Judges 6:33-35), and entreated God to assure him by a sign of gaining the victory over the enemy (Judges 6:36-40).
The enemy gathered together again, went over (viz., across) the Jordan in the neighbourhood of Beisan (see at Judges 7:24 and Judges 8:4), and encamped in the valley of Jezreel (see at Joshua 17:16). "And the Spirit of Jehovah came upon Gideon" (לבשׁה, clothed, i.e., descended upon him, and laid itself around him as it were like a coat of mail, or a strong equipment, so that he became invulnerable and invincible in its might: see 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2 Chronicles 24:20, and Luke 24:49). Gideon then blew the trumpet, to call Israel to battle against the foe (see Judges 3:27); "and Abiezer let itself be summoned after him." His own family, which had recognised the deliverer of Israel in the fighter of Baal, who was safe from Baal's revenge, was the first to gather round him. Their example was followed by all Manasseh, i.e., the Manassites on the west of the Jordan (for the tribes on the east of the Jordan took no part in the war), and the neighbouring tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali on the north, which had been summoned by heralds to the battle. "They advanced to meet them:" i.e., to meet the Manassites, who were coming from the south to the battle, to make war upon the enemy in concert with them and under the guidance of Gideon. עלה is used to denote their advance against the enemy (see at Joshua 8:2), and not in the sense of going up, since the Asherites and Naphtalites would not go up from their mountains into the plain of Jezreel, but could only go down.
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