Judges 6:40
And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
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(40) It was dry upon the fleece only.—Such a result as this—not being in accordance with natural circumstances—could only have arisen from direct interposition. Besides the simple narrative, which tells us of these results as a sign granted to Gideon in accordance with his prayer, it is of course possible to allegorise the dew as the sign of God’s grace, and to say that the first sign represented Israel as replenished with God’s love when all was dry around (Hosea 14:5, “I will be as the dew unto Israel;” Micah 5:7, “Jacob shall be as the dew”); and the second, the fact that “God manifested himself in the weakness and forsaken condition of His people, while the nations were flourishing all around.” Similarly St. Ambrose (De Sp. Sanct, Prol. in 1) sees in the fleece full of dew the Hebrew nation hiding the mystery of Christ within itself, and in the dry fleece that mystery extended to all the world, but leaving the Hebrew nation dry. It would be equally possible to give a mystic significance to the threshing-floor, as a type of the universal Church (Matthew 3:12, &c.). But these allegoric applications of simple narratives are, to say the least, precarious; nor is there much value in Ewald’s comparison of the fleece to Gideon’s character, cool amid the general passion, dry amid the general damp of fear.

Jdg 6:40. And God did so — See how tender God is even of the weak; and how ready to condescend to their infirmities! These signs were very expressive. They are going to engage the Midianites. Could God distinguish between a small fleece of Israel and the vast floor of Midian? Yes, by this token it appears that he can. Is Gideon desirous that the dew of divine grace might descend on himself in particular? He sees the fleece wet with dew, to assure him of it. Does he desire that God will be as the dew to all Israel? Behold all the ground is wet!

6:33-40 These signs are truly miraculous, and very significant. Gideon and his men were going to fight the Midianites; could God distinguish between a small fleece of Israel, and the vast floor of Midian? Gideon is made to know that God could do so. Is Gideon desirous that the dew of Divine grace might come down upon himself in particular? He sees the fleece wet with dew to assure him of it. Does he desire that God will be as the dew to all Israel? Behold, all the ground is wet. What cause we sinners of the Gentiles have, to bless the Lord that the dew of heavenly blessings, once confined to Israel, is now sent to all the inhabitants of the earth! Yet still the means of grace are in different measures, according to the purposes of God. In the same congregation, one man's soul is like Gideon's moistened fleece, another like the dry ground.The threshing floors were and still are under the open air, and usually circular. The second sign Judges 6:40, would be more convincing than the former, because it is the nature of fleeces to attract and retain moisture. 34. the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon—Called in this sudden emergency into the public service of his country, he was supernaturally endowed with wisdom and energy commensurate with the magnitude of the danger and the difficulties of his position. His summons to war was enthusiastically obeyed by all the neighboring tribes. On the eve of a perilous enterprise, he sought to fortify his mind with a fresh assurance of a divine call to the responsible office. The miracle of the fleece was a very remarkable one—especially, considering the copious dews that fall in his country. The divine patience and condescension were wonderfully manifested in reversing the form of the miracle. Gideon himself seems to have been conscious of incurring the displeasure of God by his hesitancy and doubts; but He bears with the infirmities of His people. No text from Poole on this verse.

And God did so that night,.... The night following, the night being the season in which the dew falls:

for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground; and this might signify, that not Gideon only, as before, should partake of the divine favour, but all the Israelites, who would share in the salvation wrought by him. Many interpreters observe, that all this is an emblem of the different case and state of the Jews and Gentiles under the different dispensations; that whereas under the former dispensation the Jews partook of the divine favour only, and of the blessings of grace, and enjoyed the words and ordinances with which they were watered, when the Gentiles all around them were like a barren wilderness; so, under the Gospel dispensation, the Gentiles share the above benefits to a greater degree, while the Jews are entirely destitute of them.

And God did so that night: for it was {q} dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

(q) By which he was assured that it was a miracle of God.

Judges 6:40But as this sign was not quite a certain one, since wool generally attracts the dew, even when other objects remain dry, Gideon ventured to solicit the grace of God to grant him another sign with the fleece, - namely, that the fleece might remain dry, and the ground all round be wet with dew. And God granted him this request also. Gideon's prayer for a sign did not arise from want of faith in the divine assurance of a victory, but sprang from the weakness of the flesh, which crippled the strength of the spirit's faith, and often made the servants of God so anxious and despondent, that God had to come to the relief of their weakness by the manifestation of His miraculous power. Gideon knew himself and his own strength, and was well aware that his human strength was not sufficient for the conquest of the foe. But as the Lord had promised him His aid, he wished to make sure of that aid through the desired sign.

(Note: "From all these things, the fact that he had seen and heard the angel of Jehovah, and that he had been taught by fire out of the rock, by the disappearance of the angel, by the vision of the night, and by the words addressed to him there, Gideon did indeed believe that God both could and would deliver Israel through his instrumentality; but this faith was not placed above or away from the conflict of the flesh by which it was tested. And it is not strange that it rose to its greatest height when the work of deliverance was about to be performed. Wherefore Gideon with his faith sought for a sign from God against the more vehement struggle of the flesh, in order that his faith might be the more confirmed, and might resist the opposing flesh with the great force. And this petition for a sign was combined with prayers for the strengthening of his faith." - Seb. Schmidt.)

And "the simple fact that such a man could obtain the most daring victory was to be a special glorification of God" (O. v. Gerlach). The sign itself was to manifest the strength of the divine assistance to his weakness of faith. Dew in the Scriptures is a symbol of the beneficent power of God, which quickens, revives, and invigorates the objects of nature, when they have been parched by the burning heat of the sun's rays. The first sign was to be a pledge to him of the visible and tangible blessing of the Lord upon His people, the proof that He would grant them power over their mighty foes by whom Israel was then oppressed. The woollen fleece represented the nation of Israel in its condition at that time, when God had given power to the foe that was devastating its land, and had withdrawn His blessing from Israel. The moistening of the fleece with the dew of heaven whilst the land all round continued dry, was a sign that the Lord God would once more give strength to His people from on high, and withdraw it from the nations of the earth. Hence the second sign acquires the more general signification, "that the Lord manifested himself even in the weakness and forsaken condition of His people, while the nations were flourishing all around" (O. v. Gerl.); and when so explained, it served to confirm and strengthen the first, inasmuch as it contained the comforting assurance for all times, that the Lord has not forsaken His church, even when it cannot discern and trace His beneficent influence, but rules over it and over the nations with His almighty power.

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