Judges 8:19
And he said, They were my brothers, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not slay you.
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(19) The sons of my mother.—Comp. Genesis 43:29.

As the Lord liveth.Ruth 3:13; 1Samuel 14:41. (Comp. Æn. xii. 949.)

Jdg 8:19. If ye had saved them alive, &c. — For, as they were not Canaanites, he was not obliged by any command of God to put them to death: but as they had killed his brethren, and that, it seems, in cold blood, he was, by God’s law, the avenger of their death, being their near kinsman.8:18-21 The kings of Midian must be reckoned with. As they confessed themselves guilty of murder, Gideon acted as the avenger of blood, being the next of kin to the persons slain. Little did they think to have heard of this so long after; but murder seldom goes unpunished in this life. Sins long forgotten by man, must be accounted for to God. What poor consolation in death from the hope of suffering less pain, and of dying with less disgrace than some others! yet many are more anxious on these accounts, than concerning the future judgment, and what will follow.The sons of my mother - A much closer relation than that of brothers by the father only. (Compare Genesis 43:29; Deuteronomy 13:6; Psalm 69:8). This is the only hint preserved of the transaction. We cannot say exactly when the slaughter of Gideon's brethren on Mount Tabor took place, whether before the outbreak of the war Judges 6:33, or in the retreat and flight of the Midianites Judges 7:22. 19. They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother—That is, uterine brothers; but, in all countries where polygamy prevails, "the son of my mother" implies a closeness of relationship and a warmth of affection never awakened by the looser term, "brother." For being not Canaanites he was not obliged to kill them; but they having killed his brethren, and that in cool blood, he was by law the avenger of their blood. And he said, they were my brethren, even the sons of my mother,.... His brethren by his mother's side, but not by his father's side; or the phrase

the sons of my mother is added, to show that he did not mean brethren in a large sense, as all the Israelites were, but in a strict sense, being so nearly related as his mother's children:

as the Lord liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you; for not being Canaanites, he was not obliged by the law of God to put them to death, and by the law of nations, as they had surrendered themselves, and were made prisoners of war, they ought to have been saved; but as they appeared to be murderers, and had slain the Israelites in cold blood, they deserved to die; and the persons they had slain being Gideon's brethren, he was the avenger of blood, and it became him to put them to death.

And he said, They were my brethren, even the {k} sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.

(k) We all came from the same womb: therefore I will be revenged.

19. the sons of my mother] and not only of the same father; they were therefore specially dear, cf. Genesis 43:29. On Gideon as next of kin fell the duty of avenging his brothers’ blood; cf. 2 Samuel 3:27; 2 Samuel 3:30; 2 Samuel 14:7; 2 Samuel 21:5-6. The execution was a judicial act, even an act of religious obligation.Punishment of the Towns of Succoth and Pnuel, and Execution of the Captures Kings of Midian.

Judges 8:13-14

Gideon returned victorious from the war, החרס מלמעלה, "from by the ascent (or mountain road) of Hecheres," a place in front of the town of Succoth, with which we are not acquainted. This is the rendering adopted by the lxx, the Peshito, and the Arabic; but the rest of the early translators have merely guessed at the meaning. The Chaldee, which has been followed by the Rabbins and Luther, has rendered it "before sunset," in utter opposition to the rules of the language; for although cheres is a word used poetically to denote the sun, מעלה cannot mean the setting of the sun. Aquila and Symmachus, on the other hand, confound חרס with הרים. - Gideon laid hold of a young man of the people of Succoth, and got him to write down for him the princes and elders (magistrates and rulers) of the city, - in all seventy-seven men. ויּכתּב ויּשׁאלהוּ is a short expression for "he asked him the names of the princes and elders of the city, and the boy wrote them down." אליו, lit. to him, i.e., for him.

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