Judges 8:21
Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise you, and fall on us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Rise thou, and fall upon us.—They deprecated the pain and shame of falling by the irresolute hands of a boy.

For as the man . . . his strength.Deuteronomy 33:25. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

Ornaments.Saharonim, “little moons,” crescent-shaped ornaments of gold and silver, still in common use to decorate animals. Isaiah 3:18, “round tires like the moon.” “Niveo lunata monilia dente” (Stat. Theb. ix. 689). After one of his battles Mohammed found a slain camel adorned with these lunulœ and with strings of emeralds. The Roman senators (for another reason) wore silver crescents on their shoes.

Jdg 8:21. Rise thou, and fall upon us — They thought it better to die by the hand of Gideon, who was as eminent for his strength as his dignity, and would despatch them with more speed than a stripling could.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 ornaments - See marg. and compare Isaiah 3:18. The custom of adorning the necks of their camels with gold chains and ornaments prevailed among the Arabs so late as the time of Mahomet. 20. he said unto Jether his first-born, Up, and slay them—The nearest of kin was the blood-avenger; but a magistrate might order any one to do the work of the executioner; and the person selected was always of a rank equal or proportioned to that of the party doomed to suffer (1Ki 2:29). Gideon intended, then, by the order to Jether, to put an honor on his son, by employing him to slay two enemies of his country; and on the youth declining, he performed the bloody deed himself. As the man is, so is his strength: thou excellest him, as in age and stature, so in strength; and it is more honourable, as well as easy, to dig by the hands of a valiant man. Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, rise thou and fall upon us,.... Since they must die, they chose rather to die by the hand of so great a man and valiant a commander as Gideon, which was more honourable than to die by the hand of a youth:

for as the man is, so is his strength; signifying, that as he was a stout able man, he had strength sufficient to dispatch them at once, which his son had not, and therefore they must have died a lingering and painful death: wherefore as they consulted their honour, so their ease, in desiring to die by the hand of Gideon:

and Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna; nor was it unusual in those early times for great personages, as judges and generals, to be executioners of others, as were Samuel and Benaiah, 1 Samuel 15:33.

and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks; the Targum calls them chains, as in Judges 8:26 no doubt of gold; so the horses of King Latinus (b) had golden poitrels or collars hanging down their breasts. They were, according to Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Gersom, in the form of the moon; see Isaiah 3:18 some have thought that these were worn in honour of Astarte, or the moon, the goddess of the Phoenicians, from whom these people had borrowed that idolatry.

(b) Virg. Aeneid. l. 7. v. 278.

Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for {l} as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.

(l) Meaning, that they would be freed from their pain at once, or else have a valiant man put them to death.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. The chiefs reply with undaunted spirit like true sons of the desert: as the man is, so is his strength, i.e. a man has a man’s strength (Moore); but the word so is not expressed in the terse Hebrew.

crescents] lit. moons, metal ornaments worn not only by the kings but by their camels, Jdg 8:26, and by the women of Jerusalem, Isaiah 3:18. The name is not Israelite, nor is it the ordinary word for ‘moon’; it is related to the old Aramaic name of the moon-god (sahar).Verse 21. - The ornaments. Literally, little moons, crescent-shaped ornaments of gold and silver, which as well as "chains" (ver. 26) were hung as ornaments on their camels' necks (cf. Judges 5:30). It would seem from ver. 26 that the kings themselves also wore these ornaments; and in Isaiah 3:18 they are enumerated among the articles of female attire - round tires like the moon, A.V.

CHAPTER 8:22-35 Gideon then reproached the elders with the insult they had offered him (Judges 8:6), and had them punished with desert thorns and thistles. "Men of Succoth" (Judges 8:15 and Judges 8:16) is a general expression for "elders of Succoth" (Judges 8:16); and elders a general term applied to all the representatives of the city, including the princes. אתי חרפתּם אשׁר, with regard to whom ye have despised me. אשׁר is the accusative of the more distant or second object, not the subject, as Stud. supposes. "And he taught the men of Succoth (i.e., caused them to know, made them feel, punished them) with them (the thorns)." There is no good ground for doubting the correctness of the reading ויּדע. The free renderings of the lxx, Vulg., etc., are destitute of critical worth; and Bertheau's assertion, that if it were the Hiphil it would be written יודע, is proved to be unfounded by the defective writing in Numbers 16:5; Job 32:7.
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