Judges 8:3
God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.
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(3) Then their anger was abated towards him.—The soft answer turned away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). The word for anger is mach, “wind,” or “spirit”—anger expressed by fierce breathing through the nostrils, “the blast of the terrible ones” (Isaiah 25:4). (Comp. Ecclesiastes 10:4 : “If the spirit (ruach) of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.”) “Gideon’s good words were as victorious as his sword.”—Bp. Hall.

Jdg 8:3. Then their anger was abated — According to that fine maxim of Solomon, “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”

8:1-3 Those who will not attempt or venture any thing in the cause of God, will be the most ready to censure and quarrel with such as are of a more zealous and enterprising spirit. And those who are the most backward to difficult services, will be the most angry not to have the credit of them. Gideon stands here as a great example of self-denial; and shows us that envy is best removed by humility. The Ephraimites had given vent to their passion in very wrong freedom of speech, a certain sign of a weak cause: reason runs low when chiding flies high.A civil war with the great tribe of Ephraim would soon have turned Israel's victory into mourning. Gideon therefore soothes their wounded pride by confessing that Ephraim had done more, though they had joined him so late in the day, than he had been able to effect in the whole campaign. The grape-gleaning of Ephraim was better than the whole vintage of Abi-ezer. 2, 3. he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you?—His mild and truly modest answer breathes the spirit of a great as well as good man, who was calm, collected, and self-possessed in the midst of most exciting scenes. It succeeded in throwing oil on the troubled waters (Pr 16:1), and no wonder, for in the height of generous self-denial, it ascribes to his querulous brethren a greater share of merit and glory than belonged to himself (1Co 13:4; Php 2:3). His soft and humble answer allayed their rage and envy. See Proverbs 15:1 25:15.

God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb,.... A high honour this conferred upon you, and with which you may be well contented:

and what was I able to do in comparison of you? what he had done in defeating and pursuing the army of Midian, in slaying and taking any of them prisoners, was nothing in comparison of what they had done; nay, he signifies that he was not capable of doing anything worth mentioning without them; the glory of finishing this conquest was reserved for them:

then their anger was abated towards him when he had said that; it being what gratified their pride and was pleasing to them; and this conduct of Gideon showed him to be a wise and humble man.

God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.
Judges 8:3When the Ephraimites met with Gideon, after they had smitten the Midianites at Oreb and Zeeb, and were pursuing them farther, they said to him, "What is the thing that thou hast done to us (i.e., what is the reason for your having done this to us), not to call us when thou wentest forth to make war upon Midian? And they did chide with him sharply," less from any dissatisfied longing for booty, than from injured pride or jealousy, because Gideon had made war upon the enemy and defeated them without the co-operation of this tribe, which was striving for the leadership. Gideon's reply especially suggests the idea of injured ambition: "What have I now done like you?" sc., as if I had done as great things as you. "Is not the gleaning of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?" The gleaning of Ephraim is the victory gained over the flying Midianites. Gideon declares this to be better than the vintage of Abiezer, i.e., the victory obtained by him the Abiezrite with his 300 men, because the Ephraimites had slain two Midianitish princes. The victory gained by the Ephraimites must indeed have been a very important one, as it is mentioned by Isaiah (Isaiah 10:26) as a great blow of the Lord upon Midian. "And what could I do like you?" i.e., could I accomplish such great deeds as you? "Then their anger turned away from him." רוּח, the breathing of the nose, snorting, hence "anger," as in Isaiah 25:4, etc.
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