And Gideon had three score and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Threescore and ten sons.—According to Oriental fashion, no account is taken of his daughters.
He had many wives.—It is clear that Gideon was a king in all but name. This is the most magnificent, but the least honourable, period of his career. In Deuteronomy 17:17 it had been said of the future king, “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself. . . . neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” Polygamy was only adopted on a large scale by rulers (Judges 10:4; Judges 12:9).1 Kings 12:28.
28. Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel—This invasion of the Arab hordes into Canaan was as alarming and desolating as the irruption of the Huns into Europe. It was the severest scourge ever inflicted upon Israel; and both it and the deliverance under Gideon lived for centuries in the minds of the people (Ps 83:11).Judges 8:20 but this was the number of all his sons, both before and after, and a large number it was; and the phrase "of his body begotten", or "that went out of his thigh" is used to show that they were his own sons, begotten in wedlock, and not sons that he had taken into his family by adoption, or that he was father-in-law to, having married a woman or women that had sons by a former husband; but these were all his own:
for he had many wives; which, though not agreeable to the original law of marriage, was customary in those times, and even with good men, and was connived at; and this is a reason accounting for his having so many sons.And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)30. of his body begotten] Only again in Genesis 46:26 (‘which came out of his loins’) and Exodus 1:5 P, cf. Genesis 35:11 P. The more sons a man had, the greater his importance, cf. Jdg 10:4, Jdg 12:9.Verses 30-32. - Gideon had threescore and ten sons, etc. This notice helps us to fill up the picture of Gideon's state after the Midianitish victory, lie had indeed nobly refused the kingdom, as a Pericles would have refused to be tyrant of Athena But he did not return to poverty and obscurity, as L. Q. Cincinnatus, in the Roman legend, returned to his plough after his victory over the Volsciana He was judge over Israel for forty years, with a household and a harem like a great prince, living in his paternal city, with the ephod set up there, himself the centre round which the powers of Church and State gathered; directing the affairs of his country, both civil and ecclesiastical, with eminent success, so that the country was at peace for forty years (a peace as long as that which followed the battle of Water-leo], and the detestable Baal-worship was effectually suppressed. And having lived in wealth and honour, he died in peace, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father at Ophrah in a good old age. He remains to us as one of the most remarkable characters of the Old Testament, not indeed without faults and blemishes, and not wholly unspoiled by prosperity, but still a great man, and an eminent servant of God. Genesis 37:25).
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