Judges 8:33
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.

King James Bible
And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god.

American Standard Version
And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and played the harlot after the Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But after Gedeon was dead, the children of Israel turned again, and committed fornication with Baalim. And they made a covenant with Baal, that he should be their god:

English Revised Version
And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after the Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god.

Webster's Bible Translation
And it came to pass as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went astray after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god.

Judges 8:33 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"And Gideon made it into an ephod," i.e., used the gold of the rings obtained from the booty for making an ephod. There is no necessity, however, to understand this as signifying that 1700 shekels or 50 lbs. of gold had been used for the ephod itself, but simply that the making of the ephod was accomplished with this gold. The word ephod does not signify an image of Jehovah, or an idol, as Gesenius and others maintain, but the shoulder-dress of the high priest, no doubt including the choshen belonging to it, with the Urim and Thummim, as in 1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Samuel 21:10; 1 Samuel 23:6, 1 Samuel 23:9, etc. The material for this was worked throughout with gold threads; and in addition to that there were precious stones set in gold braid upon the shoulder-pieces of the ephod and upon the choshen, and chains made of gold twist for fastening the choshen upon the ephod (see Exodus 28:6-30). Now, if 50 lbs. of gold could not be used for these things, there were also fourteen precious stones to be procured, and the work itself to be paid for, so that 50 lbs. of gold might easily be devoted to the preparation of this state dress. The large quantity of gold, therefore, does not warrant us in introducing arbitrarily into the text the establishment of a formal sanctuary, and the preparation of a golden image of Jehovah in the form of a bull, as Bertheau has done, since there is no reference to פּסל or מסכה, as in Judges 17-18; and even the other words of the text do not point to the founding of a sanctuary and the setting up of an image of Jehovah.

(Note: Oehler has correctly observed in Herzog's Cyclopaedia, that Bertheau acts very arbitrarily when he represents Gideon as setting up the image of a bull, as Jeroboam did afterwards, since there is nothing to sustain it in the account itself. Why cannot Gideon have worshipped without any image of Jehovah, with the help of the altar mentioned in Judges 6:24, which was a symbol of Jehovah's presence, and remained standing till the historian's own time?)

The expression which follows, אתו ויּצּג, does not affirm that "he set it up," but may also mean, "he kept it in his city of Ophrah." הצּג is never used to denote the setting up of an image or statue, and signifies not only to put up, but also to lay down (e.g., Judges 6:37), and to let a thing stand, or leave behind (Genesis 33:15). The further remark of the historian, "and all Israel went thither a whoring after it, and it became a snare to Gideon and his house," does not presuppose the founding of a sanctuary or temple in Ophrah, and the setting up of a golden calf there. In what the whoring of Israel after the ephod, i.e., the idolatry of the Israelites with Gideon's ephod which was kept in Ophrah, consisted, cannot be gathered or determined from the use of the ephod in the worship of Jehovah under the Mosaic law. "The breastplate upon the coat, and the holy lot, were no doubt used in connection with idolatry" (Oehler), and Gideon had an ephod made in his town of Ophrah, that he might thereby obtain revelations from the Lord. We certainly are not for a moment to think of an exposure of the holy coat for the people to worship. It is far more probable that Gideon put on the ephod and wore it as a priest, when he wished to inquire and learn the will of the Lord. It is possible that he also sacrificed to the Lord upon the altar that was built at Ophrah (Judges 6:24). The motive by which he was led to do this was certainly not merely ambition, as Bertheau supposes, impelling the man who, along with his followers, and maintained an independent attitude towards the tribe of Ephraim in the war itself (Judges 8:1.), to act independently of the common sanctuary of the congregation which was within the territory of Ephraim, and also of the office of the high priest in the time of peace as well. For there is not the slightest trace to be found of such ambition as this in anything that he did during the conflict with the Midianites. The germs of Gideon's error, which became a snare to him and to his house, lie unquestionably deeper than this, namely, in the fact that the high-priesthood had probably lost its worth in the eyes of the people on account of the worthlessness of its representatives, so that they no longer regarded the high priest as the sole or principal medium of divine revelation; and therefore Gideon, to whom the Lord had manifested himself directly, as He had not to any judge or leader of the people since the time of Joshua, might suppose that he was not acting in violation of the law, when he had an ephod made, and thus provided himself with a substratum or vehicle for inquiring the will of the Lord. His sin therefore consisted chiefly in his invading the prerogative of the Aaronic priesthood, drawing away the people from the one legitimate sanctuary, and thereby not only undermining the theocratic unity of Israel, but also giving an impetus to the relapse of the nation into the worship of Baal after his death. This sin became a snare to him and to his house.

Judges 8:33 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

as soon

Judges 2:7-10,17,19 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua...

Joshua 24:31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua...

2 Kings 12:2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.

2 Chronicles 24:17,18 Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king listened to them...

went

Judges 8:27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it...

Judges 2:17 And yet they would not listen to their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves to them...

Exodus 34:15,16 Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice to their gods...

Jeremiah 3:9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her prostitution, that she defiled the land...

Baal-berith. Literally, the lord of the covenant

Judges 9:4,46 And they gave him three score and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baalberith, with which Abimelech hired vain and light persons...

Cross References
Judges 2:11
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals.

Judges 2:12
And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger.

Judges 8:32
And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Judges 9:4
And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him.

Judges 9:27
And they went out into the field and gathered the grapes from their vineyards and trod them and held a festival; and they went into the house of their god and ate and drank and reviled Abimelech.

Judges 9:46
When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the house of El-berith.

Jeremiah 23:27
who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal?

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