Gideon – a fine fella’


Gideon’s story is a more involved one than any of the saviour-judges we have looked at so far in this series. Gideon’s victory leads to the first call for a King in Israel, while Gideon doesn’t take the title he lives like a king  (though not in a good way) with many wives and concubines, one of his sons by a concubine is even called “Abimelech” which means “My Dad is King”.

Gideon also acts a bit like a priest, taking the clothing and gold from the conquered  king’s and makes a lavish priestly garment, an ephod from it. Unfortunately the people start worshiping the Ephod.

Despite his failures from a modern perspective, Gideon is remembered as a good man, he is even a Saint in the Orthodox Church, because Gideon prays, listens, obeys and defers to YHWH.  He even turns down the offered kingship with the words ” The LORD shall rule over you”, Judges  8:23.

Gideon the hackerBut the point of these articles is to examine the contribution each of the seven saviour-judges makes towards our understand of Jesus, the promised saviour-judge. For that we need to think about Gideon by his nom-de-plume, “Jerubbal” which he acquires for chopping down the Asherah pole and pulling down Baal’s altar before building one for YHWH. “Jerubbaal” means “He will contend with Baal” (Jones’ Dictionary of OT Names).
In chopping down the Asherah, Gideon lives up to his birth name, which means Jones’ translates as “Feller” or “Cutter down”.

When the people see that nothing happens to Gideon they start to lose their fear of the Midianites. So Gideon’s real victory is one of  spiritual warfare… as is the cross.

gideon and angelBut there are some other nice parallels too. For instance an Angel first brings the instruction to “Deliver the people” in a dialogue in a wine press (Gideon is hiding there for fear), Judges 8:11. Jesus fully accepts his role in the Garden of Gethsemane, which means “Olive Press”  when an Angel comes to “strengthen” him in his task, Luke 22:43.

And the pattern of prayer and listening for an answer is maintained by
Gideon right through his victory. It is a hallmark of Holy Spirit led spiritual victory that those controlled by the demonic or occult tend to become fearful Gethsemaneand confused, which is exactly what happens  to the vast Midianite army when Gideon leads 300 men to pretend to be a vast army, by lighting torches and making a lot of noise at night on three sides of the encamped enemy… they rush up hill to escape the perceived hoard running straight towards the 10,000 men who have stayed back at camp.

Finally it is the Spirit that comes on Gideon to make him a leader of men.

Gideon is a man from an unimportant family anointed by the Spirit he challenges gods and kings, he behaves like a king and a priest though he never formally accepts either position

Ultimately though it is the dynamic of Spiritual Warfare that Gideon adds to emerging picture of Christ and his saving work. He contended with the prince of this world and won!

Christen Forster

Christen Forster is widely recognised as an original Bible teacher who brings people into a love of and confidence in scripture.

Christen has planted churches, been a youth worker, mission administrator and church leaders. The author of several books, Christen is now an itinerant minister, helping churches to step into a more deliberately spiritual experience of the Christian life while at the same time firmly rooting their practice in scripture.

© 2000 - 2024 Christen Forster
Christen Forster

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