2:1-5 – author feels that not obeying God's word results in trouble in terms of wars and idolatry.
2:15 – in sore straits... when the hand of the Lord is against you every time you march out!... to put it mildly.
2:22 – interesting explanation for why others were left in their midst... to test Israel's faithfulness amidst other attractions, and to give them general training in war (no religion involved! 3:1f)
3:15 and 20:16 – a tribe of southpaws! Wonder why it was mentioned. Oh – he wore his weapon unnoticed on the right side.
5:1f – the song of Deborah – likely contemporary and very ancient (prose version is late).
6:8ff – the chronicler's "anonymous prophet" in a bad time Word in the community, a personal word, and confirming signs to a historical and weak person – he makes a gift – and the confirmation follows.
6:33 – defeat of Baal worship opened the way for deliverance by the spirit filled the liver or – as today.
6:36f – to test or not to test – see also Isaiah 7:10 and Luke 4:12
7:6 – give me 300 who know this area (and are alert?) Not a mob. Anyone familiar with the territory would know the water to be leech-infested and not put their mouth into it! Very interesting. It seems that knowledge of the area of operation is essential – the terrain in which we are to operate – (or at least appropriate "military alertness" in behaviour). And factors such as these determine our usefulness for a particular task.
[August 94 – Charles Swindall – regarding Luke 14:33 more or less – where Christ counts the battle cost and lays down the three requirements of remuneration for the troops joining]
[This battle took place at the East End of the trade route Valley which runs east and west at the north end of the country – people tended to stay away from the central part of this valley as it was a malarial swamp, not drained until the 20th century when they put in a kibbutz. A large amount of biblical activity takes place in relation to this valley.]
7:8 – do we see ourselves as Gideon or as one of his band? – does God in fact let us go home when "in fear and trembling" and/or "clued out"? I think so. There are lots of tasks that "don't have our name on them", for which we would be an interfering mob – and there are also tasks in which we are an appropriate task force. By far, most people here were to do their part by going home! In terms of leadership, God says who's to go and who's to stay.
7:9-14 (a late gloss?) – just a little wiretapping to boost morale!
7:24f – a fascinating story about being "put off" at not being asked to help – and being quieted with the childish sort of explanation/consolation fit for such childishness.
8:6 – the civil servant types saw no expectation of success so didn't back "a loser"!
8:18f – what really motivated Gideon, a blood feud? Is he like most of us – we get involved when it hits our families, then we sugar-coat it with the theology of an "anti-Baal" holy war? Or is that just when we really see the larger issues?
9:5 doing it legally to avoid loose ends – "on one stone" – and "execution" versus a "murder", or perhaps a "sacrifice" versus a murder. Oh! The use of official church/state sanctions to justify our own agendas!
9:7f – the trees were too busy being useful to be bothered with being king etc.!
9:23f – it went sour – based on a sour beginning. Cf. living and dying by the sword one chooses.
9:38 – his only weapon was his big mouth! Silenced now by approaching danger.
9:46f – a little chemical warfare! Smoke them to death.
9:53f – a nice women's Lib type – kill me lest people say I was killed by a woman (macho!).
10:13-14 – "go get help from your hand-made Gods! There's a point when we are in such deep trouble that we know we’re playing games!
11:3 –Jephtha – son of a harlot, tossed out by the "heirs" and leader of a band of robbers – in a pinch, they turned to him to lead them.
11:31 – nice guy! A little human sacrifice to move things along with God! It seems to have been a practice at least to the post-exilic times (Exodus 22:29).
11:40 – it seems the community looked back on her as the "beginning of the end" – an ordinance against child sacrifice – even though it continued to post-exilic days. An early case of demythologizing a feast to give it a historical basis!
12:14 – "70 asses" i.e. they were remembered for their "70 ass garage"!
13:5 – "he shall begin to deliver" – it was a long battle ending with David's work.
13:8 – "oh Lord, I need parent effectiveness training!" How we all feel when we're going to have kids!
13:23 – Good old practical down-to-earth women – thank God! "Ah! Baloney"
13:25 – "and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him" in his hometown.
14:20 – he lost girl number one to his best man!
16:18 – "when Delilah saw that he had told her all his mind" it shows – after playing with temptation there is a change in us once we cross the line and people can tell we've blown it.
16:19 – "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free" and he did not know that the Lord had left him – a lovely description of the United Church (institutional church in general) nowadays.
–... but the hair on his head began to grow again (in prison).
16:30f – he gets strength back but died anyway as the curse of sin remained. An interesting theological presentation overlaid on this early story.
17:8 – he sets out to find a job as priest!
18:19-20 early church politics! Scramble for larger "preferments"!
18:25 – i.e. his life is worth more than the religious paraphernalia (including priest!)
18:30 – grandson of Moses – the "drift" from first-generation religion to third is an old pattern – it doesn't run in the bloodstream.
19 and 20 – nice guys!