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Relationship to Judges. The relationship of Chapters 6-9 to the rest of Judges is discussed at Judges.
Story. Chapters 6-9 consist of an introductory episode, two major episodes, and a brief mention of two of the six "minor judges."
- Judg 6:1-10: Unnamed prophet. In this short introductory episode an unnamed prophet reproves Israel for not trusting in the Lord.
- Judg 6:11-8:35: Gideon. In the third of the six major episodes in the development section of Chapters 3-16, Gideon raises an army to resist the Midianites, but is repeatedly instructed to send soldiers home until only 300 remain, making the point that the resulting 40 years of rest was delivered by the Lord and not by force of arms.
- Judg 9:1-57: Abimelech. The fourth of the six major episodes in the development section of Chapters 3-16 does not involve any foreign conflict. Abimelech briefly makes himself king of Israel before he is killed by a woman who drops a millstone on his head. This central story of israel's faithlessness to the house of its deliverer Gideon can be read as an analogy of Israel's faithlessness to its deliverer the Lord.
- Judg 10:1-5: Two minor judges. The judgeships of Tola and Jair are briefly mentioned.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Judges 6-9 include:
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- Judg 6:11-15: Gideon. The name Gideon means "hacker." The root verb is used elsewhere to describe the hacking down idolatrous images or shrines (cf. Deut 7:5; 12:3; 2 Chr 14:3; 31:1). In this sense, the name likely foreshadows either hacking down of the altar of Baal in Judg 6:25-32. It could also refer to the hacking down of Israel's enemies depicted in Judg 7.
- Judg 6:32: Jerubbaal. Literally, "let Baal strive," basically meaning "Baal's antagonist" (see last sentence here).
- Judg 6:36: God's patience with Gideon. Earlier, Gideon was slow to recognize God and asked for a sign (cf. verse 17). Here again, Gideon is asking for another sign from God, trying God's patience (cf. verse 18).
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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