Language and History English a traditional approach to grammar and composition
1
Gideon’s Fleece
Part one

Based on Judges 6.

Gideon is numbered among Israel’s ‘Judges’, charismatic leaders of the ancient tribes of Israel after they escaped from slavery in Egypt and settled in the land of Canaan, sometime before the 11th century BC. Their task was to free Israel from the ever-present temptation to adopt the religions of the indigenous peoples.

NOT long after the Israelites escaped from Egypt and settled in Canaan, their new home was invaded by the Kingdom of Midian. For seven years their crops and herds were destroyed or seized by the invaders, but the greatest indignity they suffered was that altars and groves sacred to Baal, the Midianites’ imaginary god, were set up on their lands, and there was just such a grove on the lands of Joash.*

One day, a stranger approached Joash’s son Gideon, and told him that God had chosen him to save Israel. Gideon doubted his fitness for such a task; but what he did not doubt was that the stranger had been angel of God. So that night, Gideon crept out and felled the sacred grove, built an altar, and offered a bullock to the God of Israel.

Next morning the townspeople saw the ruined grove, and their council men, in fear of the Midianites, demanded that Gideon pay with his life.

* Joash lived in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites, a few miles southwest of Shechem (very close to modern-day Nablus) in Manasseh. See A Map of the Twelve Tribes of Israel at Wikimedia Commons, where Shechem is marked Siquem.

* The Kingdom of Midian lay in what is now the northwest of Saudi Arabia, on the eastern shore of the Red Sea.

Based on Judges 6.

The Story of Gideon

More like this

Tales from the Bible (40) The Story of Gideon (5) The Book of Judges (6)

Picture: © TrickyH, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0. View original
Gideon’s hometown of Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites lay close to the city of Shechem, the principal city of the tribe of Manasseh. The remains of the ancient city can still be seen here in the shadow of the modern Israeli city of Nablus, which lies thirty miles north of Jerusalem. Nablus was included in the British Mandate for Palestine that formed the legal basis of the State of Israel, but was annexed by the Transjordan in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. Israel regained the city in the Six-Day War of 1967, and in 1995, granted administration of Nablus to the Palestinian Authority.
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