Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary

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Judges 6

Chapter 6

v. 15:  In the town, Ophrah, Joash seems to have been a leader.[1]  Perhaps the fact that the angel addresses Gideon as “mighty warrior” supports this idea by implying that he belonged to an aristocratic warrior class, even if such a class were unofficial.  Nevertheless, when Gideon says that his clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and that he is the weakest in his clan, I believe he is telling the truth because this story emphasizes God’s choosing the weak things of this world to shame the mighty. [2]

v. 25:  I tend to think that this was the altar used by the whole town, not just Joash’s private one.  The size of it and the fact that it was the first thing noticed by the people coming out in the morning might support this idea.

v. 31:  This stance of Joash’s surprised me.  (I wonder if it surprised Gideon.)  I think the town was apostate and probably mixed with Canaanites, and it fell to Joash, as the town leader, to keep the altar.  He does not seem to have been very passionate about Baal worship.  He does not even appear to be upset about losing his bull, perhaps because he sees in Gideon (and Gideon’s act) the potential for freedom from the Midianites.  I think it is ironic that Baal, a false god, was depicted as a bull, and that a real bull pulled down Baal’s altar.


[1] He owned the altar and “the” oak in the town, and his voice seems to carry weight with the townspeople.  See v. 31, for instance.

[2] In other words, Joash may have been a town leader, but he may have been the weakest of the town leaders of Manasseh.

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