Friday, December 19, 2014

The Book of Judges Chapter 13:6, 11, 18
Geneva Bible Translation Ed. 1599

6 Then the wife came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and the fashion of him was like the fashion of the Angel of God exceedingly fearful, but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name,
11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? and he said, Yea.
18 And the Angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, which is secret?

Study notes
Man of God - A prophet, or sacred person, sent with a message from God. Terrible - Or, venerable, awful, full of Majesty. Secret - Hidden from mortal men: or, wonderful, such as thou canst not comprehend: my nature and essence, (which is often signified by name in scripture) is incomprehensible. This shews, that this was the angel of the covenant, the Son of God. - John Wesley

He appeared in an human form, and therefore she calls him a man; and by his mien and deportment, and the message he brought, she concluded he was a man of God, that is, a prophet; by which name such persons went in those days; and so the Targum calls him a prophet of the Lord: but it is a mere conceit of Ben Gersom that it was Phinehas, who in all probability was not living; besides what is after related shows that this was a divine Person, and no other than the Son of God: for though she might never have seen an angel, yet it being a common notion that angels were very illustrious, of a beautiful form and of a shining countenance, and very majestic, she compares the man she saw to one; for by being "very terrible", is not meant that he was frightful, and struck her with horror, but venerable and majestic, which filled her with admiration. And [His name] was not to be known; as his nature and essence as a divine Person, which may be meant by his name, is what passes knowledge, is infinite and incomprehensible; see ( Proverbs 30:4 ) or "wonderful" (See John Gill on Isaiah 9:6), which is one of the names of Christ, and fitly agrees with him, who is wonderful in his person, as God and man; in his incarnation, in his offices and relations, in his love to his people, and in all he is unto them, and has done for them. - John Gill

Editor’s notation;
The Hebrew word for“wonderful”, (Strong’s Concordance), is  pala' paw-law' a primitive root; properly, perhaps to separate, i.e. distinguish (literally or figuratively); by implication, to be (causatively, make) great, difficult, wonderful:--accomplish, (arise...too, be too) hard, hidden, things too high, (be, do, do a, shew) marvelous(-ly, -els, things, work), miracles, perform, separate, make singular, (be, great, make) wonderful(-ers, -ly, things, works), wondrous (things, works, -ly).

The report which Manoah’s wife, in a transport of joy, brings in all haste to her husband, of this surprising message verses 6-7The glad tidings were brought her when she was alone, perhaps religiously employed in meditation or prayer; but she could not, she would not, conceal them from her husband, but gives him an account, of the messenger. It was a man of God, His countenance she could describe; it was very awful: he had such a majesty in his looks, such a sparkling eye, such a shining face, so powerfully commanding reverence and respect, that according to the idea she had of an angel he had the very countenance of one. But his name she can give no account of, nor to what tribe or city of Israel he belonged, for he did not think fit to tell her, and, for her part, the very sight of him struck such an awe upon her that she durst not ask him. She was abundantly satisfied that he was a servant of God; his person and message she thought carried their own evidence along with them, and she enquired no further.  We have here [also] an account of a second visit which the angel of God made to Manoah and his wife. Manoah earnestly prayed for it, verse 8. He was not incredulous of the story his wife told him; he knew she was a virtuous woman, and therefore the heart of her husband did safely trust in her; he knew she would not go about to impose upon him, much less was he, as Josephus unworthily represents him, jealous of his wife’s conversation with this stranger; but he takes it for granted that this child of promise shall in due time be given them, and speaks without hesitation of the child that shall be born. There was not found so great faith, no, not in Zechariah, a priest, then in waiting at the altar of the Lord, and to whom the angel himself appeared, as was in this honest Danite. Things hidden from the wise and prudent, who value themselves upon the niceness of their enquiries, are often revealed unto babes, who know how to prize God’s gifts and to take God’s word. Blessed are those that have not seen and yet, as Manoah here, have believed. 
He therefore prays to God to send the same blessed messenger again, to give them further instructions concerning the management of this Nazarite, fearing lest his wife’s joy for the promise might have made her forget some part of the precept, in which he was desirous to be fully informed, and lie under no mistake: "Lord, let the man of God come again unto us, for we desire to be better acquainted with him.’’ Note, Those that have heard from heaven cannot but wish to hear more thence, again and again to meet with the man of God. Observe, He does not go or send his servants abroad, to find out this man of God, but seeks him upon his knees, prays to God to send him, and, thus seeking, finds him. Would we have God’s messengers, the ministers of his gospel, to bring a word proper for us, and for our instruction? (Entreat the Lord to send them to us, to teach us, Romans 15:30) God graciously granted it: God hearkened to the voice of Manoah, v. 9. Note, God will not fail some way or other to guide those by his counsel that are sincerely desirous to know their duty, and apply themselves to him to teach them, Psalm 25:8-9. The angel appears the second time also to the wife, when she is sitting alone, probably tending the flocks, or otherwise well employed in the field where she has retired. Solitude is often a good opportunity of communion with God; good people have thought themselves never less alone than when alone, if God be with them. hose that would meet with God must attend where he is pleased to manifest himself. "Oh,’’ says she, overjoyed, "my dear love, thy prayers are answered—yonder is the man of God, come to make us another visit—he that came the other day,’’ or, as some read it, this day, for other is not in the original, and it is probable enough that both these visits were on the same day, and at the same place, and that the second time she sat expecting him. The man of God is very willing she should call her husband, John 4:16 . Those that have an acquaintance with the things of God themselves should invite others to the same acquaintance, John 1:45-46. Now let thy words come to pass; this was the language, not only of his desire, but of his faith, like that of the blessed Virgin, Luke 1:38 . "Be it according to thy word. Lord, I lay hold on what thou hast said, and depend upon it; let it come to pass.’’

Of what further passed between Manoah and the angel at this interview. It was in kindness to him that while the angel was with him it was concealed from him that he was an angel; for, had he known it, it would have been such a terror to him that he durst not have conversed with him as he did (verse 16): He knew not that he was an angel. So Christ was in the world, and the world knew him not. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself. We could not bear the sight of the divine glory unveiled. God having determined to speak to us by men like ourselves, prophets and ministers, even when he spoke by his angels, or by his Son, they appeared in the likeness of men, and were taken but for men of God. Now,1. The angel declined to accept his treat, and appointed him to turn it into a sacrifice. Manoah, being desirous to show some token of respect and gratitude to this venerable stranger who had brought them these glad tidings, begged he would take some refreshment with him (verse 15): We will soon make ready a kid for thee. Those that welcome the message will be kind to the messengers for his sake that sends them, 1 Thessalonians 5:13 . But the angel told him (verse 16) he would not eat of his bread, any more than he would of Gideon’s, but, as there, directed him to offer it to God, Chronicles 6:20-21. Angels need not meat nor drink; but the glorifying of God is their meat and drink, and it was Christ’s, John 4:34 . And we in some measure do the will of God as they do it if, though we cannot live without meat and drink, yet we eat and drink to the glory of God, and so turn even our common meals into sacrifices.2. The angel declined telling him his name, and would not so far gratify his curiosity. Manoah desired to know his name (verse 17), and of what tribe he was, not as if he doubted the truth of his message, but that they might return his visit, and be better acquainted with him (it is good to increase and improve our acquaintance with good men and good ministers); and he has a further design: "That when thy sayings come to pass, we may do thee honour, celebrate thee as a true prophet, and recommend others to thee for divine instructions,—that we may call the child that shall be born after thy name, and so do thee honour,—or that we may send thee a present, honouring one whom God has honoured.’’ But the angel denies his request with something of a check to his curiosity (verse 18): Why askest thou thus after my name? Jacob himself could not prevail for this favour, Genesis 32:29 . Note, We have not what we ask when we ask we know not what. Manoah’s request was honestly meant and yet was denied. God told Moses his name (Exodus3:13-14 ), because there was a particular occasion for his knowing it, but here there was no occasion. What Manoah asked for instruction in his duty he was readily told (verses 12-13), but what he asked to gratify his curiosity was denied. God has in his word given us full directions concerning our duty, but never designed to answer all the enquiries of a speculative head. He gives him a reason for his refusal: It is secret. - Matthew Henry

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Book of Judges Chapter 12:1-4
Geneva Bible Translation Ed. 1599

1 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went Northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore wentest thou to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will therefore burn thine house upon thee with fire. 2 And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon, and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands. 3 So when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in mine hands, and went upon the children of Ammon: so the Lord delivered them into mine hands. Wherefore then are ye come upon me now to fight against me? 4 Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are runagates of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.

Study notes
The unreasonable displeasure of the men of Ephraim against Jephthah, because he had not called them in to his assistance against the Ammonites, that they might share in the triumphs and spoils, (verse 1) Pride was at the bottom of the quarrel. Only by that comes contention. Proud men think all the honours lost that go beside themselves, and then who can stand before envy? The Ephraimites had the same quarrel with Gideon (Chronicles 8:1 ), who was of Manasseh on their side Jordan, as Jephthah was of Manasseh on the other side Jordan. Ephraim and Manasseh were nearer akin than any other of the tribes, being both the sons of Joseph, and yet they were more jealous one of another than any other of the tribes. Jacob having crossed hands, and given Ephraim the preference, looking as far forward as the kingdom of the ten tribes, which Ephraim was the head of, after the revolt from the house of David, that tribe, not content with that honour in the promise, was displeased if Manasseh had any honour done it in the mean time. It is a pity that kindred or relationship, which should be an inducement to love and peace, should be ever an occasion (as it often proves) of strife and discord. A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and contentions among brethren are as the bars of a castle. The anger of the Ephraimites at Jephthah was causeless and unjust. Why didst thou not call us to go with thee? For a good reason. Because it was the men of Gilead that had made him their captain, not the men of Ephraim, so that he had no authority to call them. Had his attempt miscarried for want of their help, they might justly have blamed him for not desiring it. But when the work was done, and done effectually, the Ammonites being subdued and Israel delivered, there was no harm done, though their hands were not employed in it. It was cruel and outrageous. They get together in a tumultuous manner, pass over Jordan as far as Mizpeh in Gilead, where Jephthah lived, and no less will satisfy their fury but they will burn his house and him in it. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce. Those resentments that have the least reason for them have commonly the most rage in them. Jephthah was now a conqueror over the common enemies of Israel, and they should have come to congratulate him, and return him the thanks of their tribe for the good services he had done; but we must not think it strange if we receive ill from those from whom we deserve well. Jephthah was now a mourner for the calamity of his family upon his daughter’s account, and they should have come to condole with him and comfort him; but barbarous men take a pleasure in adding affliction to the afflicted. In this world, the end of one trouble often proves the beginning of another. 
Matthew Henry -  Theologian - 1662-1714

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Book of Judges Chapter 10:6, 14, 16
Geneva Bible Translation Ed. 1599

6 And the children of Israel wrought wickedness again in the sight of the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtoreth, and the gods of Aram, and the gods of Sidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the Lord and served not him.
14 Go, and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen: let them save you in the time of your tribulation.
16 Then they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

The patience of the Lord is long suffering. Indeed, He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. Yet there are times when it is we that turn our faces away from Him, that He allows us to wallow in the misery of our own making. We are reminded here of the parable of the weary judge in the Gospel of Luke 18:5-8, of the judge who is entreated by the widow continuously to take action in a matter. The lesson learned here is two fold; remain steadfast in your belief and serving of God, and secondly God does hear, and will take action on your behalf, should you falter, yet return to him, confess, and put away your sin.

Study notes
They were so dreadfully sunk into idolatry, that they had wholly forsaken the Lord and his worship at the tabernacle, and made no pretensions to it, but entirely neglected it. They grew worse and worse, and so ripened themselves for ruin. Before they worshiped God and idols together, now they forsake God, and wholly cleave to idols. They had not been forced to worship those gods by their oppressors; but had freely chosen them before Him. 
Gill and Wesley (Ed. by RPW Sr.)

While those two judges, Tola and Jair, presided in the affairs of Israel, things went well, but afterwards,I. Israel returned to their idolatry, that sin which did most easily beset them (verse 6): They did evil again in the sight of the Lord, from whom they were unaccountably bent to backslide, as a foolish people and unwise. If they did it in compliment to the neighbouring nations, and to ingratiate themselves with them, justly were they disappointed; for those nations which by their wicked arts they sought to make their friends by the righteous judgments of God became their enemies and oppressors. In quo quis peccat, in eo punitur—Wherein a person offends, therein he shall be punished. They did not so much as admit the God of Israel to be one of those many deities they worshipped, but quite cast him off: They forsook the Lord, and served not him at all. Those that think to serve both God and Mammon will soon come entirely to forsake God, and to serve Mammon only. If God have not all the heart, he will soon have none of it. God renewed his judgments upon them, bringing them under the power of oppressing enemies. Had they fallen into the hands of the Lord immediately, they might have found that his mercies were great; but God let them fall into the hands of man, whose tender mercies are cruel.  Yet later onward we read  that they made a humble confession to God in their distress, verse 10. Now they own themselves guilty, like a malefactor upon the rack, and promise reformation, like a child under the rod. They not only complain of the distress, but acknowledge it is their own sin that has brought them into the distress; therefore God is righteous, and they have no reason to repine. They confess their omissions, for in them their sin began.  It was kind that God took notice of their cry, and did not turn a deaf ear to it and send them no answer at all; it was kind likewise that when they began to repent he sent them such a message as was proper to increase their repentance, that they might be qualified and prepared for deliverance. True penitents dare and will refer themselves to God to correct them as he thinks fit, knowing that their sin is highly malignant in its deserts, and that God is not rigorous or extreme in his demands. They supplicate for God’s mercy: Deliver us only, we pray thee, this day, from this enemy. They acknowledge what they deserved, yet pray to God not to deal with them according to their deserts. Note, We must submit to God’s justice with a hope in his mercy. They knew it was to no purpose to go to the gods whom they had served, and therefore returned to the God whom they had slighted. This is true repentance not only for sin, but from sin.V. God’s gracious return in mercy to them, which is expressed here very tenderly (verse 16): His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Not that there is any grief in God (he has infinite joy and happiness in himself, which cannot be broken in upon by either the sins or the miseries of his creatures), nor that there is any change in God: he is in one mind, and who can turn him? But his goodness is his glory. By it he proclaims his name, and magnifies it above all names; and, as he is pleased to put himself into the relation of a father to his people that are in covenant with him, so he is pleased to represent his goodness to them by the compassions of a father towards his children; for, as he is the Father of lights, so he is the Father of mercies. As the disobedience and misery of a child are a grief to a tender father, and make him feel very sensibly from his natural affection, so the provocations of God’s people are a grief to him (Psalm 95:10 ), he is broken with their whorish heart (Ezekiel 6:9 ); their troubles also are a grief to him; so he is pleased to speak when he is pleased to appear for the deliverance of his people, changing his way and method of proceeding, as tender parents when they begin to relent towards their children with whom they have been displeased. Such are the tender mercies of our God, and so far is he from having any pleasure in the death of sinners. 
Matthew Henry - Theologian - 1662 - 1714 (Ed. RPW Sr.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Afternoon/Evening Reflection

It is the quintessence of all happiness, and that without which all our other enjoyments are insipid; for this none are better qualified than those who are arrayed with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. It was when the psalmist had newly conquered an unruly passion and composed himself, that he lifted up his soul to God in that pious and pathetic breathing, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee." We enjoy God when we have the evidences and the assurances of his favor, the tastes and tokens of his love—when we experience in ourselves the communication of his grace, and the continued instances of his image stamped upon us; and this those that are most meek and quiet have usually in the greatest degree. In our wrath and passion we give place to the devil, and so provoke God to withdraw from us. Nothing grieves the Holy Spirit of God, by whom we have fellowship with the Father, more than "bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil-speaking." But to this man does the God of heaven look with a peculiar regard, even to him that is poor, poor in spirit, Isaiah 66:2: to him that is quiet, so the Syriac—to him that is meek, so the Chaldee. The great God overlooks heaven and earth to give a favorable look to the meek and quiet soul. Nay, he not only looks at such, but he "dwells" with them; noting a constant intercourse and communion between God and humble souls. His secret is with them; he gives them more grace; and they that thus dwell in love, dwell in God, and God in them. The waters were dark indeed, but they were quiet when the Spirit of God moved upon them, and out of them produced a beautiful world.

This calm and sedate frame very much qualifies and disposes us for the reception and entertainment of divine visits; sets bounds to the mountain on which God is to descend, Exodus 19:12, that no interruption may break in; and charges the daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the hinds of the field—those sweet and gentle and peaceable creatures—not to stir up or awake our love till he please. Song 2:7 Some think it was for the quieting and composing of his spirit, which seems to have been a little ruffled, that Elisha called for the "minstrel," and then "the hand of the Lord came upon him." Never was God more intimate with any mere man than he was with Moses, the meekest of all the men on the earth; and it was required as a needful qualification of the high priest, who was to draw near to minister, that he should have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way. "The meek will He guide in judgment" with a still small voice, which cannot be heard when the passions are loud and tumultuous. The angry man when he awakes is still with the devil, contriving some malicious project; the meek and quiet man when he awakes is still with God, solacing himself in his favor. "Return unto thy rest, O my soul," says David, when he had reckoned himself among the simple, that is, the mild, innocent, and inoffensive people. Return to thy Noah, so the word is—for Noah had his name from rest—perhaps alluding to the rest which the dove found with Noah in the ark, when she could find none anywhere else. Those that are harmless and simple as doves, can with comfort return to God as to their rest. It is excellently paraphrased by Mr. Patrick, "God and thyself," my soul, "enjoy; in quiet rest, freed from thy fears." It is said that "the Lord lifteth up the meek;" as far as their meekness reigns they are lifted up above the stormy region, and fixed in a sphere perpetually calm and serene. They are advanced indeed that are at home in God, and live a life of communion with him, not only in solemn ordinances, but even in the common accidents and occurrences of the world. Every day is a Sabbath-day, a day of holy rest with the meek and quiet soul, as one of the days of heaven. As  this grace gets ground, the comforts of the Holy Ghost grow stronger and stronger, according to that precious promise, "The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel."

The Book of Judges Chapter 9:8-15
Geneva Bible Translation Ed. 1599

8 The trees went forth to anoint a King over them, and said unto the Olive tree, Reign thou over us. 9 But the Olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to advance me above the trees? 10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and be king over us. 11 But the fig tree answered them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to advance me above the trees? 12 Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and be king over us. 13 But the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, whereby I cheer God and man, and go to advance me above the trees? 14 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. 15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If ye will indeed anoint me king over you, come, and put your trust under my shadow: and if not, the fire shall come out of the bramble, and consume the Cedars of Lebanon.

Study notes;

His parable is very ingenious—that when the trees were disposed to choose a king the government was offered to those valuable trees the olive, the fig-tree, and the vine, but they refused it, choosing rather to serve than rule, to do good than bear sway. But the same tender being made to the bramble he accepted it with vain-glorious exultation. The way of instruction by parables is an ancient way, and very useful, especially to give reproofs by.1. He hereby applauds the generous modesty of Gideon, and the other judges who were before him, and perhaps of the sons of Gideon, who had declined accepting the state and power of kings when they might have had them, and likewise shows that it is in general the temper of all wise and good men to decline preferment and to choose rather to be useful than to be great. There was no occasion at all for the trees to choose a king; they are all the trees of the Lord which he has planted (Psalm 104:16 ) and which therefore he will protect. Nor was there any occasion for Israel to talk of setting a king over them; for the Lord was their king. When they had it in their thoughts to choose a king they did not offer the government to the stately cedar, or the lofty pine, which are only for show and shade, and not otherwise useful till they are cut down, but to the fruit-trees, the vine and the olive. Those that bear fruit for the public good are justly respected and honoured by all that are wise more than those that affect to make a figure. For a good useful man some would even dare to die The reason which all these fruit-trees gave for their refusal was much the same. 

The olive pleads (verse 9), Should I leave my wine, wherewith both God and man are served and honoured? for oil and wine were used both at God’s altars and at men’s tables. And shall I leave my sweetness, saith the fig-tree, and my good fruit (verse11), and go to be promoted over the trees? or, as the margin reads it, go up and down for the trees? It is intimated, that government involves a man in a great deal both of toil and care; he that is promoted over the trees must go up and down for them, and make himself a perfect drudge to business. That those who are preferred to places of public trust and power must resolve to forego all their private interests and advantages, and sacrifice them to the good of the community. The fig-tree must lose its sweetness, its sweet retirement, sweet repose, and sweet conversation and contemplation, if it go to be promoted over the trees, and must undergo a constant fatigue. That those who are advanced to honour and dignity are in great danger of losing their fatness and fruitfulness. Preferment is apt to make men proud and slothful, and thus spoil their usefulness, with which in a lower sphere they honoured God and man, for which reason those that desire to do good are afraid of being too great.
Matthew Henry - Theologian - 1662-1714

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Book of Judges Chapter 8:23
Geneva Bible Translation Ed. 1599

23 And Gideon said unto them, I will not reign over you, neither shall my child reign over you, but the Lord shall reign over you.

The head of man is God. Turn all of your attention to Him with diligence, and all due honor and praise. 

Study notes;
Not that he declined the government of them as a judge, to which he was raised of God, but as a king, for which he had no authority and call from God; the choice of a king belonging to him, and not to the people. John Gill

What he did was with a design to serve them, not to rule them—to make them safe, easy, and happy, not to make himself great or honourable. And, as he was not ambitious of grandeur himself, so he did not covet to entail it upon his family: "My son shall not rule over you, either while I live or when I am gone, but the Lord shall still rule over you, and constitute your judges by the special designation of his own Spirit, as he has done.’’ This intimates,  first of all his modesty, and the mean opinion he had of himself and his own merits. He thought the honour of doing good was recompence enough for all his services, which needed not to be rewarded with the honour of bearing sway. He that is greatest, let him be your minister. Secondly his piety, and the great opinion he had of God’s government. Perhaps he discerned in the people a dislike of the theocracy, or divine government, a desire of a king like the nations, and thought they availed themselves of his merits as a colourable pretence to move for this change of government. But Gideon would by no means admit it. No good man can be pleased with any honour done to himself which ought to be peculiar to God. Matthew Henry

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Book of Judges Chapter 7:2
Geneva Bible translation

2 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee, are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel make their vaunt against me, and say, Mine hand hath saved me.

God not only uses the least among us, that is to say the humble and meek, to accomplish His will and goals, but at times He likewise uses the fewest number of people. This is to make certain that it is known that it is His doing, and not the hand of mankind.  A N.T. example can be shown in the Acts of the Apostles. A handful of servants of Christ, changed the course of the world, by proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. It was God’s work, through men, not of men. 

Study Notes

Gideon applies himself with all possible care and industry to do the part of a good general, in leading on the hosts of Israel against the Midianites. He rose up early, as one whose heart was upon his business, and who was afraid of losing time. Now that he is sure God is with him he is impatient of delay. He pitched near a famous well, that his army might not be distressed for want of water, and gained the higher ground, which possibly might be some advantage to him, for the Midianites were beneath him in the valley. Note, Faith in God’s promises must not slacken, but rather quicken, our endeavours. When we are sure God goes before us, then we must bestir ourselves, 2 Samuel 5:24. God provides that the praise of the intended victory may be reserved wholly to himself, by appointing 300 men only to be employed in this service The army consisted of 32,000 men, a small army in comparison with what the Midianites had now brought into the field; Gideon was ready to think them too few, but God comes to him, and tells him they are too many. Matthew Henry - 1662-1714

Too many - For my purpose; which is, so to deliver Israel, that it may appear to be my own act, that so I may have all the glory, and they may be the more strongly obliged to serve me. This may help us to understand those providences, which sometimes seem to weaken the church of Christ. Its friends are too many, too mighty, too wise, for God to work deliverance by. God is taking a course to lessen them, that he may be exalted in his own strength. - John Wesley - 1703-1791