Daily Tanach, Sunday: Shoftim Chapter 6: Gideon is appointed to wage war against Midian

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

Chapter 6: Gideon is appointed to wage war against Midian

1.       Midian rules over the Jewish people:

  • The Jewish people performed evil in the eyes of G-d, and as a result G-d placed them under the sovereignty of the Midianite Kingdom for seven years.
  • The hand of Midian overpowered the Jewish people, and due to their rule, the Jewish people built tunnels in the mountains, caves and fortresses in the forests.
  • When the Jewish people would seed the land, Midian and Amalek would come and destroy the produce. This occurred in all the fields from the beginning of the border until the city of Gaza. They also destroyed the cattle and farm animals of the Jewish people; sheep, oxen, and donkeys.
  • The Jewish people became famished, having no food left to eat, and they turned to G-d in prayer.

2.       A new Judge and prophet are appointed:

  • When the Jewish people screamed to G-d in prayer regarding the atrocities of Midian, G-d sent them a prophet from amongst the Jewish people. [This prophet was none other than Pinchas.[1]]
  • The message of the prophet: The prophet told them that G-d has told him to relay the following message: “I am the G-d who took you out of Egypt, the house of slavery. I saved you from the hands of the Egyptians and the hands of all your oppressors [i.e. Sichon and Og and the Canaanite kings]. I banished your oppressors from the land and gave it you. I told you not to fear the G-d of the Emorites who dwell in your land, but you did not listen to Me.

3.       Gideon is appointed to wage battle for the Jewish people against the Midianites:

  • An angel of G-d [i.e. Pinchas[2]] came and sat under the tree in Afra, which belonged to Yoash the son of Aviezer. Gideon, his son, was threshing wheat in the threshing floor in order to be able to flee from the Midianites.
  • The angel of G-d speaks to Gideon: The angel appeared before Gideon [on the day of Pesach[3]] and told him “Hashem is with you; you are a warrior.” Gideon replied to him “My Master, is G-d truly with us? If so, then why are we in such a downtrodden state? Where are all the miracles that our ancestors told us that G-d performed for us in Egypt? Has G-d not left us and handed us over to the hands of Midian?”
  • G-d Himself speaks to Gideon: G-d Himself[4] turned to Gideon and told him “Go with your strength [of having learned merit for the Jewish people[5]] and you will save the Jewish people from Midian. You are my emissary to do so.” Gideon replied, “My master, how can I save the Jewish people when I am one of the weakest warriors of my tribe of Menashe, and the youngest of my father’s household?” Hashem replied “I will be with you, and you will smite Midian like one man.” Gideon then asked [the angel] that if indeed he finds favor in G-d’s eyes, then let G-d show him a sign that it is indeed Him that he is speaking with.

[1] Rashi 6:8; Seder Olam 2

[2] See Ralbag 6:11; Rashi 6:8

[3] Rashi 6:13

[4] See Rashi 6:14

[5] Rashi 6:14

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