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Gideon Destroys the Altar

25 That night the Lord said to him, “Take the bull from your father’s herd, as well as a second bull, one that is seven years old.[a] Pull down your father’s Baal altar and cut down the nearby Asherah pole. 26 Then build an altar for the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold according to the proper pattern.[b] Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt sacrifice on the wood from the Asherah pole that you cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants[c] and did just as the Lord had told him. He was too afraid of his father’s family[d] and the men of the city to do it in broad daylight, so he waited until nighttime.[e]

28 When the men of the city got up the next morning, they saw[f] the Baal altar pulled down, the nearby Asherah pole cut down, and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar. 29 They said to one another,[g] “Who did this?”[h] They investigated the matter thoroughly[i] and concluded[j] that Gideon son of Joash had done it. 30 The men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, so we can execute him![k] He pulled down the Baal altar and cut down the nearby Asherah pole.” 31 But Joash said to all those who confronted him,[l] “Must you fight Baal’s battles?[m] Must you rescue him? Whoever takes up his cause[n] will die by morning![o] If he really is a god, let him fight his own battles![p] After all, it was his altar that was pulled down.”[q] 32 That very day Gideon’s father named him Jerub Baal,[r] because he had said, “Let Baal fight with him, for it was his altar that was pulled down.”

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  1. Judges 6:25 tn Or “Take a bull from your father’s herd, the second one, the one seven years old.” Apparently Gideon would need the bulls to pull down the altar.
  2. Judges 6:26 tn Possibly “in a row” or “in a layer,” perhaps referring to the arrangement of the stones used in the altar’s construction.
  3. Judges 6:27 tn Heb “men from among his servants.”
  4. Judges 6:27 tn Heb “house.”
  5. Judges 6:27 tn Heb “so he did it at night.”
  6. Judges 6:28 tn Heb “look!” The narrator uses this word to invite his audience/readers to view the scene through the eyes of the men.
  7. Judges 6:29 tn Heb “each one to his neighbor.”
  8. Judges 6:29 tn Heb “this thing.”
  9. Judges 6:29 tn Heb “they inquired and searched.” The synonyms are joined to emphasize the care with which they conducted their inquiry.
  10. Judges 6:29 tn Heb “and said.” Perhaps the plural subject is indefinite. If so, it could be translated, “they were told.”
  11. Judges 6:30 tn Heb “and let him die.” The jussive form with vav after the imperative is best translated as a purpose clause.
  12. Judges 6:31 tn Heb “to all who stood against him.”
  13. Judges 6:31 tn Heb “Do you fight for Baal?”
  14. Judges 6:31 tn Heb “fights for him.”
  15. Judges 6:31 sn Whoever takes up his cause will die by morning. This may be a warning to the crowd that Joash intends to defend his son and to kill anyone who tries to execute Gideon. Then again, it may be a sarcastic statement about Baal’s apparent inability to defend his own honor. Anyone who takes up Baal’s cause may end up dead, perhaps by the same hand that pulled down the pagan god’s altar.
  16. Judges 6:31 tn Heb “fight for himself.”
  17. Judges 6:31 tn Heb “for he pulled down his altar.” The subject of the verb, if not Gideon, is indefinite (in which case a passive translation is permissible).
  18. Judges 6:32 tn Heb “He called him on that day Jerub Baal.” The name means, at least by popular etymology, “Let Baal fight” or “Let Baal defend himself.”