We have here the conclusion of the story of Gideon. 1. He lived privately, Jdg. 8:29. He was not puffed up with his great honours, did not covet a palace or castle to dwell in, but retired to the house he had lived in before his elevation. Thus that brave Roman Who was called from the plough upon a sudden occasion to command the army when the action was over returned to his plough again. 2. His family was multiplied. He had many wives (therein he transgressed the law); by them he had seventy sons (Jdg. 8:30), but by a concubine he had one whom he named Abimelech (which signifies, my father a king), that proved the ruin of his family, Jdg. 8:31. 3. He died in honour, in a good old age, when he had lived as long as he was capable of serving God and his country; and who would desire to live any longer? And he was buried in the sepulchre of his fathers. 4. After his death the people corrupted themselves, and went all to naught. As soon as ever Gideon was dead, who had kept them close to the worship of the God of Israel, they found themselves under no restraint, and then they went a whoring after Baalim, Jdg. 8:33. They went a whoring first after another ephod (Jdg. 8:27), for which irregularity Gideon had himself given them too much occasion, and now they went a whoring after another god. False worships made way for false deities. They now chose a new god (Jdg. 5:8), a god of a new name, Baal-berith (a goddess, say some); Berith, some think, was Berytus, the place where the Phoenicians worshipped this idol. The name signifies the Lord of a covenant. Perhaps he was so called because his worshippers joined themselves by covenant to him, in imitation of Israel’s covenanting with God; for the devil is God’s ape. In this revolt of Israel to idolatry they showed, (1.) Great ingratitude to God (Jdg. 8:34): They remembered not the Lord, not only who had delivered them into the hands of their enemies, to punish them for their idolatry, but who had also delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, to invite them back again into his service; both the judgments and the mercies were forgotten, and the impressions of them lost. (2.) Great ingratitude to Gideon, Jdg. 8:35. A great deal of goodness he had shown unto Israel, as a father to his country, for which they ought to have been kind to his family when he was gone, for that is one way by which we ought to show ourselves grateful to our friends and benefactors, and may be returning their kindnesses when they are in their graves. But Israel showed not this kindness to Gideon’s family, as we shall find in the next chapter. No wonder if those who forget their God forget their friends.
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