The corresponding letter to this chapter is Chet – new beginnings; new life; a metaphysical letter above this existence.
Shof’tim 8:1a Then the men of Efrayim said to him, "What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midyan?"
To him – This is a continuation of the previous chapter where Gid’on had led Israel to victory.
This seems to come from jealousy because they did not share in the glory. Sometimes we see sibling rivalry between certain tribes.
Isaiah 9:21M’nasheh devours Efrayim, and Efrayim M’nasheh, and together they are against Y’hudah.
Shof’tim 8:1b-2 And they contended with him vigorously. But he said to them, "What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Efrayim better than the vintage of Avi’ezer?
Gid’on gives the appropriate response with humility.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
Shof’tim 8:3 "G-d has given the leaders of Midyan, Orev and Ze’ev into your hands; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?" Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.
Mishlei (Proverbs) 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Shof’tim 8:4-12 Then Gid’on and the 300 men who were with him came to the Yarden and crossed over, weary yet pursuing. And he said to the men of Sukkot, "Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zevach and Tzalmuna, the kings of Midyan." And the leaders of Sukkot said, "Are the hands of Zevach and Tzalmuna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?" And Gid’on said, "All right, when the L-RD has given Zevach and Tzalmuna into my hand, then I will thrash your bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." And he went up from there to P’nu’el, and spoke similarly to them; and the men of P’nu’el answered him just as the men of Sukkot had answered. So he spoke also to the men of P’nu’el, saying, "When I return safely, I will tear down this tower." Now Zevach and Tzalmuna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about 15,000 men, all who were left of the entire army of the sons of the east; for the fallen were 120,000 swordsmen. And Gid’on went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Novach and Yogbehah, and attacked the camp, when the camp was unsuspecting. When Zevach and Tzalmuna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midyan, Zevach and Tzalmuna, and routed the whole army.
These 2 cities refused to help Gid’on and they suffered the consequences.
Genesis 12:2-3 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. "
Shof’tim 8:13-17 Then Gid’on the son of Yo’ash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. And he captured a youth from Sukkot and questioned him. Then the youth wrote down for him the princes of Sukkot and its elders, seventy-seven men. And he came to the men of Sukkot and said, "Look Zevach and Tzalmuna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, 'Are the hands of Zevach and Tzalmuna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?'" And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he disciplined the men of Sukkot with them. And he tore down the tower of P’nu’el and killed the men of the city.
At this time in history a particular type of torture involved weighing the victim down and dragging them over thorn bushes.
The tower would have been used for the defense of the city. Tearing it down left them defensless.
Shof’tim 8:18-21 Then he said to Zevach and Tzalmuna, "What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tavor?" And they said, "They were like you, each one resembling the son of a king." And he said, "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the L-RD lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you." So he said to Yeter his first-born, "Rise, kill them." But the youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. Then Zevach and Tzalmuna said, "Rise up yourself, and fall on us; for as the man, so is his strength." So Gid’on arose and killed Zevach and Tzalmuna, and took the crescent ornaments which were on their camels' necks.
Gid’on was going to allow his son the honor of slaying the enemy but he ended up doing the deed himself because the young man was too afraid.
Shof’tim 8:22-23 Then the men of Israel said to Gid’on, "Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son's son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midyan." But Gid’on said to them, "I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the L-RD shall rule over you."
Gid’on rejected their offer for him to rule over Israel. He only wanted to serve and not rule over Israel because the L-rd was the ruler of Israel. He also knew His victory did not come through anything He did but what G-d did in his life. Without Him we can do nothing. Did he know this was not a position for any common man but for G-d alone? Many claim to know the L-rd but do not really let the L-rd G-d rule over their lives. The Father wants the Son to rule over our hearts and our lives now. Eventually The Son of G-d will rule over the nation of Israel. He is the stone which the builders rejected.
Romans 9:33as it is written, "Look, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall; and he who believes in Him will not be put to shame."
The L-rd G-d does not need an ordinary man to rule over Israel on earth but the Son of G-d. He will rule in physical form one day rule as Yeshua- the Son of G-d and as the Son of man.
Shof’tim 8:24-27 Yet Gid’on said to them, "I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil." (For they had gold earrings, because they were decended from Yishma’el (Ishmaelites).) And they said, "We will surely give them." So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. And the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midyan, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels' necks. And Gid’on made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ofrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gid’on and his household.
They probably fought over who could use it or possess it. This was a tool to be used to talk to G-d not a tool to be worshipped as important as the L-rd G-d.
Shof’tim 8:28-35 So Midyan was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gid’on. Then Yeruba’al the son of Yo’ash went and lived in his own house. Now Gid’on had seventy sons who were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. And his concubine who was in Sh’khem also bore him a son, and he named him Avimelekh. And Gid’on the son of Yo’ash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Yo’ash, in Ofrah of the Abiezrites. Then it came about, as soon as Gid’on was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Ba’al-B’rit their god. Then the sons of Israel did not remember the L-RD their G-d, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; nor did they show kindness to the household of Yeruba’al (that is, Gid’on), in accord with all the good that he had done to Israel.
Ba’al-B’rit – means Ba’al of the Covenant. This was a special god of the Shechemites.
G-d wants us to have one wife. Only Eve was made for Adam. She was also made from one rib not many ribs. The L-rd G-d allowed Gid’on to have more than one wife but there were consequences for having more than one wife. Just like there were and are even today consequences of Avraham having more than one wife. Squabbling and fighting between brothers.
Again, Without a leader the nation entered into a backslidden state. The L-rd G-d brought victory only temporarily through Gid’on to emphasis the need for a permanent leader or King to help direct His people. Yeshua one day will fulfill this role permanently.