3095.) Judges 14

February 26, 2021

Rembrandt’s “Samson Posing a Riddle at the Wedding Feast,” 1638 (Gemaldegalerie, Dresden). Note the untrustworthy bride in the center, her long-haired husband to her left.

Judges 14 (NIV)

Samson’s Marriage

1 Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. 2 When he returned, he said to his father and mother, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”

In demanding a Philistine wife, Samson showed a sinful disregard for his parents and for God’s will (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).

–David Guzik

3 His father and mother replied, “Isn’t there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?”

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” 4 (His parents did not know that this was from the LORD, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines; for at that time they were ruling over Israel.) 5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power

so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.

7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and he liked her.

8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass. In it was a swarm of bees and some honey, 9 which he scooped out with his hands and ate as he went along.

When Samson gathered honey from the dead carcass of a lion, he expressly violated his Nazirite vow, which stipulated that a Nazirite should never touch a dead body or carcass (Numbers 6:6-7).

When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

Product of India.

Product of India. A sweetener made from dates.

10 Now his father went down to see the woman. And Samson made a feast there, as was customary for bridegrooms. 11 When he appeared, he was given thirty companions.

Samson’s bachelor party.

12 “Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to them. “If you can give me the answer within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. 13 If you can’t tell me the answer, you must give me thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes.”

“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”

14 He replied,
“Out of the eater, something to eat;
out of the strong, something sweet.”

The riddling Sphinx — on a ancient Greek red-figure vase (Museum of Fine Art, Boston)

The most famous riddle of ancient times belonged to the Sphinx.  She asked people:

“Which creature in the morning goes on four legs, at mid-day on two, and in the evening upon three?”

Oedipus solved the riddle by answering:

“Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then walks with a cane in old age.”

For three days they could not give the answer.

15 On the fourth day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband into explaining the riddle for us, or we will burn you and your father’s household to death. Did you invite us here to rob us?”

16 Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him, sobbing, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You’ve given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.”

“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied, “so why should I explain it to you?”

17 She cried the whole seven days of the feast. So on the seventh day he finally told her, because she continued to press him. She in turn explained the riddle to her people.

18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,
“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”

Samson said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have solved my riddle.”

“Oh, snap!”

My sons used to say that when they meant, “Bad for you, Dude. You just got told. You are not as smart as you think.” Samson scores with this reply to his pretend friends who are really his enemies.  And even though Samson often seems to be weak-brained (as we will see throughout the story of his life) — I am impressed that he responds with a METAPHOR! See all the different kinds of power the Holy Spirit can bring!

19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power.

He went down to Ashkelon, struck down thirty of their men, stripped them of their belongings and gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Burning with anger, he went up to his father’s house. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to the friend who had attended him at his wedding.

“Samson himself is a riddle. He was not only a riddle-maker; but he was himself an enigma very difficult to explain.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon



Samson’s mother surely taught him better than this!  HERE  is Three Dog Night and one of their #1 hits, “Mama Told Me (Not to Come).” That ain’t the way to have fun, son!


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Rembrandt.    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_-_The_Wedding_of_Samson_-_WGA19100.jpg
Samson kills the lion.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/samsonvslion.gif
Lion honey.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/judg14-lion-honey.jpg
Sphinx.    https://artfrustration.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/sphinx-beast-femme-fatale/
oh, snap.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/ohsnap.jpg

3094.) Judges 13

February 25, 2021
Enter a true super hero! The stories of Hercules (above) and Samson have striking similarities: both men display exceptional physical strength, both are heroes in their cultures, and both are flawed as human beings.

Enter a true super hero! The stories of Hercules (above) and Samson have striking similarities: both men display exceptional physical strength, both are heroes in their cultures, and both are flawed as human beings.

Judges 13 (NIV)

The Birth of Samson

1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

The Philistines lived on the western coast of Canaan. They were fierce warriors and, more important, they knew how to make weapons out of iron, a skill the Israelites did not possess. From the time of Samson until the time of David (and the Philistine giant, Goliath), these enemies were a constant threat to Israel.

2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. 3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, 5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Judg13 long hair

There was nothing particularly unusual about someone taking the vow of a Nazirite for a specific period of time. What was unusual in Samson’s case was that he was to live under the vow from his birth, and that his vow was intended to be a lifetime vow.

As a Nazirite, Samson could not ever cut his hair, touch a dead body, or drink anything containing alcohol. We will see that Samson has a hard time keeping these vows.

6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘You will conceive and give birth to a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth until the day of his death.’ ”

8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD : “O LORD, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”

9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.

Like Hagar, Manoah’s wife receives a visit from an angel twice!

10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”

11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the one who talked to my wife?”

“I am,” he said.

12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy’s life and work?”

13 The angel of the LORD answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”

15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”

16 The angel of the LORD replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.)

17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”

18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame.

“The Sacrifice of Manoah” by Gerrit Willemsz Horst, 1639.

Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.

22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”

23 But his wife answered, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”

24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson.

The cycle of sin, servitude, supplication, salvation, silence, and sin again continued in the history of Israel. Into these times was born the next judge of Israel, Samson. In this sense Samson was truly a man of his times. He was a study in contrasts; a man of great strengths and great weaknesses. In this, he was a picture of Israel’s history both during this period and generally, with great heights and deep lows.

–David Guzik

He grew and the LORD blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

OR — as Dorothy Sayers has one of her characters misquote the verse in her book Unnatural Death:

“Train up a child and away he shall go!”



Samson:  a life begun with such promise!  HERE  is “What If I Stumble”  by DC Talk.  The opening quote is from Brennan Manning.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Hercules.   https://janebaileybain.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/hercules.jpg
map of the judges.     http://oneyearbibleimages.com/judges_map.jpg
man with long hair.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/b9/8c/58/b98c58f4bace042c6d38643d97502a30.jpg
Willow Tree “Courage” angel.   http://ak1.ostkcdn.com/images/products/78/713/L14049244.jpg
Horst.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/13-horst-sacrifice.jpg
boy jumping off rock.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/13-boy-jumping.jpg

3093.) Judges 12

February 24, 2021

. . . and more judges . . .

Judges 12 (NIV)

Jephthah and Ephraim

1 The men of Ephraim called out their forces, crossed over to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We’re going to burn down your house over your head.”

2 Jephthah answered, “I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me out of their hands. 3 When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?”

The people of Ephraim seem to be simply chronic complainers; they gave a similar response to Gideon in Judges 8:1-3 (see below). When they had a chance to step out boldly for God they did not do it. Yet when the work was done and God was glorified, they complained that they didn’t get to participate.

4 Jephthah then called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The Gileadites struck them down because the Ephraimites had said, “You Gileadites are renegades from Ephraim and Manasseh.” 5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he replied, “No,” 6 they said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’ ” He said, “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan.

Yes, that “sh” sound!
(notes from your friendly English teacher!)

~”Shibboleth” is the word for stream. It was pronounced differently on the two sides of the Jordan.

~There are at least 13 spellings in English for the “sh” sound:  shoe,  sugar,  ocean,  issue,  nation,  anxious,  suspicion,  nauseous,  conscious,  session, chef,  mansion, fuchsia.

~The name for Jesus in Hebrew is “Yeshua” (ye-SHOO-a). What happened to the orignal “sh” sound in his name? Well, it comes to English first through Greek and then through Latin.  Since Greek has no “y,” the name was transliterated as “Iesous” (ee-ay-SUS). But in Latin, that initial “i” can be pronounced as a “j.” In addition, since Greek has no “sh” sound, that sound was written as an “s,” which in English can also be pronounced as a “z.” And since Greek male names often ended with an “s,” the Greek translators added the final “s” to the name, which was carried over into Latin and English. (And this is only the consonants!)

Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.

These Ephraimites were cranky guys!

Four chapters ago, Gideon had trouble with the same boys, but he gave them a softer answer and pacified them.

Judges 8:1-3 (NLT)

Then the people of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us this way? Why didn’t you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?” And they argued heatedly with Gideon.

But Gideon replied, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t even the leftover grapes of Ephraim’s harvest better than the entire crop of my little clan of Abiezer?  God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army. What have I accomplished compared to that?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, their anger subsided.

Jephthah, on the other hand, did not tolerate their insults:  42,000 fellow Israelites dead.

7 Jephthah led Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in a town in Gilead.

Hebrews 11:32-33 (NLT)

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.  By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.

Ibzan, Elon and Abdon

8 After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem led Israel. 9 He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters away in marriage to those outside his clan, and for his sons he brought in thirty young women as wives from outside his clan. Ibzan led Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died, and was buried in Bethlehem.

11 After him, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon died, and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 After him, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon son of Hillel died, and was buried at Pirathon in Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

many children and many donkeys = much wealth

What the Donkey Saw

by U. A. Fanthorpe

No room in the inn, of course,
And not that much in the stable
What with the shepherds, Magi, Mary,
Joseph, the heavenly host –
Not to mention the baby
Using our manger as a cot.
You couldn’t have squeezed another cherub in
For love or money.

Still, in spite of the overcrowding,
I did my best to make them feel wanted.
I could see the baby and I
Would be going places together.



What a wonderful turn of phrase — that Christ “and I would be going places together”!  That “I did my best” for him!

HERE  is “The Friendly Beasts” sung by Brian Stokes Mitchell and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. An utterly charming rendition!


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Municipal Court of Seattle.    https://www.seattle.gov/courts/about/seattle-municipal-court-judges
a soft answer.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/asoftanswer.jpg
walk by faith.     http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2332/2330771133_84e0a2570e.jpg
nativity scene with donkey.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/12-nativityset.jpg

3092.) Judges 11

February 23, 2021
"The Daughter of Jephthah" by Alexandre Cabanel, 1879.

“The Daughter of Jephthah” by Alexandre Cabanel, 1879.

Judges 11 (NIV)


1 Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a group of adventurers gathered around him and followed him.

Rejected by his family because of his illegitimate ancestry, Jephthah grew up in this area in what would be modern-day Syria.

–David Guzik

4 Some time later, when the Ammonites made war on Israel, 5 the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.”

7 Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”

8 The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be our head over all who live in Gilead.”

9 Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the LORD gives them to me—will I really be your head?”

10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The LORD is our witness; we will certainly do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.

Before God and everybody!

By saying the words of the agreement over again, Jephthah and all the other people are clear on the terms of the covenant between them.

By reciting these words in a place that is recognized as a shrine, Jephthah makes God himself a witness.

12 Then Jephthah sent messengers to the Ammonite king with the question: “What do you have against us that you have attacked our country?”

13 The king of the Ammonites answered Jephthah’s messengers, “When Israel came up out of Egypt, they took away my land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, all the way to the Jordan. Now give it back peaceably.”

14 Jephthah sent back messengers to the Ammonite king, 15 saying:

“This is what Jephthah says: Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites. 16 But when they came up out of Egypt, Israel went through the desert to the Red Sea and on to Kadesh. 17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Give us permission to go through your country,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. They sent also to the king of Moab, and he refused. So Israel stayed at Kadesh.

18 “Next they traveled through the desert, skirted the lands of Edom and Moab, passed along the eastern side of the country of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon. They did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was its border.

19 “Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon, and said to him, ‘Let us pass through your country to our own place.’ 20 Sihon, however, did not trust Israel to pass through his territory. He mustered all his men and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel.

21 “Then the LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his men into Israel’s hands, and they defeated them. Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who lived in that country, 22 capturing all of it from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the desert to the Jordan.

23 “Now since the LORD, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24 Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the LORD our God has given us, we will possess. 25 Are you better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them? 26 For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon. Why didn’t you retake them during that time? 27 I have not wronged you, but you are doing me wrong by waging war against me. Let the LORD, the Judge, decide the dispute this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.”

This was an inherent challenge: “If your god is mighty enough to give you the land, then let him do it. Let us see who is stronger — Yahweh or Chemosh.” Jephthah did not see this battle as primarily between two armies, but between the God of Israel and the false god of Ammon. Jephthah showed true wisdom in seeing this as a spiritual battle first.

–David Guzik

28 The king of Ammon, however, paid no attention to the message Jephthah sent him.

29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah.

Judg11 HS glass

He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD : “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

Though well intentioned, this was a foolish vow. We do not need to try to bribe God to help us.

Warning! The first thing out the door won’t be the cat!

Proverbs 20:25 (NIV)

It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider his vows.

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands. 33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

God won a great and important victory for Israel through Jephthah. He overcame bitterness and family rejection to meet a great need. Despite his difficult past, God still wonderfully used him.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines!

Exodus 15:20-21 (NIV)

Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing.  Miriam sang to them:
“Sing to the LORD,
for he is highly exalted.
The horse and its rider
he has hurled into the sea.”

2 Samuel 6:5 (NIV)

David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.

Psalm 150 (NIV)

Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.”

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and the girls went into the hills and wept because she would never marry. 39 After the two months, she returned to her father and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin.

From this comes the Israelite custom 40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Some varying views here. Did Jephthah really keep such a foolish vow, when God abhors human sacrifice? Or was she set aside for the tabernacle service according to the principle of Leviticus 27:2-4, where persons set apart to God in a vow were not required to be sacrificed (as animals were) but were “given” to the tabernacle in monetary value? In such a position, she would have remained unmarried for the rest of her life and served in the tabernacle. Different scholars read it different ways.

“The Lament of Jephthah’s Daughter” by George Elgar Hicks, 1871.


“Since our Country — our God — oh my Sire —
Demand that thy daughter expire,
Since thy triumph was brought by thy vow —
Strike the bosom that’s bared for thee now!

And the voice of my mourning is o’er —
And the mountains behold me no more:
If the hand that I love lay me low,
There cannot be pain in the blow!

And of this — oh! my Father! — be sure
That the blood of thy child is as pure —
As the blessing I beg ‘ere it flow —
And the last thought that soothes me below.

Though the Virgins of Salem lament,
Be the judge and the hero unbent!
I have won the great battle for thee,
And my Father and Country are free!

When this blood of thy giving hath gush’d —
When the voice that thou lovest is hush’d —
Let my Memory still be thy pride,
And forget not, I smiled as I died!”

–Lord Byron, Hebrew Melodies, 1815



“Waft her, Angels, through the skies” from the oratorio Jephtha, by George Frederick Handel.  The oratorio was completed in 1753, while the composer was haunted by his increasing blindness.  HERE  Nigel Robson sings this, as the father of Jephtha for his daughter.

Waft her, angels, through the skies,

Far above yon azure plain,

Glorious there, like you, to rise,

There, like you, for ever reign.


“Crucifixion”  by Henri Lindegaard, 2003

Zechariah 12:10 (ESV)

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Cabanel.    http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artwork.php?artworkid=8159
blue hands.    http://media.merchantcircle.com/19742862/WorshipHands_medium.jpeg
Holy Spirit of the Lord.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/judg11-hs-glass.jpg
cat portrait painted by Alan Eccles.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/11-cat.jpg
stained glass:  dancers with tambourines.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/11-psalm150-dancers.jpg
Hicks.     http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artwork.php?artworkid=11055&size=large
Lindegaard.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/11-lindegaard-crucifixion.jpg

3091.) Judges 10

February 22, 2021

Today we will read about three judges who had a strong impact on the people of Israel for almost 50 years. (Not these judges, thankfully!)

Judges 10 (NIV)


1 After the time of Abimelech a man of Issachar, Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He led  Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.


3 He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys.

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
   And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
   Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
   And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
   On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
   Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
   I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
   One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
   And palms before my feet.

–G. K. Chesterton

They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair.

Wesley’s commentary on Judges suggests that the thirty sons “were itinerant judges, who rode from place to place, as their father’s deputies to administer justice.”

5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.


6 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD.

Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord: This phrase is repeated seven times in the Book of Judges. It shows that the evil of Israel was even worse because they did it before the eyes of God. We could say that it is bad to commit adultery, but it is far more offensive to commit adultery before the eyes of your spouse.

–David Guzik

They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him, 7 he became angry with them.

Perhaps Israel did not consciously forsake God. Yet adding the worship of pagan gods to the worship of the true God was to forsake the Lord. It seems that Israel was willing to worship just about anything except the true God.

–David Guzik

He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8 who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites. 9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and the house of Ephraim; and Israel was in great distress. 10 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.”

Only when they are at the end of their rope — after 18 years! — do they think to pray to the Lord.

11 The LORD replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites  oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!”

This apparent rejection, and the apparent indifference to the pleas of His people, was designed to test the sincerity of their response. (Cundall)

15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer.

Jeremiah 18:7-8 (NIV)

If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed,  and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.

Psalm 103:8-14 (NIV)

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.



HERE  is “Lord, Have Mercy.”  Sung by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.


17 When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead.”

Israel gathered, but had no leader. God’s pattern for doing great works among His people is to raise up a man. He could do the work all by Himself; He could send angels to do the work for Him. But God’s normal means of operating is to raise up a man, and through that man to do a great work. God uses leaders. Pray for our leaders!


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
American Idol judges.   https://metro.co.uk/2020/05/12/american-idol-2020-finale-air-lineup-performances-12691511/
donkey.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donkey#/media/File:Donkey_in_Clovelly,_North_Devon,_England.jpg
judge’s gavel.    http://sixthformstjames.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/gavel.jpg
frayed rope.    https://churchinvestorsfund.org/calm-passion-2-2/
mercy.    https://onceuponatruth.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/images.jpg

3090.) Judges 9

February 19, 2021

Shechem: a great fortress-temple has been excavated there, the largest found in the land of ancient Canaan, with walls 17 feet thick. Evidence of massive destruction has been found from the time of Abimelech.

Judges 9 (NIV)


1 Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal (that is, illegitimate son of Gideon) went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, 2 “Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.”

He goes to sweet talk his brothers on his mother’s side.

3 When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” 4 They gave him seventy shekels (that is, 1 and 3/4 pounds) of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelech used it to hire reckless adventurers, who became his followers. 5 He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal.

He kills his brothers with start-up money provided by maternal relatives.

But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. 6 Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelech king.

Q:  Will you be our king, please?

A:  Well, duh, who else? And will somebody dispose of the bodies of my 69 half-brothers?

7 When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.

Jotham was the only son of Gideon to escape the massacre at the stone (see v. 5). Here he told a parable to rebuke the men of Shechem for their choice of Abimelech as a king. He made this speech from the top of Mount Gerizim, the mountain from which Israel heard the blessings of God pronounced upon the obedient (Deuteronomy 11:29 and 27:12; Joshua 8:33) about 150 years before.

–David Guzik

8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’

The olive tree was content to grow where God has planted it.

The olive tree was content to grow where God had planted it.

9 “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’

10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’

The fig tree was satisfied to produce the kind of fruit God desired.

11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’

The vines refused to tear themselves from the soil in a presumptuous act of self-promotion.

13 “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?’

14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’

The thornbush produces nothing of value and is worthless as timber.

15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

As if a low, thorny bush (like a bramble) could supply shade to anyone, particularly to real trees!

16 “Now if you have acted honorably and in good faith when you made Abimelech king, and if you have been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family, and if you have treated him as he deserves- 17 and to think that my father fought for you, risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian 18 (but today you have revolted against my father’s family, murdered his seventy sons on a single stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his slave girl, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is your brother)- 19 if then you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today, may Abimelech be your joy, and may you be his, too! 20 But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelech!”

21 Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech.

“In Jotham’s parable the trees represented Gideon’s 70 sons, and the thornbush represented Abimelech. Jotham’s point was this:  a productive person would be too busy doing good to want to bother with power politics. A worthless person, on the other hand, would be glad to accept the honor—but he would destroy the people he ruled. Abimelech, like a thornbush, could offer Israel no real protection or security” (Life Application Bible notes).

We don’t hear of Jotham again, but his curse/prophecy is fulfilled three years later. Keep reading!

22 After Abimelech had governed Israel three years, 23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech. 24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. 25 In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelech.

26 Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his brothers into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him. 27 After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden them, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelech. 28 Then Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should be subject to him? Isn’t he Jerub-Baal’s son, and isn’t Zebul his deputy? Serve the men of Hamor, Shechem’s father! Why should we serve Abimelech? 29 If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelech, ‘Call out your whole army!’ ”

30 When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry. 31 Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, “Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you. 32 Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields. 33 In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, do whatever your hand finds to do.”

34 So Abimelech and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies.

Zebul advised Abimelech to organize a surprised attack against the rebels of Shechem.

35 Now Gaal son of Ebed had gone out and was standing at the entrance to the city gate just as Abimelech and his soldiers came out from their hiding place.

36 When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!”

Zebul replied, “You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men.”

37 But Gaal spoke up again: “Look, people are coming down from the center of the land, and a company is coming from the direction of the soothsayers’ tree.”

38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your big talk now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should be subject to him?’ Aren’t these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!”

39 So Gaal led out the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelech. 40 Abimelech chased him, and many fell wounded in the flight—all the way to the entrance to the gate. 41 Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem.

42 The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields, and this was reported to Abimelech. 43 So he took his men, divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. When he saw the people coming out of the city, he rose to attack them. 44 Abimelech and the companies with him rushed forward to a position at the entrance to the city gate.

With the resistance of Gaal defeated, Abimelech would find it easy to establish his control over the city of Shechem again.

Abimelech then turned his fury against the people of Shechem; he killed as many of them as he could and he demolished their city.

Then two companies rushed upon those in the fields and struck them down. 45 All that day Abimelech pressed his attack against the city until he had captured it and killed its people. Then he destroyed the city and scattered salt over it.

46 On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith. 47 When Abimelech heard that they had assembled there, 48 he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, “Quick! Do what you have seen me do!” 49 So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died.

A massacre.

Do you remember?

The city of Shechem plays a significant role in many Old Testament events. An important commercial, political, and religious center, it was located in the Hill Country of Ephraim, about 30 miles north of Jerusalem. Today the city is identified with Nablus, the largest community in the occupied West Bank.

~Abraham passes through here  (Genesis 12:6-7).

~Jacob buys a plot of land here and his daughter, Dinah, is raped  (Genesis 34).

~Jacob’s sons tend sheep here, then go to Dothan where Joseph eventually finds them  (Genesis 37:15-17).

~The covenant is confirmed here during the conquest  (Joshua 8:30-35).

~The city is named as a levitical city and set aside as a city of refuge  (Joshua 21:21).

~The mummy of Joseph is brought from Egypt and buried here  (Joshua 24:32).

50 Next Abimelech went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—fled. They locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. 52 Abimelech went to the tower and stormed it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.

54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So his servant ran him through, and he died.

“A woman breaks the skull of Abimelech” by James Tissot, 1900 (Jewish Museum, New York)

An ignominious ending!

Abimelech was killed by a woman (not by fighting);  he was killed by a domestic tool (not a weapon). And despite his final request, that is how he was remembered:

2 Samuel 11:21 (New Living Translation)

Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall?

55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home.

“But commentators observe it for a just hand of God upon Abimelech, that upon one stone he had slain his seventy brethren, and now a stone slayeth him: his head had stolen the crown of Israel, and now his head is smitten.”

–John Trapp, 16th century English bible commentator

56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. 57 God also made the men of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.



By now, you probably want something to get the taste of blood out of your mouth! To counter this chapter full of scheming, murder, war, deceit, curses, and general unholiness, I offer you a hymn which shows us true faith and true love.

In the early 1880’s, Louisa M. R. Stead spent an afternoon the beach with her husband and  four-year-old daughter at Long Island Sound in New York. As they ate their picnic lunch, they heard a boy crying in distress. Mr. Stead went into the water to save him — and both were drowned.  Out of her sorrow came this testimony to God’s goodness, “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.”  HERE  it is sung by the Altar of Praise Men’s chorale.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Shechem.  http://bibleplaces.com/shechem.htm
crown.    http://www.faqs.org/photo-dict/photofiles/list/420/789crown.jpg
olive tree.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/05531-olive-tree.jpg
fig tree.    http://heavenawaits.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/fig-tree.jpg
vineyard.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/9-vineyard.jpg
thornbush.    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/40/93650804_07df1d0d94.jpg
map showing Shechem.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/shechem.jpg
Tissot.    https://phillipmedhurst.com/2017/10/29/phillip-medhurst-presents-198788-james-tissot/

3089.) Judges 8

February 18, 2021

Oh, I thought it was ZEBRA and Zalmunna!

Judges 8 (NIV)

Zebah and Zalmunna

1 Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they criticized him sharply.

2 But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? 3 God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.

Proverbs 15:1 (NASB)

A gentle answer turns away wrath.

4 Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it.

“Let us also serve the Lord when every movement is painful, when even to think is wearisome. These men were faint. You know what it is for a soldier to be faint; it is no nonsense, no presence, it is real fainting. Yet to go running on when you are ready to faint, to keep right on when you are ready to drop, this is very trying work; yet let us do it, friends, by God’s grace. Some people only pray when they feel like praying; but we need most to pray when we feel that we cannot pray. If we were only to preach, some of us, when we felt like preaching, we should not often preach.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

5 He said to the men of Succoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”

6 But the officials of Succoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?”

7 Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”

8 From there he went up to Peniel and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Succoth had. 9 So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. 11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and fell upon the unsuspecting army. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.



The group True Worshippers is a pioneer of Christian contemporary praise and worship music in Indonesia. They are affiliated with the Jakarta Praise Community Church, and they have toured on four continents. Watching them sing, I think of Psalm 117:1 — “Praise the Lord, all you nations, Praise him, all you people of the earth!”

HERE  is the song “God Is Our Victory” and the lyrics follow.

You’re the One who stands before us
You’re the One who brought us out
From the darkness
You’re the mighty God who saves us
When the storms and fires are
Raging all around us

If God is for us
Who’ll stand against us?
Who can separate us
From the love of Christ?

If God is for us who can divide us?
You have overcome the world
By Your great love

Let God arise, let God arise
Let us behold Him and bow down
He leads us all through battles won
God is our victory and we shall rise

God is our victory


13 Gideon son of Joash then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres. 14 He caught a young man of Succoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Succoth, the elders of the town. 15 Then Gideon came and said to the men of Succoth, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, ‘Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?’ ” 16 He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Succoth a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briers. 17 He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.

18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?”

“Men like you,” they answered, “each one with the bearing of a prince.”

19 Gideon replied, “Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the LORD lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.” 20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, “Kill them!” But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.

21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.’ ”

1.  Being killed by Gideon would be less humiliating than being killed by a boy.

2.  Being killed by an experienced fighter would be swifter and less painful than death at the hands of an incompetent swordsman.

So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels’ necks.

Gideon’s Ephod

22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.”

23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”

Q:  Will you be our king, please?

A:  No.  God is your king.

24 And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)

25 They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each man threw a ring from his plunder onto it.

Gideon receives the gold — miniature illumination, c. 1430

26 The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels (that is, about 43 pounds),  not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

Why would Gideon do this? And why would the Israelites worship it?

Gideon was remarkably obedient and filled with faith in the extreme moment of battle. The routine of daily living seems to have been a greater test of his character. This is true for many, and the challenges of daily living are more difficult than those of the extreme moment.

“Perhaps it is easier to honour God in some courageous action in the limelight of a time of national emergency than it is to honour Him consistently in the ordinary, everyday life, which requires a different kind of courage.”

–Arthur E. Cundall (lecturer in Old Testament at London Bible College)

Gideon’s Death

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land enjoyed peace forty years.

Hebrews 11:32-33 (New Living Translation)

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.  By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.

29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god and 34 did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show kindness to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) for all the good things he had done for them.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
zebra.    http://animals.timduru.org/dirlist/zebra/aey50038-Zebra-Face_closeup.jpg
cat and goat nuzzling.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/46/57/96/465796f614842c0ba5163dde35f16ca3.jpg
pick your poison.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/e16e1-pick-your-poison-home.png
crown.    http://www.faqs.org/photo-dict/photofiles/list/420/789crown.jpg
miniature.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/8-clear-mini1.jpg
walk by faith.     http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2332/2330771133_84e0a2570e.jpg

3088.) Judges 7

February 17, 2021

“Gideon Attacking” — Marie Odile de LaForcade, 1991.

Judges 7 (NIV)

Gideon Defeats the Midianites

1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, 3 announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

4 But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.”

6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.”

Now the Israelite army was less than 1% of its original size and the proportion was 400 Midianite soldiers to each Israelite soldier. Gideon could only trust in God because there was nothing else to trust!

8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.



What must Gideon be thinking??!! From 32,000 men, to 10,000 men, to 300 men — how on earth can he go up against the Midianites, who lie in the valley “thick as locusts,” we will soon read. Life with God! What an adventure! What are you up against? “Glory, honor, power, and strength belong to the Lord,” and through the Lord, to you.

HERE  is “The Battle Belongs to the Lord,” sung by the Maranatha Singers.


Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 9 During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

Only the very poor ate barley bread. The vision meant that the camp of the Midianites would be knocked over by a humble nobody.

14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

How many Hebrew soldiers does it take to defeat a superior army of Midianites and Amalekites?

300. One to throw the barley loaf and 299 to watch it roll into camp!

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.

17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ ”

“The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon” — by Sir Stanley Spencer, 1921 (Tate Collection, London)

19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

The Midianite soldiers awoke to an explosion of noise, light, and movement coming down on them from all directions. No wonder they thought they were being attacked by an army even bigger than they were.

22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.”

So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they took the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.

. . . and Gideon was so thrilled with the victory that he went up and down the whole land, putting Bibles in every hotel room!

The Gideons International was founded in Wisconsin in 1899. Since most of the early members were traveling men, they decided to furnish a Bible in every hotel room of the nation. Now, The Gideons have members in more than 180 countries around the globe, and print Scriptures in more than 80 languages. More than 2 billion Bibles and New Testaments have been placed by The Gideons so far, in hotels and motels, schools and universities, medical offices and hospitals, convalescent homes and domestic violence shelters, police and fire stations, jails and prisons . . .

My parents were long-time members of The Gideons. I remember them sharing stories at the dinner table of people who had encountered a loving, forgiving God in the pages of a Gideon Bible, and had their lives changed for all eternity. These stories were fascinating to me! What a great God we serve, who cares about each and every one of us, even (or especially) in our darkest moments!

If you would like to hear a couple stories of lives wonderfully changed by the fact that someone placed a Bible in a public place, or handed out a Bible or New Testament and asked God to put it into the right hands — click HERE.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
LaForcade.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/7-landron_gedeon_a_l_assaut.jpg
drinking water, 2 ways.  https://biblestudyresources.org/wp-content/uploads/_media/img/medium/gideon-and-the-300.jpg
round loaf of barley bread.    http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/wp-content/uploads/barley-bread-loaf.jpg
Spencer.    http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=13683&searchid=4860&tabview=image
Gideon Bible.    https://tvaraj.com/tag/bible-society/

3087.) Judges 6

February 16, 2021
“Gideon (sketch)” by Anton Franz Maulbertsch, 1794 (Episcopal Palace, Szombathely, Hungary)

“Gideon (sketch)” by Anton Franz Maulbertsch, 1794 (Episcopal Palace, Szombathely, Hungary)

Judges 6 (NIV)


1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.

God brought Israel into bondage through the oppression of the Midianites. This was an example of God’s grace and mercy to Israel because the oppression would make them turn back to God. It would have been worse if God had just left them alone.

–David Guzik

2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it.

The Midianites were a desert-dwelling people and they dominated Israel because of their effective use of camels!

6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.

“Well, I guess there’s nothing left to do but pray.” Forgive us, Lord, when we have this same attitude.

7 When the Israelites cried to the LORD because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

The real problem is not the Midianites. It is the lack of obedience on the part of the Israelites.



How many times have we read that God says to the Israelites, “I am the Lord your God”?  What an encouragement for Gideon!

How many times have we read that Christ says to us “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”?  What an encouragement for us!

“I AM” by Mark Schultz is a favorite song at our house!  HERE  it is.


11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.

This was both difficult and humiliating. Wheat was threshed in open spaces, typically on a hill-top so the breeze could blow away the chaff. Wheat was not normally threshed in a sunken place like a winepress.

–David Guzik

“And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under the oak” by James Shaw Crompton

“And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under the oak” by James Shaw Crompton

12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

Gideon indeed had might, but not as we might normally think.

  • Gideon had the might of the humble, threshing wheat on the winepress floor
  • Gideon had the might of the caring, because he cared about the low place of Israel
  • Gideon had the might of knowledge, because he knew God did great things in the past
  • Gideon had the might of the spiritually hungry because he wanted to see God do great works again
  • Gideon had the might of the teachable, because he listened to what the Angel of the Lord said
  • Gideon had the might of the weak, and God’s strength is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)

–David Guzik

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

In Gideon’s mind, victory over the Midianites was an impossibility, and he was absolutely right! The Midianites, along with their allies, overwhelmed the feeble Hebrews. Yet the moment God told Gideon to fight them, victory was no longer an impossibility!

When Jesus commanded His small group of followers to make disciples of all nations, was that possible (Matthew 28:19)? Certainly, if Jesus said it was! When Jesus told his disciples to love their enemies, was He being realistic? Of course, because He was the One who would achieve reconciliation through them (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).

Do you treat commands like these as implausible? Do you modify God’s word to find an interpretation that seems reasonable to you? Don’t discount what is possible with God (Philippians 4:13). When God gives an assignment, it is no longer an impossibility, but rather it is an absolute certainty. When God gives you a seemingly impossible task, the only thing preventing it from coming to pass is your disobedience. When God speaks, it can scare you to death! He will lead you to do things that are absolutely impossible in your own strength. But God will grant you victory, step by step, as you obey Him.

How do you respond to assignments that seem impossible? Do you write them off as unattainable? Or do you immediately adjust your life to God’s revelation, watching with anticipation to see how He will accomplish His purposes through your obedience? God wants to do the impossible through your life. All He requires is your obedience.

15 “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”

Someone once asked Francis of Assisi how he was able to accomplish so much. He replied, “This may be why:  The Lord looked down from heaven and said, ‘Where can I find the weakest, littlest man of earth?’ Then he saw me and said, ‘I’ve found him. I will work through him, and he won’t be proud of it. He’ll see that I am only using him because of his insignificance.’”

God is looking for ordinary people for extraordinary work.

–from Our Daily Bread, March 28, 2010

17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.”

19 Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah  of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

“The Sacrifice of Gideon” by Francois Bouchert, 1728 (The Louvre, Paris)

“The Sacrifice of Gideon” by Francois Bouchert, 1728 (The Louvre, Paris)

20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!”

23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”

24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

2 Peter 3:14-15 (NASB)

Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

25 That same night the LORD said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old.  Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”

In Gideon’s community, Baal was worshipped right along side of Yahweh. God called Gideon to get his own house in order first.

27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.

28 In the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!

29 They asked each other, “Who did this?”

When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”

30 The men of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

Ancient Israel worshipped Baal because he was thought to be the god of weather, and they relied on the weather for agricultural prosperity. In the hard economic times because of the Midianite oppression, people worshipped Baal all the more, not understanding that they only made things worse by not turning to God.

31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So that day they called Gideon “Jerub-Baal, ” saying, “Let Baal contend with him,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.

Gideon’s father made a very logical argument for preserving his son’s life. Since Baal was the offended party, he could defend himself.

This is similar to what happened during a great move of God in the South Seas in the 19th Century. One tribal chief was converted to Christianity and he gathered up all the idols of his people. He told the idols he was going to destroy them, and then he gave them the chance to run away. He destroyed all the ones that sat there like dumb statues.

–David Guzik

33 Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon,

and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.

Gideon pointing to the fleece — illustrated manuscript from the 1170’s (Getty Museum)

Gideon pointing to the fleece — illustrated manuscript from the 1170’s (Getty Museum)

36 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—-a bowlful of water.

39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make the fleece dry and the ground covered with dew.” 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

We've been fleeced!

We’ve been fleeced!

Here we are reading about Gideon and his fleece of wool. Actually, Gideon asks for, and receives, three signs from God. First, the angel of the Lord causes a fire to miraculously appear and consume his offering. Second, his fleece of wool gets wet from the dew while everything else stays dry. Third, the situation is reversed and the fleece stays dry while everything else gets wet from the dew. This is interesting reading, but it isn’t a lesson in how we’re supposed to deal with God. We’re to be people of faith, trusting in God and learning to hear his voice.  We’re not supposed to be sign-seekers and deal-makers. The star of this story is not Gideon, a near heathen who keeps getting signs from God confirming what he’s clearly already been told to do. The Star is God, who is patient even when Gideon keeps asking him to prove his own words. I’m thankful for a patient God who puts up with my shallowness even as he works to produce in me a more mature relationship with himself. Generally speaking though, I need to just do whatever it is God has made clear to me without “putting out a fleece.”

by Pastor Scott Cundiff



New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Maulbertsch.    https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Franz-Anton-Maulbertsch/Gideon-Sketch-1794.html
Crompton.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/6-crompton.jpg
the battle is won.    https://aviesplace.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/the-battle-is-already-won.jpg
St. Francis of Assisi.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/6a00d83454ad5369e20105353a8a6a970c-320wi.jpg
Boucher.    http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Wave/image/joconde/0001/m503604_97de24045_p.jpg
Be at peace.    https://areureallyawake.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/be-at-peace-god-is-in-charge.jpg
altar, broken idol.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/6-altaridolbroken.jpg
Holy Spirit of God.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/3-holyspirit2.jpg?w=450
Gideon pointing to the fleece.    http://www.jesuswalk.com/gideon/images/gideon_getty_ms223x300.jpg
fleeced alpacas.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/judg6-alpaca.jpg

3086.) Judges 5

February 15, 2021

“Deborah: Words, Women, and War” by Nathan Moskowitz

Judges 5 (NIV)

The Song of Deborah

1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:

Judges chapter 5 tells the same story as Judges chapter 4, but in poetic form. Scholars consider this to be one of the earliest examples of Hebrew poetry (12th century BCE).

2 “When the princes in Israel take the lead,
when the people willingly offer themselves—
praise the LORD!

3 “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers!
I will sing to  the LORD, I will sing;
I will make music to  the LORD, the God of Israel.

Psalm 27:6 (ESV)

And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts ofjoy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.



HERE  is “Deborah’s Theme”  with Italian composer Ennio Morricone, conducting. From the movie Once Upon a Time in America.


4 “O LORD, when you went out from Seir,
when you marched from the land of Edom,
the earth shook, the heavens poured,
the clouds poured down water.

5 The mountains quaked before the LORD, the One of Sinai,
before the LORD, the God of Israel.

6 “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
in the days of Jael, the roads were abandoned;
travelers took to winding paths.

7 Village life  in Israel ceased,
ceased until I, Deborah, arose,
arose a mother in Israel.

“I Arose a Mother in Israel” painting by Elspeth Young, who gave Deborah a sword as a symbol not of fighting, but of the Word of the Lord and His promise of deliverance.

8 When they chose new gods,
war came to the city gates,
and not a shield or spear was seen
among forty thousand in Israel.

9 My heart is with Israel’s princes,
with the willing volunteers among the people.
Praise the LORD!

10 “You who ride on white donkeys,
sitting on your saddle blankets,
and you who walk along the road,
consider 11 the voice of the singers  at the watering places.
They recite the righteous acts of the LORD,
the righteous acts of his warriors  in Israel.
“Then the people of the LORD
went down to the city gates.

12 ‘Wake up, wake up, Deborah!
Wake up, wake up, break out in song!
Arise, O Barak!
Take captive your captives, O son of Abinoam.’

Hebrews 11:32-33 (NLT)

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.  By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.

13 “Then the men who were left
came down to the nobles;
the people of the LORD
came to me with the mighty.

14 Some came from Ephraim, whose roots were in Amalek;
Benjamin was with the people who followed you.
From Makir captains came down,
from Zebulun those who bear a commander’s staff.

15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
yes, Issachar was with Barak,
rushing after him into the valley.
In the districts of Reuben
there was much searching of heart.

16 Why did you stay among the campfires
to hear the whistling for the flocks?
In the districts of Reuben
there was much searching of heart.

17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan.
And Dan, why did he linger by the ships?
Asher remained on the coast
and stayed in his coves.

18 The people of Zebulun risked their very lives;
so did Naphtali on the heights of the field.

As she remembered God’s help, Deborah knew that His help came from the tribes of Israel, stirred to join in the battle. Deborah praised the tribes that helped, notably Ephraim, West Manasseh, Benjamin, Zebulun, Issachar, and Naphtali.

But not every tribe was helpful. Reuben, East Manasseh, Dan, and Asher did not join in the battle.

19 “Kings came, they fought;
the kings of Canaan fought
at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo,
but they carried off no silver, no plunder.

20 From the heavens the stars fought,
from their courses they fought against Sisera.

21 The river Kishon swept them away,
the age-old river, the river Kishon.
March on, my soul; be strong!

22 Then thundered the horses’ hoofs—
galloping, galloping go his mighty steeds.

23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the LORD.
‘Curse its people bitterly,
because they did not come to help the LORD,
to help the LORD against the mighty.’

“Jael and Sisero” by Artemisia Gentileschi, 1620 (Budapest Museum)

24 “Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
most blessed of tent-dwelling women.

25 He asked for water, and she gave him milk;
in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk.

26 Her hand reached for the tent peg,
her right hand for the workman’s hammer.
She struck Sisera, she crushed his head,
she shattered and pierced his temple.

27 At her feet he sank,
he fell; there he lay.
At her feet he sank, he fell;
where he sank, there he fell—dead.

“The Mother of Sisera Looked Out a Window” by British painter Albert Joseph Moore. Ah, there are many victims in a war.

28 “Through the window peered Sisera’s mother;
behind the lattice she cried out,
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?’

29 The wisest of her ladies answer her;
indeed, she keeps saying to herself,

30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoils:
a girl or two for each man,
colorful garments as plunder for Sisera,
colorful garments embroidered,
highly embroidered garments for my neck—
all this as plunder?’

31 “So may all your enemies perish, O LORD!
But may they who love you be like the sun
when it rises in its strength.”
Then the land had peace forty years.

How much better it is to be one of those who love Him than to be one of God’s enemies!


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Moskowitz.   https://itabibleclub.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/deborah-gods-woman-of-wisdom/
quill pen.    http://mozziestar.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/ink.jpg
music staff.    http://www.clipartbest.com/cliparts/di7/gz6/di7gz67i9.gif
Young.    http://alyoung.com/Art_Gallery/Elspeth_Young/Women_in_Scripture/Deborah.jpg
walk by faith.     http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2332/2330771133_84e0a2570e.jpg
Gentileschi.     https://www.sartle.com/sites/default/files/images/artwork/1000125.jpg
Moore.    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5b/Moore_Albert_Joseph_The_Mother_of_Sisera_Looked_out_a_Window.jpg