Judges 8: Gideon goes to Succoth

The 8th chapter in the Book of Judges starts out poorly.  The Ephraimites whine that they were called last which is probably just that they want recognition from the great judge himself and Gideon smartly gives it to them in 8:3

3 God has delivered into your hand the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb! What was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that. (World English Bible)

And the Ephraimites are happy.  But still things are not going well now that Gideon is in Jordan.  He meets another Israelite tribe living in Succoth.  This totally fooled me as there is an October feast day called that as well and for the life of me I could not make heads nor tails of what was happening.  So I had to ask Matthew Henry for advice, and he advised me that this was not the holiday but the people.  Reading the Bible, I must admit, is a very enlightening process.

So the connection between the holiday and this town in Judges is just in name.  Succoth (Sukkot)  in Hebrew means “booths or tabernacle”; the holiday is literally the Feast of the Booths and a memorial of when the Israelites had no home but were wandering in the desert.  The  town’s name is that it too is a  “temporary settlement,” having been established east of the river Jordan, just for the mining of ores.

So as Gideon chases  Zebah (sacrifice)  and Zalmunna, he stops at the town Succoth (booths).  Since they are fellow Israelites, Gideon expects support, but when the elders say no, because it seems they don’t believe he will succeed,  Gideon is furious and curses them.

6 The princes of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?”

7 Gideon said, “When Yahweh has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers. “    (World English Bible 8:6-7)

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