THE STORY of Gideon is not just an example of faith in the face of overwhelming odds; it’s also another example of the Trinity in the Old Testament.
Gideon was from the weakest clan in the tribe of Manasseh, and described himself as “the least in [his] father’s house.” Yet, the angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ, assured Gideon that he would “save Israel from the hand of Midian.”
Gideon’s reluctance is understandable; the hordes of Midianites and Amalekites were so numerous that “both they and their camels could not be counted.” He tested God twice, and God confirmed that it was indeed He who had called Gideon to this mission.
In Judges 6:34, we read that “the Spirit of the Lord clothed [or “took control of”] Gideon,” giving us the third member of the Trinity in the story of Gideon.
Sadly, Gideon, like all of us, wasn’t perfect. Although he declined the offer of the Israelites to rule over them, which is understandable given that he and his 300 beat an army of 120,000, he made a gold ephod for himself, a garment reserved for the high priest, and named one of his many sons Abimelech—which means “my father is king.”
By the way, the value of Gideon’s ephod in today’s market is over $1.3 million. No wonder “it became a snare to Gideon and his family”!
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Although Gideon appears to reject invitation to rule he claimed the lion’s share of the plunder, the purple garments of the Midianite kings, established a national cult center complete with divine image, identifies himself by patronymic (Jerub baal), lived in his own house, established a large harem and fathers 70 sons, and names his son Abimilech, which means “my father is king.”