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and wrote for The Atlantic Monthly a long poem on the event. It contained these lines, with many references to the great battles of that famous plain :

"I have been in Armageddon's vale,
The Judgment Place, which John of Patmos saw
In his Apocalypse. - There have I walked;
There seen the Allied Men on horses ride,
Guided by 'eyes that were as flame of fire.'
Swift as these flaming eagles did they ride;
Swifter than Barak from Mt. Tabor's slopes
Rushing upon this plain; swifter than they
Of Gideon's band who swept upon Jezreel
From Mount Gilboa fronting this dread field,
Where kings and emperors through centuries
Have perished since the dewless, rainless days
When these same circling mountains mourned for Saul
And Jonathan, whom death could not divide.”

THE STORY OF JAEL. The Kenites (children of Kain) were a nomadic tribe, not belonging to Israel. Moses married the daughter of one of them — Hobab (called

also Jethro), and gave him the famous invitation to accompany the Israelites up to Canaan (Num. 10 : 29–32), Come thou with us, and we will do thee good.” Heber, a member of

this tribe of Kenites, Tents.

had separated from

the rest of the tribe who had settled in the southern part of Canaan (Judg. 1 : 16), and had made his home in the north, by a sacred oak near Kedesh (Judg. 4:11). In his flight Sisera came to the tent of Heber's wife Jael, who received him cordially, gave him a refreshing drink of milk, allowed the weary man to lie down, and covered him with a rug. Then, as he lay in deep slumber, she took a sharp-pointed tent-pin and killed him with it, driving it into his temple. Then when Barak came up in pursuit, Jael showed him his dead foe, and he perceived the fulfilment of Deborah's prophecy. None the less, however, Barak went on, or the Israelites without him, until by a series of victories the power of King Jabin, deprived of his general, was thoroughly broken and destroyed. The work of Deborah and Barak was accomplished.

IV. DEBORAH'S HYMN OF VICTORY, Judges 5. The magnificent poem known as the Hymn of Deborah is acknowledged by even radical scholars to be one of the most ancient specimens of Hebrew literature. It contains words so old that their meaning has been lost, and portions of it have never been adequately translated. Such songs were transmitted orally for many years before they were written down, and words had a chance to change their meanings, while numerous references would become lost or confused.

In spite of these difficulties, the spirit, power, and significance of the song are perfectly clear. It is a vigorous account of the events we have just read in prose. It is a noble hymn of patriotism. It is an anthem of “praise to the Lord.” (v. 3), to whom the triumph is ascribed, at the same time that it glorifies Jehovah's human agents.

The hymn is full of phrases and sentences that have become proverbial : “a mother in Israel (v.7); "Lead thy captivity captive" (v. 12); Why satest thou among the sheepfolds ? " (v. 16) ; “There were great searchings of heart” (v. 16) ; “ the high places of the field” (v. 18); “ The stars in their courses fought against Sisera” (v. 20); “ Curse ye Meroz because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty" (v. 23) ; “So let all tħine enemies perish, O Lord” (v. 31).

The descriptions are intensely energetic :

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“At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay:
At her feet he bowed, he fell:
Where he bowed, there he fell down dead" (v. 27).

1

the poem.

The frequent hammer-strokes of repetition add to the vivacity and forcefulness of

It is a unique piece of work, and the writer was a poet of high order. It breathes an ardent love of country, and an enthusiastic devotion to God. Discounting the ferocity of Jael's deed, which for that age only increased the regard in which even the most religious held it, and the hymn holds much that inspires the patriot of to-day. We also are to be haters of evil. We also are to smite it to the death. And we also are to fight in the strength of the Lord.

ESTIMATES OF DEBORAH. “Like Deborah, let us learn to hate sin with a noble hatred. Like a Greater than her, let us learn to love the sinner with a nobler love." Rev. W. Mackintosh Mackay.

“ Would to God we had some Deborah or Joan of Arc to arouse the people of God to-day, and lift this old world out of its moral, social, and religious chaos.” Rev. Len G. Broughton, D.D.

“ There is no finer poetry than Deborah's hymn." Rev. William H. P. Faunce, D. D.

“ Deborah' was a woman so largely endowed by qualities of brain and heart, one too whose communion

Deborah's Song of Triumph. Doré. with God was so fervent and sincere, that she could not be limited to what is popularly termed woman's sphere." Margaret E. Sangster.

“Deborah's patriotism is an enlargement of an anguished mother's concern for her distressed children.” - Principal Adeney.

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LESSON III.

April 18.
THE VICTORY OF GIDEON'S BAND. — Judges 7.

PRINT Judges 7:1-8, 16-21.
GOLDEN TEXT. There is no restraint to Jehovah to save by many or by few.
-I SAM. 14:6.

Devotional Reading : Psalm 47.
Additional Material for Teachers : Judg. 6:1-40 ; 8:1-35.
Primary Topic : GIDEON AND His THREE HUNDRED.

Lesson Material : Judg. 7:1–21.
Memory Verse : If God is for us, who is against us?

Rom. 8:31.
Junior Topic : How GIDEON WON A VICTORY.

Lesson Material : Judg. 7:1–21.

Memory Verse : 2 Chron. 20 : 15 (Fear not ye, etc.).
Intermediate and Senior Topic : VICTORY BY God's HELP.
Topic for Young People and Adults : ONE with GOD A MAJORITY.

Additional Material : Gen. 6 : 5-8.

THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS. and the trumpets, and the teacher can

easily pass on to a lesson on trust in The younger classes will be interested God for the winning of their victories in the story of the pitchers, the torches, over temptation and sin. They have a part to play, as Gideon and his men had, Age, by Marcus Dods. Footsteps of the and they are not to wait for God to do Flock, by Morrison. The World to Come, it all.

by Wright. The intermediate pupils should study the whole story of Gideon, beginning THE ROUND TABLE. with the destruction of the idols. It is a good plan to divide the story into sec- FOR RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION. tions in advance and assign the sections to different members of the class for Gideon compared with Elijah.

Gideon a study of faith. special preparation.

The valley of Esdraclon. The older classes, who are fairly The triumph of minorities throughout the Bible. familiar with the story of Gideon, may Gideon an example for leaders. review it briefly, and pass on to study the ways in which God, all through the ages, has transformed minorities into THE PLAN OF THE LESSON. majorities, and made the weak triumph over the strong. Speak especially of SUBJECT : The Tests and the Triumph some of the unpopular reforms of the

of Faith. present day.

I. THE PREPARATION OF GIDEON FOR

His GREAT DEED, Judg. 6:1THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING.

40.

The Midianite oppressor. Time. Beecher gives 1323 B.C. for

The arousing prophet. the date of this battle.

The call of Gideon. Place. The battle in which Gideon The defiance of heathenism. vanquished the Midianites was fought

The proving of faith. in the valley of Jezreel (Esdraelon), II. THE SELECTION OF GIDEON's Band, which extends from Mt. Carmel to the

Judg. 7:1-8. Jordan. It is “ the battlefield of Pales- The cowardly sent home. tine," and has memories of Thothmes III.

The leisurely sent home.

The valiant three hundred. and'Rameses II., of Barak, Deborah, and I11. THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF A DREAM, Sisera, Saul and Jonathan, Ahab and Jezebel, Jehu, Josiah, Holofernes and

Judg: 7:9-18.

“The sword of Gideon." Judith, Vespasian and Josephus, Saladin and the Knights Templar, Bonaparte and IV. THE VICTORY AND Pursuit, Judg.

Preparation for battle. Kléber, and lastly of General Allenby.

7:19–25 ; 8:1-35. Trumpets, pitchers, and torches.

“The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.

"Why did you not call us?"

Faint, yet pursuing." Chapters on Gideon by Rev. H. Elvet Shameful refusals. Lewis (in Men of the Old Testament),

Fit punishments. Alexander Whyte (Bible Characters),

Gideon the judge. Hastings (Greater Men and Women of the Bible), Thain Davidson, D.D. (Bib- THE LESSON IN LITERATURE. lical Character Sketches), H. W. Beecher (Bible Studies), M. B. Wharton (Famous · Poems on Gideon's fleece by Thomas Men of the Old Testament), Matheson Grinfield, John Newton (in Olney (Representative Men of the Bible), J. R. Hymns), Cecil Frances Alexander. Miller (Devotional Hours), Alexander Carlyle's Past and Present, Book III., Maclaren (Expositions), etc. Lang's Chap. II., has an extended simile drawn Gideon and the Judges. Israel's Iron from Gideon's fleece.

I. THE PREPARATION OF GIDEON FOR HIS GREAT DEED, Judg. 6:140. The great victory of Barak over the Canaanites was followed by peace for forty years, a whole generation. Then again came forgetfulness of the God who had done so much for the people, and the Israelites were punished by the attacks of the Midianites.

These Midianites were descended from Abraham's son Midian (Gen. 25 : 2), and were therefore kindred of the Israelites. They were, however, a fierce tribe of nomads, whom we find first near Sinai (Ex. 3:1- Moses married a Midianite), but now find associated with the Amalekites south of Canaan and with the desert tribes east of Canaan. In great numbers these robbers overran the fields which

the Israelites had patiently tilled. The owners took refuge in the hills and in caves, and saw their crops and their cattle carried off, and the whole land swept bare as by a visitation of devouring locusts. “ The description would apply almost equally well to the raids of the Bedouin to-day. Nomads prefer that settled peoples should do the work of sowing, while they reap the harvests. The temporary flight of the inhabitants to the hills and caves was repeated up to the time of the Maccabees, and is still common in Syria, in the Balkans, and elsewhere at the present time.” - New Century Bible.

In this time of terror, loss, and suffering God raised up a new deliverer, Gideon, the son of Joash, of the family of Abiezer, a division of the tribe of Manasseh, which dwelt on both sides of the Jordan in the regions of Galilee and Gilead.

Gide was prepared for his great work : first, by the preaching of an unknown prophet, reminding the Israelites of God's kindness in the past, and charging them with base ingratitude,

From an old print. in punishment for which these

An Angel Appears to Gideon. calamities had come upon them.

Second, Gideon was prepared by the vision of an angel, sitting under an oak in Ophrah, a town probably near Shechem. There Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress, a shallow depression cut in the rocky soil. He was using the confined winepress in order to hide from the Midianites, for wheat was usually threshed on a Alat rocky space exposed to the wind and open to the view. Thinking that the angel was only a man, Gideon spoke with him, unburdening his soul of his despair for his country. Noting the stanch muscles of the young thresher and his manly speech, the angel bade him go forth in his might and deliver Israel. Gideon pleaded the poverty and obscurity of his family, but the angel promised to be with him; and when Gideon courteously set food before him, he disclosed his supernatural character by causing flame to burst from the rock and consume the food as a sacrifice.

Third, Gideon's preparation for his great task included the cleansing of his own home and neighborhood from idolatry. Working at night with ten servants, he threw down the stone altar of the local deity, the Baal of Ophrah, and cut down the wooden post set up by it, the Asherah associated with licentious rites. Then he built an altar to the true God and offered sacrifice upon it, burning the offering with the wood of the Asherah. Though it was done at night, this bold deed was brought home to Gideon, who was only saved from death by the stout defence of his father. “If Baal is a god,” Joash said, “ he can take care of himself, he can do his own punishing." This was good logic, and carried the day.

Illustration. “'Let her ladyship now save herself,' said John Knox, as he cast the wooden idol overboard. She is light enough ; let her learn to swim.' After that, we read, was no Scottish man ever urged with that idolatry." — Alexander Whyte. Fourth, Gideon was moved by an inrush of the spirit of God to summon

his clan of Abiezer, with the entire tribe of Manasseh, and the near-by tribes, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, calling them to attack the Midianites, who had swept over the country once more from the east, had crossed the Jordan, and had poured up the Jezreel valley south of the Sea of Galilee, leading to the Plain of Esdraelon.

Fifth, Gideon seemed to feel some misgiving as he faced his great task, and sought for direct evidence of God's guidance. This God granted him in the sign of the fleece, left out all night. One night it was wet with the dew while all around it was dry, the next night it was dry while all around it was wet. God does not give proofs of this kind to-day, but he does make his presence just as manifest to the hearts of men in answer to believing prayer.

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1. Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod : so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

2. And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

as

GIDEON'S TRAINING. A threshing-floor may seem a humble birthplace for a great reformation. But a manger was not too humble for a greater. And it is well that we should learn and relearn that the greatest moral forces have their source in

common duties bravely done when the hour is dark.' Rev. H. Elvet Lewis.

“ William Cullen Bryant said he thought of every one he met as an angel in disguise. We may go further and think of every one who comes to us as God himself." - J. R. Miller. We may all meet God

Gideon met the angel.

II. THE SELECTION OF GIDEON'S BAND, Judg. 7:1-8. In every great undertaking and in most smaller ones the leader

needs helpers. The Gideon Destroys the Idols.

From an old print. choice of these helpers

is quite as important as the choice of the leader. Many otherwise admirable leaders, including several Presidents of the United States, like Grant, have jeopardized their success because of their selection of inferior assistants. Jehovah did not allow Gideon to make this mistake.

1. Then Jerubbaal. A name given to Gideon (Judg. 6:32) in allusion to Joash's argument, interpreted to mean, "Let Baal contend against him.” Rose up early. Early rising is ascribed to many of the Bible heroes —such as Abraham, Hezekiah, Samuel,

ann

MIDIANITES'
Saul, Jacob, Moses,

ARMY
Joshua, Job, Mary
Magdalene, the apostles
in important crises. To

Ford “ The morning hour

MT: GULBO has gold in its mouth” gold of health and

Bridge happiness and charac

Bethshean ter as well as of material prosperity. And encamped beside the spring of Harod, a spring mentioned only here, now called 'Ain Jalūd, at the foot of Mt. Gilboa. By the hill of Moreh, now called Neby Duhy, on the north side of the valley of Jezreel.

2. And Jehovah said unto Gideon, by audible voice, or through a prophet, or by an impression made upon his mind. The people that are with thee are too many.

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1111

11

JEZREEL

WELLN
HAROD
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13 Miles
Galilec
To Sea of

VALLCY of JEZREEL

MEGIDDO
11 MILES

Succoth

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