“And the men of Israel said to Gideon, ‘Rule us! You and also your son and also the son of your son, for you saved us from the hand of Midian.’ And Gideon said to them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. Yahweh will rule you.’”
We don’t quite know how long a period of time takes place in between verses 21 and 22. Clearly there is enough time that Gideon has returned home with his soldiers and the Elders of Israel realize that they are now in safety. They have been delivered through Gideon and now the people seek to make Gideon king.
Earlier, I mentioned that one was beginning to see indications that Gideon was thinking about establishing a dynasty, particularly when he includes his son in executing judgment against the kings of Midian. One might then, see Gideon’s rejection of the offer of rule as being contrary to such a notion. Here is his opportunity to establish himself and his sons on a throne in Israel.
Yet, sometimes seeds, when planted deep, take time to germinate and show their stalks. And this seems to be one of those cases. It is not yet time for Israel to take a king and Gideon remains faithful to his initial calling, to be a Judge and deliverer for the people. Yet, as we close this chapter out, we will begin to see a shift in Gideon’s stance, particularly as we enter into chapter 9.
This notion of bad ideas sometimes remaining below the surface for extended periods of time is something to which we ought to be able to relate. How often, when left unchecked, worldly ideas wait until the soil is fertile for the sin. And when it begins to surface, if not plucked out, root and all, then it keeps coming and spreading like weeds through a field. For now, Gideon says, “no.” But by his actions it will become clear that Yahweh is not established in Israel as king. So too, we may reject un-Biblical notions at first, but if unchecked, man’s ways will end up being the rule for the church, not Yahweh’s.