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26 Facts About Gideon
Gideon was the son of Joash, from the Abiezrite clan in the tribe of Manasseh and lived in Ephra.
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Gideon requested proof of God's will by three miracles: firstly a sign from the Angel of the Lord, in which the angel appeared to Gideon and caused fire to shoot up out of a rock, and then two signs involving a fleece, performed on consecutive nights and the exact opposite of each other.
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On God's instruction, Gideon destroyed the town's altar to Baal and the symbol of the goddess Asherah beside it, receiving the byname of Jerubbaal from his father:.
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Gideon went on to send out messengers to gather together men from the tribes of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, as well as his own tribe of Manasseh, in order to meet an armed force of the people of Midian and the Amalek that had crossed the Jordan River, and they encamped at the Well of Harod in the Valley of Jezreel.
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Gideon invited any man who wanted to leave, to do so; 22,000 men returned home and 10,000 remained.
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Yet with the number, God told Gideon they were still too many and instructed him to bring them to the water.
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Gideon returned to the Israelite camp and gave each of his men a trumpet and a clay jar with a torch hidden inside.
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Gideon instructed them to blow the trumpet, give a battle cry and light torches, simulating an attack by a large force.
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Gideon sent messengers ahead into Israel calling for the Ephraimites to pursue the retreating Midianites and two of their leaders, Oreb and Zeeb.
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Gideon invited his eldest son, Jether, to slay Zebah and Zalmunna, but being still young at the time, he did not have the confidence to carry out his father's request, so Zebah and Zalmunna called on Gideon to perform the deed himself.
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Gideon then killed Zebah and Zalmunna as justice for the death of his brothers.
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Gideon consecrated it to God, but after his death homage was paid to it as an idol.
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Gideon had a Shechemite concubine who bore him a son whom he named Abimelech, which means "my father is king".
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The ingratitude of the Israelites who permitted Abimelech to murder the children of their benefactor Gideon was counted unto them as though they had forsaken God; ingratitude is as grave a sin as idolatry; Yelammedenu in Yalkut II, 64.
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The core narrative consists of Gideon wishing to avenge the death of his brothers, gathering 300 men of his own clan and pursuing the Midianite chiefs Zebah and Zalmunna, slaying them and consecrating an idol made from the spoils of war, which makes his city of Ophrah the seat of an oracle and giving Gideon himself the status of a rich chief with a large harem.
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Name Jerubbaal given to Gideon is originally a theophoric name meaning "Baal strives", but it was later given the interpretation of "let Baal strive against him" in order to avoid conflict with the more rigorous development of the religion of Yahweh in later centuries.
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Gideon is commemorated, together with the other righteous figures of the Old Testament, on the Sunday before Christmas.
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Hans von Rute's Gideon compares the removal of saints' relics from churches to Gideon's destruction of Baal's altar.
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Origin of the phrase "putting out a fleece" is a reference to the story of Gideon meaning to look for a sign from God before undertaking some action or carrying out some plan.
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Much like the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, Gideon has become symbolic of military success of a small elite force against overwhelming numerical odds.
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The Gideon narrative was invoked by Covenanter commander Archibald Strachan prior to Battle of Carbisdale.
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The Gideon Force was a small British-led special force in the East African Campaign during World War II.
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