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Gideon is one of the most powerful judges of Israel: he attacks and overthrows kings; he plunders their royal treasures; and after his great success against the land of Midian, the people of God actually want to make him their king. This desire is logical. Other peoples have kings to lead them into battle and to rule over them. Why not them? But this is not God’s desire for His people, and Gideon knows that pain, destruction, and bloodshed follow when someone pursues the throne against God’s will. Gideon tells them he will not rule them—and neither will his sons—so they can get that idea out of their heads. But the thirst for power leads to intrigue, and one of Gideon’s sons plays on the people’s continual desire for order at the hand of a king.

33 As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites turned away from the Lord, and they began to prostitute themselves again to the Baals. They made Baal-berith their chief god. 34 The people of Israel did not remember the Eternal One, their True God, who had rescued them from the oppression of enemies on every side, 35 and they were not kind to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) despite all the good he had done for Israel.

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