Judges 6:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 6:15, NIV: Pardon me, my lord,' Gideon replied, 'but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'

Judges 6:15, ESV: And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

Judges 6:15, KJV: And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.

Judges 6:15, NASB: But he said to Him, 'O Lord, how am I to save Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.'

Judges 6:15, NLT: 'But Lord,' Gideon replied, 'how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!'

Judges 6:15, CSB: He said to him, "Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's family."

What does Judges 6:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Gideon asks a question many have asked—both within Scripture and outside of it—when given a seemingly impossible mission from God: "How?" The nation is brutalized by foreign raiders (Judges 6:1–6), and the man being called is currently hiding his food from enemy eyes (Judges 6:11). Yet the Lord called him a "man of valor" (Judges 6:12) and commanded him to make the situation right (Judges 6:14). The Lord's first statement, that Yahweh was with Gideon, did not match the way Gideon viewed his circumstances. The Lord's command to change those circumstances does not match Gideon's vision of himself in the world.

Another common reply to God's calling is doubt that the person called is capable of such a thing. Gideon lists all the reasons he shouldn't be thought of as a "mighty man." His clan is the least influential of his tribe, and he's not even the most important person in his own family. That lowly status is highlighted by the fact that he's doing a servant's job, despite not being a servant himself (Judges 6:27). Gideon can't imagine he has the power to make a difference. Nor does he believe anyone would listen to anything he had to say about saving Israel.

It should be noted that "bravery" is not rightly thought of as a lack of fear, but the strength to overcome fear to act. By that standard, this timid, self-doubting Israelite is legitimately one of Scriptures "bravest" heroes (Hebrews 11:32–35).