Judges 6:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 6:27, NIV: So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.

Judges 6:27, ESV: So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.

Judges 6:27, KJV: Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.

Judges 6:27, NASB: Then Gideon took ten men from his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.

Judges 6:27, NLT: So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father's household and the people of the town.

Judges 6:27, CSB: So Gideon took ten of his male servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his father's family and the men of the city to do it in the daytime, he did it at night.

What does Judges 6:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Lord appeared to Gideon, of the tribe of Manasseh, of the tiny clan of the Abiezrites. Despite Gideon describing himself as the least in his father's household, the Lord has promised to be with him and has commanded Gideon to save Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6:11–16). This call was confirmed with a sign (Judges 6:17–24).

Before fully repelling the Midianites, the Lord has come back to Gideon that night. He has a very specific task which must be done. Gideon is to tear down an altar to Baal and an Asherah pole; these were pagan artifacts used for the worship of false gods (Judges 3:7). Both stand on his father's property. Gideon must replace the altar to Baal with an altar to Yahweh and sacrifice one of his father's bulls on it (Judges 6:25–26). This would have been an open, overt attack on the worship of those false gods and a declaration of the Lord's supremacy.

Gideon obeys; gathering ten servants reinforces how difficult it would have been to demolish the altar and Asherah pole. And yet, his acts are not done in an especially courageous way. Instead, Gideon works under the cover of darkness. It would be fair to note that if Gideon had done this in broad daylight, he likely would have been attacked by angry townspeople (Judges 6:30) or even the Midianites themselves (Judges 6:11).

And yet, Scripture points out that Gideon was "afraid of" both his neighbors and his own family. The Hebrew phrasing here implies more than being "prudent," or a tactical calculation. Gideon is anxious about what will happen if he publicly desecrates the pagan altars. He's obedient enough to follow God's command—but not so bold that he'll act in open daylight.. Afraid or not, he does what needs to be done: a reasonably good definition of real "bravery."

The following verses will prove Gideon was right to expect a strong reaction from his neighbors. They will not take kindly to this act. The people of Gideon's family and town do not worship Baal casually. They genuinely believe keeping Baal satisfied means being protected from harm and granted favor. This attack against Baal's altar and the sacred Asherah will be viewed as a high crime against those gods.