Judges 6:32 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 6:32, NIV: So because Gideon broke down Baal's altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, 'Let Baal contend with him.'

Judges 6:32, ESV: Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.

Judges 6:32, KJV: Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.

Judges 6:32, NASB: Therefore on that day he named Gideon Jerubbaal, that is to say, 'Let Baal contend against him,' because he had torn down his altar.

Judges 6:32, NLT: From then on Gideon was called Jerub-baal, which means 'Let Baal defend himself,' because he broke down Baal's altar.

Judges 6:32, CSB: That day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, since Joash said, "Let Baal contend with him," because he tore down his altar.

What does Judges 6:32 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In a beautiful moment, Gideon's father Joash comes forcefully to his son's defense. He is protecting Gideon against the men of the town who want revenge. The neighbors were convinced Gideon must be killed to defend the honor of Baal and to earn his favor after his sacred altar was desecrated (Judges 6:25–30).

Joash replied with two main responses. One was legal—and physical—the other was theological. First, Joash reminded everyone of his legal right to kill anyone who attacked his son.

Second, he reminded the people of their own pagan beliefs: if Baal was a god, he should be able to contend for himself. Trying to kill Gideon would be an insult to Baal, suggesting he didn't have the ability to do so himself.

That remarkably clear logic stuck, and even became Gideon's new name. From then on, Gideon was often called by the nickname "Jerubbaal." This comes from a Hebrew word his father used three times in his challenging response (Judges 6:31). The word riyb means "to struggle or contend." Gideon's new title essentially means "let Baal fight for himself." As such, Gideon's successful career and life will become evidence of Baal's powerlessness, as much as a testimony to Yahweh's power to defend whomever He will.