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Judges 8:22

ESV Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”
NIV The Israelites said to Gideon, 'Rule over us--you, your son and your grandson--because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.'
NASB Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, 'Rule over us, both you and your son, your son’s son as well, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian!'
CSB Then the Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us, you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for you delivered us from the power of Midian."
NLT Then the Israelites said to Gideon, 'Be our ruler! You and your son and your grandson will be our rulers, for you have rescued us from Midian.'
KJV Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.

What does Judges 8:22 mean?

The Midianite army and their allies have been thoroughly defeated, wiped out by Gideon and his 300 warriors (Judges 7:8) by the power of God (Judges 8:10–12). The victory is fully completed with the execution of two murdering kings (Judges 8:18–21).

Now representatives of Israel approach Gideon with an offer. They ask him to become the first leader of a family dynasty that will continue through his sons and grandsons. The nation asks Gideon to become their permanent leader. The Hebrew term for a king, melek, is not mentioned. But the description is exactly that.

This is not a senseless offer. The Israelites recognize what has been accomplished under Gideon's leadership. They can also see the benefits of having some form of leadership, rather than the randomness and chaos which made Israel so weak against Midianite raiders (Judges 6:1–5). In the afterglow of great victory, the people can think of no one better to lead than Gideon, after what he has done. Gideon previously described himself as the least member of a weak clan (Judges 6:15). To now be offered a kingship must have been an unimaginable honor.

Still, Gideon recognizes that this offer misunderstands what has been accomplished. The people of Israel are giving him credit for saving them, rather than giving that glory to the Lord (Judges 7:15). God winnowed Gideon's original army down to a task force of 300 men because He did not want Israel to conclude they had saved themselves (Judges 7:2). God's intent was for the people to recognize divine providence. Instead, they seem to conclude that Gideon is the crucial piece of their victory.

This means Israel's offer is not only driven by emotion, rather than reason, it's also unspiritual. Gideon will refuse to participate in this error—at least officially. Yet his actions unfortunately contribute to Israel's continued addiction to idols (Judges 8:27).
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