Judges 8:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 8:23, NIV: But Gideon told them, 'I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.'

Judges 8:23, ESV: Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you.”

Judges 8:23, KJV: And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.

Judges 8:23, NASB: But Gideon said to them, 'I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.'

Judges 8:23, NLT: But Gideon replied, 'I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The LORD will rule over you!

Judges 8:23, CSB: But Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you."

What does Judges 8:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Israelites approached victorious Gideon (Judges 6:1–5; 8:10–12) with an offer: to rule over them permanently. They ask him to begin a dynasty that will include his son and grandsons (Judges 8:22). The role was not literally described using the Hebrew word for "king," but the details amount to the same thing.

Gideon refuses. He has been communicating with the Lord from the beginning of this story (Judges 6:11–14), and he understands clearly that God does not intend Israel to be ruled by a king in this moment. The Lord wants all of Israel to answer to Him directly. To some extent, this has been God's ideal for all people in all times: direct and personal submission to His will. Government is not without purpose (Romans 13:1), or value (Romans 13:3–4). Yet the Lord has never intended His people to put their ultimate trust in human rulers.

And so, as he should, Gideon answers clearly and without hesitation. He rejects the offer to become Israel's monarch, or to pass the role to his children. He rightly encourages Israel to follow what they've already been told by the Lord God (Joshua 24:15–18). He specifically refers to God as Yahweh (Exodus 3:15), the Hebrew term specifically indicating the One True God of Israel.