What does Judges 6:13 mean?
ESV: And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
NIV: Pardon me, my lord,' Gideon replied, 'but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."
NASB: Then Gideon said to him, 'O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did the Lord not bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.'
CSB: Gideon said to him, "Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about? They said, 'Hasn't the Lord brought us out of Egypt? ' But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian."
NLT: Sir,' Gideon replied, 'if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.'
KJV: And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
NKJV: Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Verse Commentary:
The Angel of the Lord has appeared to Gideon as he is working in secret. Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress to avoid detection by invading marauders (Judges 6: 1–11). This stranger, who likely did not look like an angel, has greeted Gideon by describing him as a powerful warrior (Judges 6:12). Such praise is ironic for a timid man (Judges 6:17, 27, 36–40), hiding his food from potential enemies. Yet the phrase Gideon responds to is the first part of the Angel's greeting: that the Lord God was with him.

The idea that Yahweh was with anyone in Israel conflicted with the circumstances of Gideon's everyday life. The nation had been "brought low:" humiliated and beaten down by foreign enemies. People were hungry and scared for the future. They had no hope of stopping the Midianites from taking everything from them, year after year. Gideon carries this idea beyond himself to apply to all of Israel, asking a bold question: if the Lord is with Israel, why has all this happened to us? Where is the miraculous rescue the Lord performed when bringing us out of Egypt, as our ancestors described in their stories?

It's important to note that Gideon acknowledges his generation had heard the stories of Yahweh's goodness and power (Exodus 3:20; 12:51). They had been taught the truth of their history. That knowledge had not been enough to keep them from turning to the depraved, evil gods of their neighbors in Canaan (Judges 2:11–19). Israel's current predicament is part of a repeating pattern of faithlessness (Judges 6:1).

Gideon concludes with a bitterly phrased statement which is still mostly correct: that God had "forsaken" the people into subjection under Midian. Gideon was probably not the only person in Israel who understood that their own sin had caused the Lord to turn them over to Midian. The people have finally cried out to the Lord for rescue. Gideon's attitude seems to doubt God will send such help.
Verse Context:
Judges 6:11–27 begins in a town called Ophrah. There, the Angel of the Lord appears to a man named Gideon. The Lord calls Gideon mighty, despite his apparent lack of influence or power, and commands him to save Israel from Midian. After a display of power, God commands Gideon to tear down the town's altars to false idols, replacing them with an altar to Yahweh complete with a sacrifice of his father's bull. Gideon does so under the cover of darkness out of fear of his family and the townspeople.
Chapter Summary:
Israel follows the sad pattern of the book of Judges, and once again turns to evil and idols. God turns them over to the Midianites. These foreign raiders spend the next seven years invading and consuming Israel's crops and livestock. Israel cries for help to the Lord. His first step is to send a prophet to remind them of God's goodness and their disobedience. The Lord then appears to Gideon, commanding him to save Israel because God will be with him. Gideon obeys God's command to tear down a Baal altar and build one to Yahweh in its place. He calls his countrymen to follow him and asks for signs from God.
Chapter Context:
The book of Judges contains a series of stories with a common theme: Israel falls into sin, suffers, and is rescued by God, only to fall once again (Judges 1—2). The next phase in Israel's downward spiral comes after 40 years of peace, won by Deborah and Barak (Judges 4—5). Israel is punished for sin through the Midianites. After seven years, the Israelites cry out for help. The Lord appears to Gideon, challenging the timid man to lead the battle against Israel's oppressors. Empowered by the Spirit, Gideon calls for his people to follow him, but still asks the Lord for signs. Gideon's successful campaigns are depicted in chapters 7 and 8.
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
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