What does Judges 8:29 mean?
ESV: Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house.
NIV: Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live.
NASB: Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house.
CSB: Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) son of Joash went back to live at his house.
NLT: Then Gideon son of Joash returned home.
KJV: And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.
NKJV: Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.
Verse Commentary:
In these verses, Gideon's story once again differs from the common pattern of the book of Judges. Instead of ending with the previous verse's report—forty years of peace while Gideon lived (Judges 8:28)—the writer adds a post-script. This uses the second name, or title, earned in Gideon's first act as God's deliverer: Jerubbaal. This name roughly means "let Baal contend with him," referring to Gideon's destruction of a pagan altar. Neighbors wanted to kill Gideon, but his father Joash told the townspeople to let Baal defend himself (Judges 6:31–32).

Gideon moves back to his hometown following the victory over the Midianites. He will live the rest of his life in apparent ease. But as soon as he dies, Israel will ignore his family (Judges 8:35).
Verse Context:
Judges 8:29–35 describes Gideon's enormous family after God's power defeated Midianite raiders. Wealthy and influential, Gideon takes many wives and has seventy sons. This includes one son by a Canaanite concubine. Unrestrained by a deliverer after Gideon's death, the people of Israel dive deeper into worshiping false idols. They abandon God and worship Baal-berith. They also stop caring for Gideon's family. This sudden change factors into the sordid events recorded in chapter 9.
Chapter Summary:
Gideon soothes the anger of the men of Ephraim. Then, with his 300 fighting men, he chases the remnant of the Midianite army. After a difficult pursuit, he finally catches and defeats them in the wilderness. Gideon then returns to two Israelite towns who refused to help him along the way. He flogs the leaders of one town and kills the men of the other. He then executes the captured enemy kings. Gideon collects tribute from Israel but declines to become their official king. He lives to gain seventy sons, many wives, and at least one Canaanite concubine. When Gideon dies, Israel immediately returns to idol worship.
Chapter Context:
Judges 8 follows the great victory described at the end of the previous chapter. This passage begins with Gideon awkwardly soothing the anger of Ephraimites while trying to chase down an escaping enemy. After capturing the Midianite kings, Gideon punishes two towns for failing to aid their fellow Israelites. Gideon refuses to become a literal king but collects tribute from the people and lives like a king all his days, with many wives and sons. The people return to idol worship after his death. Soon after, the concubine's son, Abimelech, murders Gideon's other sons and briefly rules before meeting a gruesome death.
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).
Accessed 7/23/2024 7:09:16 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.