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Strange Texts but Grand Truths (1 of 17)
A Common Epitaph
Clarence E. Macartney
An old saying has it, "Count no man happy until the
end." This certainly was true in the case of Gideon.
His bright day had set in darkness and in gloom. The
hero of the grand victory over the host of the
Midianites had fallen a victim to the glory of that
victory. Out of the golden earrings, pendants, chains,
wristlets, and anklets taken from the fallen foe,
Gideon made an ephod which was worshiped by Israel as
an idol. Thus the man who commenced his great career
by hewing down the idols of Baal and overthrowing
their altars concluded his history by leading Israel
astray. And the ephod was set up, the sacred
chronicler tells us, "even in Ophrah." Where was
Ophrah? It was beneath the oak of Ophrah that Gideon
was visited by the angel of the Lord. There he
received the sign of the fleece which was wet with dew
when the ground was dry; and there he built his
altar to the Lord. "Even at Ophrah," the place of
early consecration and devotion. That tells the story
of many a man's decline and fall. But whatever his
mistakes toward the close of his life, Gideon at first
did not succumb to the lure of fame and hero worship.
When the people sought to crown him as king, he
declined to accept the crown, saying that neither he
nor his son should rule over them, but that the Lord
was to be their king.
The End of Abimelech
When the funeral was over, the family quarrels
commenced. Gideon had numerous sons by his wives and
concubines. One of these sons, Abimelech, was a base
man, contemptible, lawless, and hard; yet not without
ambition. His being the son of a concubine shut him
out from a chance for the throne, should Israel decide
to have a king. Abimelech therefore went among his
mother's friends at Shechem and persuaded them to
assist him in the slaughter of the seventy sons of
Gideon on one stone at Ophr ...
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