Judges vi: Pleading for mercy

Israelites hid in the caves in the mountains with little to eat as the Midianites destroyed their herds (camels not cows, remembering this is the desert), flocks (sheep) and crops, and  they cried to the Lord Jehovah and asked for deliverance and mercy.

Times are so bad that even when processing the wheat, one has to be quiet about doing it, so that the Midianites do not notice and seize the food. (The Voice, 6:11)

Jehovah listened.  Then he sent down his angel who took human form to remind them that this was their own doing,.  These appearances are called Theophanies, or manifestations of the Lord himself through a temporary guise, so that people could look upon them, receive his word but not die.

The last part is important because Jehovah makes it clear to Moses that he should not look directly upon him, and instead has Moses focus on a burning bush.  The reason Jevohah gives is clear enough, is contrasts with the burning bush and Moses  where the Lord took the manifestation of the bush, here he takes the guise of a mortal through his messengers i.e. angels for the same reason: his visage is too overpowering for us to gaze upon and so  are for our sakes shielded from it. (Exodus 3:2)

It is also here, that the Lord promises the Israelites that he will deliver them to the land of “milk and honey” where currently the Amorites and other tribes now rule.

8  I have come to rescue them from the oppression of the Egyptians, to lead them from that land where they are slaves and to give them a good land—a wide, open space flowing with milk and honey.

The land is currently inhabited by Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

9 The plea of Israel’s children has come before Me, and I have observed the cruel treatment they have suffered by Egyptian hands.

10 So go. I’m sending you back to Egypt as My messenger to the Pharaoh. I want you to gather My people—the children of Israel—and bring them out of Egypt (The Voice, Exodus 3:8-10)

map of Ophra

The messenger is  called Ophrah,  because that is where he shows up:  in Oprah which belonged to the tribe of Benjamin.  He is found sitting  under an oak tree that belongs to Joash the Abiezrite (6:10) who is Gideon’s father. See the circle of bright green on the map for how it is situated.

While there, Ophrah listens and reminds the Israelites of their past;  most notably  Joshua 24:15-18 where the Amorites had been vanquished  and they made promises that they would not keep:

People of Israel(responding): 16 Nothing could be further from our minds than abandoning the Eternal to serve other gods.

17 We know that the Eternal One our God rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. We remember that He performed all those great signs in front of us. He protected us from the people we passed as we traveled.

18 And we know that He removed the Amorites and all the peoples who lived in Canaan. We, too, will serve the Eternal One, for He is our True God.(The Voice, Joshua 24:15-18)

Then  Ophrah the angel  spells out very clearly their disobedience.

0 But I said to you, ‘I am the Eternal One, your True God, and you must not worship the gods of the Amorites, those people in whose land you settle.’ And you have not listened to Me.”

They fall quiet heavily rebuked.  The angel turns to more important business; that of finding a leader to rescue them.

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