8:20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, "Kill them!" But Jether did not draw his sword, for he was only a boy and was afraid. Could there be a better display of Gideon's fleshly character sneaking to the surface displaying his view of himself? This is his "default" mode as the weakest in Israel.
8:31 His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. The name Abimelech means "My father, a king"; Gideon intended that his son would take a leadership role in Israel after Gideon himself was gone (Guzik).
It appears that Gideon slipped into a less than godly life toward the end. You can see this by many of his choices-the ephod that became a snare, and his many wives. David Guzik says this about him:
Through his career, we see Gideon as a man who slipped from great heights of faith, to a place of outright apostasy and rebellion against God. What killed Gideon (or what killed his faith) was success, riches, and prominence. It isn't enough for us to begin well with God; we must continue on throughout our whole Christian life. Gideon, in his later years, could only look back on his great deeds for God, for they were all in the past.
"Perhaps it is easier to honor God in some courageous action in the limelight of a time of national emergency than it is to honor Him consistently in the ordinary, everyday life, which requires a different kind of courage." (Cundall)
9:18 But now you have revolted against my father and his descendants, killing his seventy sons on one stone. And you have chosen his slave woman's son, Abimelech, to be your king just because he is your relative. I think this could possibly be an anti-Christ type. The slave woman could represent Hagar (Abraham's servant and the mother of Ishmael). Remember that both Ishmael and Esau represent the line of the anti-Christ (both Israel's physical and spiritual enemies) that would fight against Israel (Jacob) until the showdown at the end of this age. This shows a rejection of the true sons of Israel being killed "on one stone."
23:50-51 Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. This verse shows that Joseph was waiting for the Kingdom, and he believed Jesus was that Kingdom. He was one of the few on the Jewish council who "saw" Jesus.
For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes – so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. Matthew 13:15-16
23:54 This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. We have covered that I believe this was not Friday, but preparation for the special Sabbath that always follows Passover, called a "high Sabbath." I believe it was a Wednesday. You can see that NLT took the liberty to say "Friday" since the NASB reads: "It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin." No mention of Friday!
Here is a hint about this. Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. John 19:31 Notice that it is distinguished as a high Sabbath and not a regular Sabbath. Now a high Sabbath can fall on a regular Sabbath, but remember that Jesus had to be in the grave 3 days AND 3 nights, because of the "sign of Jonah."
Questions for reflection:
We have said it many times: it's not how you start; it's how you finish! How can you stay strong to the finish? What safeguards need to be put in place to keep your devotion to God pure and undefiled? It seems that idols, pleasure, and pride are a few of the more prominent snares that pull people's hearts away. What can you do to safeguard against those?