Gidon's Testing of Hashem


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Signs and Salvation

Gidon's initiation into leadership is described at length in Shofetim 6.1  The narrative is marked by Gidon's continuous requests for signs of Hashem's salvation.  Thus, after an angel tells him that Hashem will deliver Israel through his hands, Gidon asks for, and receives, verification.  However, this apparently does not satisfy him and after gathering his troops, Gidon once again asks for a sign:

(לו) וַיֹּאמֶר גִּדְעוֹן אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים אִם יֶשְׁךָ מוֹשִׁיעַ בְּיָדִי אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ. (לז) הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מַצִּיג אֶת גִּזַּת הַצֶּמֶר בַּגֹּרֶן אִם טַל יִהְיֶה עַל הַגִּזָּה לְבַדָּהּ וְעַל כׇּל הָאָרֶץ חֹרֶב וְיָדַעְתִּי כִּי תוֹשִׁיעַ בְּיָדִי אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ. (לח) וַיְהִי כֵן וַיַּשְׁכֵּם מִמׇּחֳרָת וַיָּזַר אֶת הַגִּזָּה וַיִּמֶץ טַל מִן הַגִּזָּה מְלוֹא הַסֵּפֶל מָיִם. (לט) וַיֹּאמֶר גִּדְעוֹן אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים אַל יִחַר אַפְּךָ בִּי וַאֲדַבְּרָה אַךְ הַפָּעַם אֲנַסֶּה נָּא רַק הַפַּעַם בַּגִּזָּה יְהִי נָא חֹרֶב אֶל הַגִּזָּה לְבַדָּהּ וְעַל כׇּל הָאָרֶץ יִהְיֶה טָּל.
(36) And Gideon said unto God: 'If Thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as Thou hast spoken, (37) behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor; if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the ground, then shall I know that Thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as Thou hast spoken.' (38) And it was so; for he rose up early on the morrow, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. (39) And Gideon said unto God: 'Let not Thine anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once: let me make trial, I pray Thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.'

Why did Gidon not trust in the angel's initial promise of salvation?  Was he of such little faith that he needed to test Hashem yet again?  And, finally, why did one experiment with the fleece not suffice?  What did the second test add?

Hashem's Prerequisites for Battle

In tandem with Gidon's requests for signs, Hashem also has some of His own prerequisites for going to battle:

Other Questions