The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament – Lȃbash

Labas or lȃbash; Strong’s #3847 He put on righteousness as his breastplate. ….. he put on garments of vengeance.  Isaiah 59: 17 (NIV)  The meaning of lȃbash is to put on garments or wrap up in something.  This verse, to me, is one of the “building stones” for the armor of the Spirit that is found in Ephesians 6.

Gideon – Judges 6:34

Amasai – 1 Chronicles 12: 18  He pledged his support to David in the form of a word of encouragement.  In this verse, Amasi is listed as the leader of the Thirty, but that name is not in the list of David’s Thirty.  It could be he had another name, or was in charge of David’s Thirty before or after the list in 2 Samuel 23: 24 was made.

Vine, in his dictionary, puts this “come upon” more along the line of being filled (as in living inside) with the Spirit, and thus helped the men (Gideon) from the inside out.  The way the Hebrew makes it sound is that the Spirit put Gideon on.  This thought may mess with your theology, but this is another level of relationship with the Spirit in the Old Testament.  Given what Gideon did and the amount of story that was written about him it must have been an impressive experience.

Midian – Enemy and Instrument

Midian – Enemy and Instrument

Midian was a son of Abraham by his third wife Keturah (Genesis 25).  His descendants played an important role in the Exodus story and into the Judges’ time period.   Some experts think that Midian was several groups of people and or a geographic area and not just a single nation.  They start their part in the story of Israel when Joseph’s brother sold him into Egypt (Genesis 37).  This is also where Moses fled when he ran away from Pharaoh; his wife, father-in-law, and children were Midianites.

In Numbers 22 the story of Moab and Midian working together to stop Israel by bringing in Balaam is told.  It seems that Balak, king of Moab, takes the lead and even in Numbers 25 it first mentions Moabite women as being the lure to get Israel to sin.  A Midianite woman is killed in verse 8 and it stops a plague; in verse 16 the Lord says to treat Midian as enemies and kill them because of the deception with the Baal of Peor.  In Numbers 31 Moses is to lead a campaign against them and then he will die.  It must have been quite an attack because many important people including kings and Balaam were killed.

A thought that should disturb the people of God is that sex was used as a weapon in the name of religion to defeat God’s people.  The devil crossed and confused the lines then and is still doing it today.

The other big reference to Midianites is with Gideon in Judges 6, 7, and 8.  This story also ends with the Midianites being beaten severely.    There are references in Psalm 83, Isaiah 9, and 10 that talk about how badly Midian was beaten.  They don’t say if it was Moses or Gideon but the context makes it sounds like the beatings were bad and that a similar beating was wished on the current enemy.

Living in the “now” of troubles and testing compared to analyzing them later will produce two very different views.  This is a “later” point of view; God used the Midianites to push Israel to a deeper walk and expose things that still they needed to deal with.  One example is the army killing the men and keeping the women who were the instrument that got them into trouble.  Even later the Israelites were still dealing with the troubles of Peor, possibly, the girl slaves and the children born from them.  Midianite DNA and mindset were spread into every tribe of Israel, including Levi.  Be careful what you choose to live with no matter how you got it.

Wisdom of Joash – Defending a god

Defending a god.

Joash is the father of Gideon (Judges 6:29 – 32).  His son, Gideon, had just tore down Baal’s alter and cut up the town’s Asherah pole and the townspeople were mad.  They wanted to defend Baal’s honor, who supposedly was a powerful god.  Joash replied to the cries for his son death by asking several questions (vs. 31) the most important one basically was “Are you trying to save your god?”  Josah then makes an inspired statement,”If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself.”

The people must have realized the wisdom in that statement because they eventually followed Gideon into battle and defeated the enemies of Israel.  It must have become apparent that the god they were defending would/could not punish Gideon.Gideon004 

Tribes of Israel – Gad and Asher

Zilpah and Her Boys

Zilpah is Leah’s slave and is not mentioned outside of Genesis. Even though she had children by Jacob you have to wonder if life really changed any for her because of the “marriage.” Like Bilhah she did not even name her children. (see comments under Bilhah)

Gad is Jacob’s seventh child and Zilpah’s first, his name means “good fortune.”

Deuteronomy 33: 20 About Gad he said:“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad’s domain! Gad lives there like a lion, tearing at arm or head. 21 He chose the best land for himself; the leader’s portion was kept for him. When the heads of the people assembled, he carried out the Lord’s righteous will, and his judgments concerning Israel.” (NIV)

Genesis 49:19 “Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels. (NIV)

Once again little is told about his life and his family became shepherds with lots of animals and settled on the east bank of the Jordan with Reuben and Manasseh. Those tribes seem to blend together and are called Gilead often in scripture. The Gadites produced warriors that “crossed the Jordan” with the half-tribe of Manasseh all the way to the time of David. With the other trans-Jordan tribes they built a large alter in order to announce their intentions of worshipping Jehovah.

Asher is Jacob’s eighth child and Zilpah’s second, his name means “happy.”

Deuteronomy 33: 24 About Asher he said: “Most blessed of sons is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil. 25 The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days. (NIV)

Genesis 49:20 “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king. (NIV)

This word from Jacob was fulfilled in their allotment because that area has some of the best olive trees and orchids in the land. The tribe helped Gideon but for the most part they are rather quite throughout Israel’s history. Anna the prophetess, in the book of Luke, that met Mary in the Temple is about it for notable tribe members.

Tribes of Israel – Issachar

Issachar is the fifth son of Leah and the ninth child of Jacob.

Deuteronomy 33: 18 About Zebulun he said: “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
and you, Issachar, in your tents.
Genesis 49:14 “Issachar is a rawboned (strong) donkey lying down among the sheep pens. 15 When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor. (NIV)

Like most of the other sons Issachar does not have a lot documented about his life. We know that he was involved in looting Shechem, selling Joseph and the trips to Egypt but that is about it for the story of his life. His family is also pretty quiet but he does have a few standouts in his linage and they are mentioned when all the tribes come together or are being assigned things to do by David or Solomon. They are included in some of the revivals in the latter part of Chronicles.

Tola, a judge mentioned in Judges 10:1+2 is from Issachar and Deborah includes them in her song in Judges 5:15.

Baasha, a king of the Northern Tribes (Israel) is found in 1 Kings 15:27 – 16:7; the NIV mentions that the name may mean “bad” and he lived down to the meaning as he killed the previous king and his entire family. (That seemed to be standard practice for the day.)

Issachar with Zebulun and Judah formed the leading edge of the Camp during the Exodus; in fact those three appear together many times. I feel it is because they are the three “blessed” sons of Leah. Reuben, Simeon and Levi all incurred Jacob’s wrath during his lifetime. I also feel that they were the “true” children of a wife instead of a concubine. (Judah was not a poster child for good as he starts the selling of Joseph and had the trouble with his daughter-in-law.)

He and Zebulun are often mentioned together and were allotted land next to each other after the conquest. But like most of the Northern Tribes they go into Exile under the Assyrians and you loose track of them after that.

Another Issachar connection has to do with Gideon.  He was in Ophrah that was actually in the land of Issachar.  Several sources I have read refer to Manasseh mingling with both Issachar and Zebulun; a map in my Holman Bible puts much of his story in those lands.

Map from and