Judges is a brutal read, no two ways about it. But amongst all the battles and bloodshed, I read this pearl yesterday. It’s a nice turn of phrase. Desk calendar worthy. “As is the man, so is his strength.” Or in today’s parlance: “Man up bro, and finish what you started.”
It’s quite the tale. In pursuit of the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, Gideon crushes their army, punishes and kills the men of Succoth for their lack of support, and pulls down the tower at Peniel for good measure. Gideon finally finds and confronts Zebah and Zalmunna, and asks them, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?” They answer, “Men like you, each one with the bearing of a prince.” (Not too shabby a compliment for someone who was the lowest son, in the lowest family, from the lowest tribe.) Gideon reveals, “Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother.” He then instructs his son, Jether, to kill the two kings. Jether doesn’t – he is only a boy and very afraid. Finally, Zebah and Zalmunna taunt Gideon saying, “Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.’” So he does. (v.18-21)
I have been thinking about this off and on since yesterday. Partly because it’s a great line, but also because it’s about – I think – character and integrity. Following through. Growing up. Taking responsibility. Or I could be completely off the mark, and this is actually a story about succumbing to peer pressure. No matter. It’s still a great line.
As is the man, so is his strength.
As is the woman, so is her strength.