Gideon: Longing for a Perfect Leader


This is the final article in a series retelling the events of Gideon in the Old Testament book of Judges. This fifth article is based on Judges 8:24-35. You can read the whole series here.


I cough into the blankets that cover my frail body.

There’s a spread of concerned tuts from the women nearby. I’m old. I’m dying. But I’m not afraid – it’s not fear that troubles me now. It’s regret.

After the victory against the Midianites, the people wanted to make me king. I can still hear their clamouring in my ears. But I couldn’t do it. God alone had given us victory; he was the only one we needed to rule us. The glory belonged to him.

My heart had been right then. But the decisions I made after haunt me every time I close my eyes.

Gold. So much gold after plundering the Midianites. As the leader, I deserved wealth, didn’t I?

At the time it only seemed right – I asked each soldier to give me a piece and I made it into a golden, sleeveless coat for people to worship and remember me by. Twenty kilograms of pure gold melted down and all of Israel bowed down before it.

And then came the power. Women loved me for it, so I married as many as I wanted. And had many, many children – seventy, to make sure my name would continue forever.

But now here I am – death is peering round the corner, and I can see Israel on the brink of worshipping other gods. I may have saved Israel from a Midianite regime, but have I really done any better?

I’ve failed to rescue Israel properly and failed to lead them God’s way.

I turn over in my bed, ignoring the screams from my weak bones, and I know something deep inside – God needs to send somebody better than me.

Israel needs somebody who won’t become corrupt. One who won’t only rescue the people from their enemies but who will transform their evil hearts.

Only then will Israel have peace forever.