Judges 8:27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

What is the meaning of a snare to Gideon and his family?

1 Answer 1


The operative word is מוֹקֵשׁ (moqesh) whose meaning according to BDB I have listed below.

Throughout their OT history, the Israelites (as with moderns as well) struggled with idolatry - they wanted immediate and present gods in contrast to the invisible true God of YHWH. The case of Gideon's ephod is just another in the long line of such cases.

The attraction, or "snare" of such man-made gods is that they impose very little or only requirements that are convenient, rather than the call to true holiness (Ex 19:5, 6, 1 Peter 2:9-12) required by God which involves a change of heart.

The fact that this false worship is often (as here) called "prostitution" is significant because these false gods were often associated with pagan sexual rituals. The very first such recorded in association with the Golden calf in Ex 32 is another example.

In this case, Gideon's ephod effectively set up a false priesthood to imitate the true priests that wore an ephod. benson suggests:

Which thing became a snare — An occasion of sin and ruin to him and his as the next chapter shows. Though Gideon was a good man, and did this with an honest mind, and a desire to set up religion in his own city and family, yet here seem to be many sins in it: 1st, Superstition and will- worship, worshipping God by a device of his own, which was expressly forbidden: 2d, Presumption, in wearing, or causing other priests to wear this kind of ephod, which was peculiar to the high-priest: 3d, Transgression of a plain command, of worshipping God ordinarily but at one place and one altar, Deuteronomy 12:5; Deuteronomy 12:11-14.

APPENDIX: BDB entry for מוֹקֵשׁ

מוֺקֵשׁ noun masculine Proverbs 12:13 properly a bait or lure in a fowler's net; then figurative snare — absolute מוֺקֵשׁ Exodus 10:7 15t.; construct Proverbs 18:7; Proverbs 20:25; plural מוֺקְשִׁים Psalm 64:6; Job 40:24; מֹקְשִׁים Psalm 140:6; construct מוֺקְשֵי Psalm 18:6 3t.; מֹקְשֵׁי 2 Samuel 22:6; f. מֹקְשׁוֺת Psalm 141:9; bait or lure, in a net for birds Amos 3:5; will not pierce nostril of hippopotamus Job 40:24; elsewhere figurative of what allures and entraps any one to disaster or ruin; Moses a snare to Egyptians Exodus 10:7 (J); מוֺקְשֵׁי עָם Job 34:30, of men who are the ruin of their people; idols and idol-worship a pernicious lure to Israel Exodus 23:33 (JE), Deuteronomy 7:16; Judges 2:3; Judges 8:27; Psalm 106:36; so alliances with Canaanites Exodus 34:12 (JE), Joshua 23:13 (D); Michal, to David 1 Samuel 18:21; of ׳י as cause of ruin to evildoers Isaiah 8:14; of plots of wicked Psalm 64:6; Psalm 140:6 (verb שִׁית; "" מַּח, חֲבָלִים, רֶשֶׁת), Psalm 141:9 ("" מַּח); a lure or snare for wicked in their transgressions Proverbs 29:6; Psalm 69:23 ("" מַּח); consisting in transgressions of lips Proverbs 12:13, compare Proverbs 18:7; Proverbs 20:25; in wrathfulness Proverbs 22:25; in fear of man Proverbs 29:25; מָוֶת ׳מ Psalm 18:6 = 2 Samuel 22:6 ("" חֶבְלֵי שְׁאוֺל), Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 14:27.

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