So the Law of the land of Israel was suffering under Dyarchy.
A system where the local Israeli Government was in charge of paying the Indemnity Amount to the Midianite Overlords, on a regular basis, and that local government was held accountable by the Midianite Overlords, rather a Superior body, which unofficially or even formally ‘advised’ the Israeli Government.
All this happened in those seven years prior to when we find Gideon, who in the cover of darkness, in his own lands was threshing wheat, the produce of his own fields, full of apprehension in his heart that if the Overlords knew it, they would have him decimated. If the ‘agents’ of the Midianites were to catch him engaging in production of wheat, in his own land, out of his own labour, based on his own Capital, even those agents, like Joseph Caiaphas, would, to appease the Midianite Overlords, catch him and hang him!
It is in this scenario that Gideon was threshing wheat in his own fields, with his own efforts, employing his own skills, using his own capital.
This effort was, over and above his share of the effort required of Gideon to pay the taxes appropriated by the Puppet Israeli Government, set up with the consent of the Midianites, to defray the cost incurred towards payment of the indemnity. No progressive work could have been undertaken in the land of Israel. All the resources were getting diverted to the Midianites. The roads that were to be maintained in Israel were getting maintained in the land of the Midianites; the houses which were to be built in the land of the Israelites were getting built in the land of the Midianites, the vineyards that were to be planted in Israel were getting planted in the lands of the Midianites; the smithies which were to be forging weapons were built and fully functioning in the land of the Midianites; and the Midianites were NOT PAYING FOR IT. It was from the indemnity appropriated from Israel, that all the development in the land of Midian was happening !
This lasted for seven long years.
It takes that long for man to realise that not only his labour is being appropriated, but also the OUTPUT OF HIS LIBERTY is being appropriated.
Let me clarify this point further. Jacob went to the land of his mother Rebecca and met her brother Laban. Many things happened, Laban offers his daughter Rachel to Jacob and Laban strikes a deal with Jacob and obtained the labour of Jacob for seven years. But what Jacob did was more than his duty of one third of the day, tending to the sheep of Laban. The sheep was that of Laban’s, that’s the Capital; labour was that of Jacob’s; and the Lands were that which were the grazing fields not owned by any particular person but held in common. Jacob’s contribution was not limited to his Duty, but he tended to the sheep, in such a manner that he put in extra effort not only to get the brindled or spotted ones or the plain ones, but ensured that the numbers of the whole flock went up. This is evidenced, when Laban said that God had blessed Laban because of Jacob. Laban’s idea of blessing was limited to the increase of his flock. Laban’s sons were living in the cushion of ENTITLEMENT, they were the owners of the flock. They neither understood that the numbers of sheep was multiplying – not merely because it was there, but that someone was tending to it and hoping that the flock grew in numbers, by feeding them appropriately, ensuring that the ewes gave birth in time, the rams were in the right proportion to the ewes, bartering the rams for ewes, protecting them etc. Jacob’s only wages was the share promised by Laban. Jacob’s Liberty was also focused on the growth of his father-in-law; Jacob’s Liberty was paying for the good-life of his jealous brothers-in-law!
When Laban changed the wages of Jacob many times, Laban’s change was based on the count of the sheep. It was nothing but skimming out the rewards of the Liberty of Jacob.
Another example is, what the Pharaoh did to the Israelites in the land of Egypt. The Jews in Egypt were doing their job of producing the tale of bricks but the necessary straw was provided by another section. When Moses met Pharaoh and demanded that his people be allowed to go to the wilderness, to offer sacrifice to Jehovah, the Pharaoh attacked the Liberty of the enslaved Jews. Till then, the Pharaoh was extracting labour, but after the demand of Moses, the Pharaoh went after the Liberty of the enslaved Jews. The Pharaoh told the Jews that straw would not be supplied and the enslaved Jews themselves had to gather the straw but the tale of bricks determined earlier shall not diminish and be delivered to the Pharaoh’s overseers. The only way this could be met is by taking up the leisure time of the enslaved Jews.
I have been using the word “ENSLAVED”, for the simple reason that it is no more to be considered a person’s fault to have been a slave, because another human being, with temporal power and the laws made thereby; is, was and had never been designed for one human being to enslave another. And if someone had approved of it at any time, either in history or at present or in future, can never be considered a HUMANIST. If a human being could bring himself to degrade another human being, made in the image of God, he is not a believer in God. He is a brute who wants to deny the Liberty of another human being, and appropriate his labour and skills by force! Period.
What is appropriation of another man’s labour and skills? If fair wages is not paid, then that is appropriation of the man’s labour. If his skills or his leisure hours are not paid for, as per his determined rates, then that is appropriation of another man’s LIBERTY.
Enslaving is inhuman, being enslaved is not necessarily an individual’s choice and mostly it is a byproduct of oppression inflicted to extract labour by the empowered, and sustained through an impersonalised system designed to enslave other human beings on one ideology or the other.
In such a disenfranchised state, deprived of their revenues, deprived of their Liberty, the Israelites were languishing under the permanent yoke of the Midianites and the recurring forays of the same Overlords, pillaging them from time to time.
In these circumstances, arises the courage of a man and the man was Gideon. He may not be rescuing a people who had been in bondage for for centuries like Moses, but within the same generation, in the last seven years, his people had been enslaved and had degenerated to such an extent that an altar of Baal had been erected by Gideon’s father Joash, in his own land for public worship. The Midianites had not only deprived the Israelites of their Life & Liberty, but had forced their gods like Baal on the Israelites.
When my God is MADE TO REPLACE YOUR GOD, the subjugation is complete. Because, my god’s priests would become the eventual arbiters of not only what is right and wrong, but even what is a fact and what is not!
Thus the Israelites had been subdued by the overwhelming power of the Midianites, Amalekites and the children of the East.
Gideon firstly REBELS in his mind.
Secondly, he FLOUTS their Rules.
Thirdly, Gideon PRODUCES in the dark.
Thereafter, he gets the ASSURANCE FROM GOD.
Fifthly, he SACRIFICES.
Sixthly, Gideon erects his own God and destroys the altar of Baal, and finally
Gideon informs his sub-tribe, his tribe Manasseh, other three tribes of Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali of his plans to fight the Midianites and the children of the East.
With all these happenings, Gideon attains victory. A victory so great that even the tribe of Ephraim joins the plunder towards the end and Gideon becomes the Judge of Israel.
Was Gideon justified in threshing against the Midianite Rules, supported by a quisling government of Israel?
Yes, when it is your own land, labour and capital, if an outsider for any reason steals your Liberty, it is time to assert your individuality.
Gideon did and his rebellion was sanctified by God.