Names of Yehovah: Yehovah Shalom
The expression Jehovah Shalom is normally rendered, The LORD send peace. This is not a correct rendering, and the concept of peace is also normally not understood. This section will examine some aspects of this name-title.
The text is given literally rendered:
Judges 6:1 And the children of Israel did the bad in the eyes of Yehovah. And Yehovah gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2And the hand of Midian prevailed over Israel. The children of Israel made them the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strong holds from the faces of Midian. 3And it was, when Israel had sown. And Midian ascended, and Amalek, and the children of the east. And they ascended upon them. 4And they encamped against them. And they destroyed the increase of the land until thou come unto Gaza. And there remained no sustenance in Israel–neither sheep nor ox nor ass. 5For they and their cattle will ascend, and their tents. And they will come as grasshoppers for multitude. And there is no number to them and their camels. And they came into the land to destroy her. 6And Israel was greatly impoverished from the faces of Midian.
And the children of Israel screamed unto Yehovah. 7And it was when the children of Israel screamed unto Yehovah concerning the circumstances of Midian. 8And Yehovah sent a prophet man unto the children of Israel. And he said to them, “So said Yehovah Gods of Israel, ‘I, I caused you to ascend from Egypt. And I brought you out from the house of slaves. 9And I delivered you from the hand of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. And I drove them from before your faces. And I gave their land to you. 10And I said to you, “I am Yehovah your Gods. Fear ye not the gods of the Amorite in whose land ye are dwelling.” And ye have not hearkened into my voice!’”
11And the Angel Yehovah came. And He sat under the oak that is in Ophrah which is to Joash of My-Father-Is-My-Helper. And his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress to hide from the faces of Midian. 12And the Angel Yehovah appeared unto him. And He said unto him, “Yehovah is with thee, mighty man of valour!” 13And Gideon said unto him, “With me is my Lords? And there is Yehovah with us? And why has all this found us? And where are all His miracles that our fathers recounted to us saying, ‘Did not Yehovah make us ascend from Egypt?’ And now Yehovah has cast us. And He has given us into the palm [of the hand] of Midian!”
14And Yehovah turned unto him. And He said, “Go in this thy strength. And thou shalt save Israel from the palm of Midian. Haven’t I sent thee?” 15And he said unto Him, “With me is my Lords? Via what shall I save Israel? Behold, my thousand is the poor in Manasseh. And I am the least in the house of my father.” 16And Yehovah said unto him, “Because I will be with thee. And thou shalt smite Midian as one man!” 17And he said unto Him, “If, na, I have found favour in thine eyes, and thou shalt do for me a sign that thou art speaking with me! 18Do not, na, withdraw from this until my coming unto thee. And I will bring my resting. And I will rest [it] to thy faces.” And He said, “I, I will sit until thy return.”
19And Gideon came. And he made a goat-kid and an ephah of flour matzahs. He put the flesh in a basket. And he put the broth in a pot. And he brought [it] out unto Him under the oak. And he approached.
20And the Angel of the Gods said unto him, “Take the flesh and the Matzahs. And rest [them] unto this rock. And pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21And the Angel Yehovah sent the end of the staff that is in His hand. And He touched into the flesh and into the matzahs. And the fire ascended from the rock and ate the flesh and the matzahs. And the Angel Yehovah walked from his eyes. 22And Gideon saw that He is the Angel Yehovah.
And Gideon said, “Aha, my Lords Yehovah! For therefore I have seen the Angel Yehovah faces unto faces!” 23And Yehovah said to him, “Peace to thee. Fear not. Thou shalt not die.” 24And Gideon built an altar there to Yehovah. And he called to him Yehovah-Is-Shalom-Unto-This-Day. It is yet in Ophrah of My-Father-Is-My-Helper.
It is imperative to understand what took place in order to understand the name Gideon gave to the altar. I will point out some things from the Hebrew text. (Incidentally, the Hebrew particle, na, isn’t translated; its purpose is to soften the sharpness of a communication in order to show that no demand and no anger is part of the communication.)
Yehovah sent a prophet to Israel (verse 8). He did not send the prophet to tell the Israelis what to do, but to explain to them why He was so angry with them. Yehovah reminded Israel of what He had done in the past. The offense of the Israelis was in their fearing the gods of the Amorite. There is only One God Who alone is to be feared by Israel: Yehovah. Yehovah is jealous if Israel fears any other god in front of His faces. Since He has no backside, He sees every action of every Israeli (and everyone else).
Verse 11 introduces the Angel Yehovah. The Hebrew is , which can mean “an angel of Yehovah” or “the angel of Yehovah,” but more often means “Angel Yehovah,” referring to Yehovah Himself as His own messenger (as it does in this case). His appearance was not extraordinary, but His behaviour was; He came and sat. He then appeared to Gideon, because Gideon didn’t see His arrival. He then called to Gideon who was in the winepress.
Yehovah does not exaggerate or lie. When He stated, “Yehovah is with thee, mighty man of valour,” it was the Truth.
Gideon’s quick reply was, “There is Yehovah with us?” “Where are all His miracles?” Gideon was not pleased with Yehovah’s silence, and he made it clear to the stranger. He knew that Yehovah had given the Israelis into the palm of Midian.
The text states that Yehovah turned to him. He had been speaking to him, but the eye contact had not been there. Now Yehovah addressed him directly with commands, ending with the question, “Have not I sent thee?”
Gideon didn’t miss a beat: “My Lords is with me? Via what shall I save Israel?” This man was behaving in a most appropriate and business-like fashion with the King of Glory. Yehovah knew him and chose him for such reasons.
When Yehovah answered His questions with the statement, “Because I will be with thee,” He was saying much more than merely, “I will accompany thee.” The expression, “I will be,” is the Name by which Yehovah identified Himself when Moshe asked Him what Name to announce to the Israelis who were slaves in Egypt. Yehovah’s reply to Gideon could have been rendered, “Because I-Will-Be is with thee!” With Yehovah being with him, Gideon could now smite Midian as if Midian were one man!
Gideon was not foolish. He wanted a sign (that couldn’t be feigned by forces of evil) that Yehovah Himself was speaking with him. Yehovah is always willing to do what is necessary to identify the Truth to one who desires to know the Truth. Gideon’s sign was not a demonstration of a lack of faith; the request for the sign was given by faith. Yehovah honoured it.
Throughout the entire conversation, Yehovah had remained sitting—or if He stood, there is no text indicating this.
The preparation for battle must have taken some hours.
The differing identifications of Yehovah are very important in these passages. Verse 20 introduces the title “the Angel of the Gods” (). The word angel means messenger, and it always has this designation. A human can as easily be called a messenger as an angelic being or Yehovah. Since the word Gods refers to the True and Living God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob when used this way, He is all the Gods there are, and any other god is false. He is the God of the field, the God of creation, the God of power, the God of the oceans, the God of war, the God of peace. Israel too often feared false gods. This text shows the Messenger of the True Gods appearing to Gideon.
The Messiah, Who Himself was born flesh, and was and is the bread of life (literally, of the lives), was also the Rock that produced the waters of lives. He voluntarily gave Himself to be the sacrifice. The Angel Yehovah showed this to Gideon in a type. He then walked away from Gideon as Gideon watched as if he were portraying the resurrection. Gideon knew that He is the Angel Yehovah by this.
Gideon then became struck with terror. He knew that no one could see Yehovah faces to faces and live (though he was theologically wrong), and here was Messenger Yehovah faces to faces with him! Yehovah spoke to him one more time, declaring that peace was his. He was not to fear what he had experienced; he wouldn’t die.
Gideon responded by building an altar to Yehovah. He named the altar according to what he realized: “Yehovah is Shalom unto this day.” He already knew that Yehovah had been Israel’s peace in times past and for the fathers. He now saw that Yehovah continued to be Israel’s peace unto this day. (He will be Israel’s peace at the very end of the Tribulation.)
The word peace has a number of different connotations. It is not merely a lack of war. The word indicates a debtless relationship or the payment of a debt; the completion of an agreed transaction; no outstanding disagreements; vengeance for a crime. (There is no peace when a crime goes unavenged.)