Made an ephod thereof; not of all of it, for then it would have been too heavy for use; but of part of it, the rest being probably employed about other things agreeable and appertaining to it; which elsewhere are comprehended under the name of the ephod, as Jud_17:5 18:14,18 Ho 3:4.
Put it in his city; not as a monument of the victory, for such monuments were neither proper nor usual; but for religious use, for which alone the ephod was appointed. The case seems to be this, Gideon having by God’s command erected an altar in his own city, Ophrah, Jud_6:26, for an extraordinary time and occasion, thought it might be continued for ordinary use; and therefore as he intended to procure priests, so he designed to make priestly garments, and especially an ephod, which was the chief and most costly; which besides its use in sacred ministrations, was also the instrument by which the mind of God was inquired and discovered, 1Sa_23:6,9 30:7, which might seem necessary for the judge to have at hand, that he might consult with God upon all occasions.
All Israel went thither a whoring after it; committing superstition or idolatry with it; or going thither to inquire the will of God; whereby they were drawn from the true ephod, instituted by God for this end, which was to be worn by the high priest only.
A snare; an occasion of sin and ruin to him and his, as the next chapter showeth. 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 seems to be many sins in it.
1. Superstition and willworship, worshipping God by a device of his own, which was frequently and expressly forbidden.
2. Presumption, in wearing, or causing other priests to wear, this kind of ephod, which was peculiar to the high priest.
3. Transgression of a plain command, of worshipping God ordinarily but at one place, and one altar, Deu_12:5,11,14, and withdrawing people from that place to his.
4. Making a fearful schism or division among the people.
5. Laying a stumbling-block, or an occasion of superstition or idolatry, before that people, whom he knew to be too prone to it.