Gideon’s family was huge. From what was recorded in the book of Judges, it seems that he had 72 sons (Judges 8:30, 9:24). Obviously Gideon had more than one wife. He had many Abimelech was one of his sons from a maidservant concubine. He was very ambitious and when Gideon died, he was determined in his mind to become king. Gideon had refused the kingship because he believed that it was God that was their ultimate authority. Abimelech killed all of Gideon’s sons except Jotham (Gideon’s youngest) who escaped, in order to claim the title of king.
Raising 2 or 3 kids is a challenge. I can imagine 72+ (I’m sure there were some girls born too) children with several wives incurred tremendous pressure and problems. Polygamous marriages started with Lamech, one of Cain’s sons. (Genesis 4:19). It became common. Even some great men like Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon had multiple wives which became problematic for all of them.
I read somewhere that God looked past polygamy in the Old Testament so that the world would be populated. The definition of marriage was set from the beginning! God heart for marriage is recorded in Genesis 2:24:
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24
It is pretty clear and simple. God is love and there is no dark side to him at all. He wants the best for his people and he designed life in the richest and fullest way so that problems would be minimal. He also gave mankind free-will choice. Man can accept or reject God’s abundance. It is a choice.
When man goes his own way, it is not God’s fault; it is man’s problem. When things don’t work out well, no one can blame God. He has provided. It is man that walks away from abundance when he thumbs his nose at the gifts and blessings of God.
God is not some old crank control-freak. If somehow that idea has creeped into your thinking it is important to get to know God the way he really is. You can’t love and trust someone that you don’t know. The Word of God is the best way to do that. It is great to just read through the various records and ask God to show you what you need to know to build a relationship with the Father and his son. We can get robbed of the relationship privilege, if we constantly lean on others to keep us in the loop.
The book of Judges is full of human drama and the Hebrews were constantly going through up and down cycles between belief and unbelief. Human nature is in full view in it’s records. It is much like human nature today. It is a daily, hourly, minute by minute walk. God responded when they came back to him. He helped them get out of the situations they got into when they honestly humbled themselves and asked for help. God still does the same today!