The miracle of the woollen fleece

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The miracle of the woollen fleece
In the foreground we see a kneeling Gideon wringing the woollen fleece; the water coming out of it is enough to fill a dish. He is watched by astonished warriors who discuss the miracle amongst themselves, since during the night the fleece had become drenched with dew while all the ground surrounding it remained dry. The border is the same as in the other pieces of the series, and in the lower right-hand selvage we can make out the monogram of Frans Geubels.

The Israelites gather for battle

Faced with the danger of invasion by the Midianites and Amalekites, who, together with other eastern peoples, were attempting to conquer the land of the Israelites, Gideon received an order from God, who is depicted in the tapestry by his name in Hebrew on a cloud, to take charge of the army. Blowing his trumpet, he gathered his own men and the Abiezrites, and sent envoys through Manasseh, and to the tribes of Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali (Judges 6, 33-35). They replied to his call, as depicted in the tapestry through the different groups of warriors and tents, each indicating a different tribe, all arranged in an environment of lush vegetation.


The chosen one

Gideon fulfilled his order to gather together the people of Israel. But they did not believe Gideon to be the person who would lead them to victory. The warrior himself asked God to prove that he was the chosen one, and placed “a woollen fleece on the fleshing floor: if there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand” (Judges 6, 36-40). This was what happened and what is depicted in the foreground of the tapestry: Gideon wrings the woollen fleece and water falls abundantly from it, while the ground remained completely dry. Thus he knew that God was with him, and the chiefs of the tribes knew too. Astonished by this miracle, they admit that they must accept Gideon as their leader in battle.


Series Story of Gideon

Third tapestry in the series

Model Attributed to Maerten van Heemskerck

Manufacture Frans Geubels, Brussels, third quarter of the sixteenth century

Fabric Silk and wool

Size 371 x 403 cm

Location Diocesan Museum of the Cathedral of Albarracín (Teruel)

Origin Bequest of Bishop Vicente Roca de la Serna. In the cathedral since 1608



MAZ



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