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Gideon is a character who reappears in Hold Steady songs. Hold Steady lyrics frequently refer to the Bible, music, and drugs, sometimes all at once. In this case, Gideon is a name taken from the Book of Judges. According to that source, Gideon was a judge, who as a young man was chosen by God to stop the Israelites from worshiping false gods.


The first is that Gideon, despite his destructive nature, is reading and learning from the bible (which, in light of his later awareness of the plagues and the imaginative connections he makes to contempory life, is not altogether unthinkable). This in turn might start a road to improvement from his current lifestyle.

“Up till then I only knew it was a movement of the people

This is a reference to the song “Exodus” by Bob Marley, which up to this point, is Gideon’s only point of reference for the meaning of the word “exodus”. Exodus is also the name of the book of the bible in which Moses brings plagues to Egypt in order to free the Jewish people from Pharaonic rule. These are the very same plagues that are mentioned elsewhere in the song. This line is a clever play on words and references that acts as a humorous way to illuminate Gideon’s character and background (an association with underground music, culture, and [very likely] drugs) while also showing that he has been reading the bible and connecting the material with his own modern life, which is a major theme of the song as a whole.