Midian Oppresses Israel
6 kThe people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of lMidian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and mthe caves and the strongholds. 3 For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and nthe Amalekites and othe people of the East would come up against them. 4 They would encamp against them pand devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come qlike locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel rcried out for help to the Lord.
7 When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: sI led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and tdrove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; uyou shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”
The Call of Gideon
11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash vthe Abiezrite, while his son wGideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And xthe angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, y“The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are zall his wonderful deeds athat our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And the Lord1 turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; bdo not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, c“Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, dmy clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, e“But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17 And he said to him, f“If now I have found favor in your eyes, then gshow me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please hdo not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.”
19 So Gideon went into his house iand prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah2 of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them jon this rock, and kpour the broth over them.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. lAnd fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, m“Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” 23 But the Lord said to him, n“Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, oThe Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at pOphrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.
25 That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father's bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down qthe Asherah that is beside it 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the rstronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night.
Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal
28 When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30 Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” 32 Therefore on that day Gideon3 was called sJerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.
33 Now tall the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in uthe Valley of Jezreel. 34 But vthe Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, wand he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. 35 xAnd he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. xAnd he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.
The Sign of the Fleece
36 yThen Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, z“Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.
Gideon's Three Hundred Men
7 Then aJerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside bthe spring of Harod. And the camp of Midian was north of them, cby the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, dlest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, e‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.
4 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the Lord said to Gideon, f“With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” 8 So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him gin the valley.
9 That same hnight the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, ifor I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 11 jAnd you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” kThen he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and lall the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, mas the sand that is on the seashore in abundance. 13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14 And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.”
15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.” 16 And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with ntorches inside the jars. 17 And he said to them, “Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, o‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’”
Gideon Defeats Midian
19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. oAnd they cried out, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, pand all the army ran. They cried out and fled. 22 qWhen they blew the 300 trumpets, rthe Lord set severy man's sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah,1 as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23 And the men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and from Asher and from all Manasseh, and they pursued after Midian.
24 tGideon sent messengers throughout uall the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and capture the waters against them, as far as vBeth-barah, and also the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they captured the waters as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan. 25 And they captured wthe two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb xat the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. Then they pursued Midian, and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon yacross the Jordan.
Gideon Defeats Zebah and Zalmunna
8 zThen the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they accused him fiercely. 2 And he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not athe gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? 3 bGod has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” cThen their anger1 against him subsided when he said this.
4 And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and dthe 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing. 5 So he said to the men of eSuccoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6 And the officials of Succoth said, f“Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, gthat we should give bread to your army?” 7 So Gideon said, “Well then, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, hI will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” 8 And from there he went up to iPenuel, and spoke to them in the same way, and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. 9 And he said to the men of Penuel, j“When I come again in peace, kI will break down this tower.”
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about 15,000 men, all who were left of all the army of lthe people of the East, for there had fallen 120,000 men mwho drew the sword. 11 And Gideon went up by the way of the tent dwellers east of nNobah and Jogbehah and attacked the army, for the army felt osecure. 12 And Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them pand captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and he threw all the army into a panic.
13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14 And he captured a young man of Succoth and questioned him. And he wrote down for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, q‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are exhausted?’” 16 And he took the elders of the city, and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them taught the men of Succoth a lesson. 17 rAnd he broke down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “Where are the men whom you killed at sTabor?” They answered, “As you are, so were they. Every one of them resembled the son of a king.” 19 And he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. tAs the Lord lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.” 20 So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise and kill them!” But the young man did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a young man. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself and fall upon us, for as the man is, so is his strength.” And Gideon arose and ukilled Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took vthe crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.
22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; wthe Lord will rule over you.” 24 And Gideon said to them, “Let me make a request of you: every one of you give me the earrings from his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings, xbecause they were Ishmaelites.) 25 And they answered, “We will willingly give them.” And they spread a cloak, and every man threw in it the earrings of his spoil. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels2 of gold, besides ythe crescent ornaments and zthe pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars that were around the necks of their camels. 27 And Gideon amade an ephod of it and put it in his city, bin Ophrah. And all Israel cwhored after it there, and it became a dsnare to Gideon and to his family. 28 So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. eAnd the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.
The Death of Gideon
29 fJerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had gseventy sons, his own offspring,3 for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine hwho was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died iin a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, jat Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 kAs soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and lwhored after the Baals and made mBaal-berith their god. 34 And the people of Israel ndid not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, 35 oand they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.
9 Now Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to phis mother's relatives and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother's family, 2 “Say in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all qseventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that pI am ryour bone and your flesh.”
3 And his mother's relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, s“He is our brother.” 4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of tBaal-berith with which Abimelech hired uworthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5 And he went to his father's house at vOphrah wand killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. 6 And all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all xBeth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem.
7 When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on top of yMount Gerizim and cried aloud and said to them, “Listen to me, you leaders of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8 zThe trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, a‘Reign over us.’ 9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my abundance, by which gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees?’ 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?’ 12 And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that bcheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and ctake refuge in my shade, but if not, dlet fire come out of the bramble and devour ethe cedars of Lebanon.’
16 “Now therefore, if you acted in good faith and integrity when you made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with fJerubbaal and his house and have done to him gas his deeds deserved— 17 for my father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian, 18 and you have risen up against my father's house this day hand have killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made iAbimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the leaders of Shechem, jbecause he is your relative— 19 if you then have acted in good faith and integrity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then krejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20 But if not, llet fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the leaders of Shechem and from Beth-millo and devour Abimelech.” 21 And Jotham ran away and fled and went to mBeer and lived there, because of Abimelech his brother.
The Downfall of Abimelech
22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 nAnd God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem odealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 pthat the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. 25 And the leaders of Shechem put men in ambush against him on the mountaintops, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way. And it was told to Abimelech.
26 And Gaal the son of Ebed moved into Shechem with his relatives, and the leaders of Shechem put confidence in him. 27 And they went out into the field and gathered the grapes from their vineyards and trod them and held a festival; and they went into qthe house of their god and ate and drank and reviled Abimelech. 28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, r“Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of sHamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? 29 Would that this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. I would say1 to Abimelech, ‘Increase your army, and come out.’”
30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly,2 saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem, and they are stirring up3 the city against you. 32 Now therefore, go by night, you and the people who are with you, and set an ambush in the field. 33 Then in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, rise early and rush upon the city. And when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you may do to them tas your hand finds to do.”
34 So Abimelech and all the men who were with him rose up by night and set an ambush against Shechem in four companies. 35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and Abimelech and the people who were with him rose from the ambush. 36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from uthe mountaintops!” And Zebul said to him, “You mistake4 the shadow of the mountains for men.” 37 Gaal spoke again and said, “Look, people are coming down from the center of the land, and one company is coming from the direction of the Diviners' Oak.” 38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your mouth now, you who said, v‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the people whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them.” 39 And Gaal went out at the head of the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him. And many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate. 41 And Abimelech lived at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives, so that they could not dwell at Shechem.
42 On the following day, the people went out into the field, and Abimelech was told. 43 He took his people and divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. And he looked and saw the people coming out of the city. So he rose against them and killed them. 44 Abimelech and the company that was with him wrushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two companies rushed upon all who were in the field and killed them. 45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He captured the city and killed the people who were in it, and xhe razed the city and ysowed it with salt.
46 When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered zthe stronghold of the house of aEl-berith. 47 Abimelech was told that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 And Abimelech went up to Mount bZalmon, he and all the people who were with him. And Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a bundle of brushwood and took it up and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the men who were with him, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do as I have done.” 49 So every one of the people cut down his bundle and following Abimelech put it against cthe stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about 1,000 men and women.
50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and captured it. 51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the leaders of the city fled to it and shut themselves in, and they went up to the roof of the tower. 52 And Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 dAnd a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull. 54 eThen he called quickly to the young man his armor-bearer and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” And his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, everyone departed to his home. 56 fThus God returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers. 57 And God also made all the evil of the men of Shechem return on their heads, and upon them came gthe curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
Tola and Jair
10 After Abimelech there arose to hsave Israel Tola the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in ithe hill country of Ephraim. 2 And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried at Shamir.
3 After him arose Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty-two years. 4 And he had thirty sons who jrode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, kwhich are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
Further Disobedience and Oppression
6 lThe people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord mand served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, nthe gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they oforsook the Lord and did not serve him. 7 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and phe sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites, 8 and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9 And the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah and against Benjamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.
10 And the people of Israel qcried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against you, because rwe have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” 11 And the Lord said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you sfrom the Egyptians and tfrom the Amorites, ufrom the Ammonites and vfrom the Philistines? 12 The Sidonians also, and wthe Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I xsaved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have yforsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out zto the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 15 And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and ahe became impatient over the misery of Israel.
17 Then the Ammonites were called to arms, and they encamped in Gilead. And the people of Israel came together, and they encamped at bMizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said one to another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? cHe shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”