March 19

Judges 6:25 — 8:35

25 And it came about during that night that Jehovah went on to say to him: “Take the young bull, the bull that belongs to your father, that is, the second young bull of seven years, and you must tear down the altar of Baal that is your father’s, and the sacred pole that is by it you should cut down. 26 And you must build an altar to Jehovah your God at the head of this stronghold, with the row of stones, and you must take the second young bull and offer it up as a burnt offering on the pieces of wood of the sacred pole that you will cut down.” 27 Accordingly Gideon took ten men of his servants and went doing just as Jehovah had spoken to him; but it came about that, as he feared the household of his father and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he went doing it by night.

28 When the men of the city got up early in the morning as usual, why, look! the altar of Baal had been pulled down and the sacred pole that was beside it had been cut down, and the second young bull had been offered up on the altar that had been built. 29 And they began to say one to another: “Who has done this thing?” And they went inquiring and seeking. Finally they said: “Gideon the son of Joash is the one that has done this thing.” 30 So the men of the city said to Joash: “Bring your son out that he may die, because he has pulled down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the sacred pole that was by it.” 31 At this Joash said to all those who stood against him: “Will YOU be the ones to make a legal defense for Baal to see whether YOU yourselves may save him? Whoever makes a legal defense for him ought to be put to death even this morning. If he is God, let him make a legal defense for himself, because someone has pulled down his altar.” 32 And he began to call him Jerubbaal on that day, saying: “Let Baal make a legal defense in his own behalf, because someone has pulled down his altar.”

33 And all Midian and Amalek and the Easterners gathered together as one and proceeded to cross over and camp in the low plain of Jezreel. 34 And Jehovah’s spirit enveloped Gideon so that he went blowing the horn, and the Abi-ezrites got to be called together after him. 35 And he sent out messengers through all of Manasseh, and they too got to be called together after him. He also sent out messengers through Asher and Zebulun and Naphtali, and they came on up to meet him.

36 Then Gideon said to the [true] God: “If you are saving Israel by means of me, just as you have promised, 37 here I am keeping a fleece of wool exposed on the threshing floor. If dew comes to be on the fleece alone but on all the earth there is dryness, then I must know that you will save Israel by means of me, just as you have promised.” 38 And it turned out to be that way. When he rose up early the next day and wrung the fleece, he got to drain off enough dew from the fleece to fill a large banquet bowl with water. 39 However, Gideon said to the [true] God: “Do not let your anger blaze against me, but let me speak just once more. Let me, please, make a test only once more with the fleece. Let, please, dryness occur to the fleece alone, and upon all the earth let there come to be dew.” 40 So God did that way on that night; and dryness came to be on the fleece alone, and upon all the earth dew occurred.

7 Then Jerubbaal, that is to say, Gideon, and all the people who were with him, rose early and took up camping at the well of Harod; and the camp of Midian happened to be on the north of him, at the hill of Moreh, in the low plain. 2 Jehovah now said to Gideon: “The people who are with you are too many for me to give Midian into their hand. Perhaps Israel would brag about itself against me, saying, ‘My hand it was that saved me.’ 3 And now call out, please, in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Who is there afraid and trembling? Let him retire.’” So Gideon put them to the proof. With that, twenty-two thousand of the people retired, and there were ten thousand that remained.

4 Still Jehovah said to Gideon: “There are yet too many people. Have them go down to the water that I may put them to the proof for you there. And it must occur that of whomever I say to you, ‘This one will go with you,’ he is one that will go with you, but every one of whom I say to you, ‘This one will not go along with you,’ he is one that will not go along.” 5 So he had the people go down to the water.

Then Jehovah said to Gideon: “Every one that laps up some of the water with his tongue just as a dog laps, you will set him by himself, also every one that bends down upon his knees to drink.” 6 And the number of those lapping with their hand to their mouth turned out to be three hundred men. As for all the rest of the people, they bent down upon their knees to drink water.

7 Jehovah now said to Gideon: “By the three hundred men who did the lapping I shall save YOU people, and I will give Midian into your hand. As for all the other people, let them go each one to his place.” 8 So they took the provisions of the people in their hand, and their horns, and all the men of Israel he sent away each one to his home; and he kept hold of the three hundred men. As for the camp of Midian, it happened to be down below him in the low plain.

9 And it came about during that night that Jehovah proceeded to say to him: “Rise up, descend upon the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to descend, descend, you with Purah your attendant, to the camp. 11 And you must listen to what they will speak, and afterward your hands will certainly grow strong, and you will be certain to descend upon the camp.” At that he and Purah his attendant made their descent to the edge of those in battle formation who were in the camp.

12 Now Midian and Amalek and all the Easterners were plumped in the low plain as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the grains of sand that are on the seashore. 13 Gideon now came, and, look! there was a man relating a dream to his companion, and he went on to say: “Here is a dream that I have dreamed. And, look! there was a round cake of barley bread turning over and over into the camp of Midian. Then it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell, and it went turning it upside down, and the tent fell flat.” 14 At this his companion answered and said: “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. The [true] God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.”

15 And it came about that as soon as Gideon heard the relating of the dream and its explanation, he began to worship. After that he returned to the camp of Israel and said: “Get up, for Jehovah has given the camp of Midian into YOUR hand.” 16 Then he divided the three hundred men up into three bands and put horns in the hands of all of them and large empty jars, and torches inside the large jars. 17 And he went on to say to them: “YOU should learn from watching me, and that is how YOU should do. And when I am come to the edge of the camp, it must also occur that just as I shall do, so YOU will do. 18 When I have blown the horn, I and all who are with me, YOU also must blow the horns, YOU too, round about all the camp, and YOU must say, ‘Jehovah’s and Gideon’s!’”

19 In time Gideon came with the hundred men who were with him to the edge of the camp at the start of the middle night watch. They had just got through posting the sentries. And they proceeded to blow the horns, and there was a dashing to pieces of the large water jars that were in their hands. 20 At that the three bands blew the horns and shattered the large jars and took fresh hold on the torches with their left hand and with their right hand on the horns to blow them, and they began calling out: “Jehovah’s sword and Gideon’s!” 21 All the while they kept standing each one in his place all around the camp, and the whole camp got on the run and broke out into shouting and went fleeing. 22 And the three hundred continued to blow the horns, and Jehovah proceeded to set the sword of each one against the other in all the camp; and the camp kept up their flight as far as Beth-shittah, on to Zererah, as far as the outskirts of Abel-meholah by Tabbath.

23 Meantime the men of Israel were called together from Naphtali and Asher and all of Manasseh, and they went chasing after Midian. 24 And Gideon sent messengers into all the mountainous region of Ephraim, saying: “Go down to meet Midian and capture ahead of them the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were called together, and they got to capture the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 They also got to capture the two princes of Midian, namely, Oreb and Zeeb; and they proceeded to kill Oreb on the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the wine vat of Zeeb. And they kept on pursuing Midian, and they brought the head of Oreb and that of Zeeb to Gideon in the region of the Jordan.

8 Then the men of Ephraim said to him: “What sort of thing is this that you have done to us in not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they vehemently tried to pick a quarrel with him. 2 Finally he said to them: “What now have I done in comparison with YOU? Are not the gleanings of Ephraim better than the grape gathering of Abi-ezer? 3 It was into YOUR hand that God gave Midian’s princes Oreb and Zeeb, and what have I been able to do in comparison with YOU?” It was then that their spirit calmed down toward him when he spoke this word.

4 Eventually Gideon came to the Jordan, crossing it, he and the three hundred men that were with him, tired but keeping up the pursuit. 5 Later he said to the men of Succoth: “Please give round loaves of bread to the people that are following my steps, for they are tired and I am chasing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6 But the princes of Succoth said: “Are the palms of Zebah and of Zalmunna already in your hand so that bread has to be given to your army?” 7 At this Gideon said: “That is why when Jehovah gives Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I shall certainly give YOUR flesh a threshing with the thorns of the wilderness and the briers.” 8 And he continued on his way up from there to Penuel and went speaking to them in this same manner, but the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9 Hence he said also to the men of Penuel: “When I return in peace, I shall pull down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their camps with them, about fifteen thousand being all who were left over out of the entire camp of the Easterners; and those already fallen were a hundred and twenty thousand men who used to draw the sword. 11 And Gideon continued on up by the way of those residing in tents to the east of Nobah and Jogbehah and began to strike the camp while the camp happened to be off guard. 12 When Zebah and Zalmunna took to flight, he at once went in pursuit of them and got to capture Midian’s two kings, Zebah and Zalmunna; and he drove all the camp into trembling.

13 And Gideon the son of Joash began his return from the war by the pass that goes up to Heres. 14 En route he captured a young man of the men of Succoth and made inquiries of him. So he wrote out for him the names of the princes of Succoth and its older men, seventy-seven men. 15 With that he went to the men of Succoth and said: “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna respecting whom YOU taunted me, saying, ‘Are the palms of Zebah and of Zalmunna already in your hand so that bread has to be given to your tired-out men?’” 16 Then he took the older men of the city and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he put the men of Succoth through an experience. 17 And the tower of Penuel he pulled down, and he proceeded to kill the men of the city.

18 He now said to Zebah and Zalmunna: “What sort of men were they whom YOU killed in Tabor?” To this they said: “As you are, so were they, each one, like the sons of a king in form.” 19 At that he said: “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As Jehovah lives, if YOU had preserved them alive, I would not have to kill YOU.” 20 Then he said to Jether his firstborn: “Get up, kill them.” And the young man did not draw his sword, because he was afraid, for he was yet a young man. 21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said: “Get up yourself and assault us, for as a man is, so is his mightiness.” Accordingly Gideon got up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna and took the moon-shaped ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.

22 Later the men of Israel said to Gideon: “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson as well, for you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.” 23 But Gideon said to them: “I myself shall not rule over YOU, nor will my son rule over YOU. Jehovah is the one who will rule over YOU.” 24 And Gideon went on to say to them: “Let me make a request of YOU: Give me, each one of YOU, the nose ring of his booty.” (For they had nose rings of gold, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 Then they said: “We shall surely give them.” With that they spread out a mantle and went throwing each one the nose ring of his booty into it. 26 And the weight of the nose rings of gold that he had requested amounted to one thousand seven hundred gold shekels, besides the moon-shaped ornaments and the eardrops and the garments of wool dyed reddish purple that were upon the kings of Midian and besides the necklaces that were on the necks of the camels.

27 And Gideon proceeded to make it into an ephod and to exhibit it in his city Ophrah; and all Israel began to have immoral intercourse with it there, so that it served as a snare to Gideon and to his household.

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their head anymore; and the land had no further disturbance for forty years in the days of Gideon.

29 And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went his way and continued to dwell in his house.

30 And Gideon came to have seventy sons that issued out of his upper thigh, for he came to have many wives. 31 As for the concubine of his that was in Shechem, she too bore him a son. So he named him Abimelech. 32 Eventually Gideon the son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the burial place of Joash his father in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

33 And it came about that as soon as Gideon had died the sons of Israel again took up having immoral intercourse with the Baals, so that they appointed Baal-berith as their god. 34 And the sons of Israel did not remember Jehovah their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies round about; 35 and they did not exercise loving-kindness toward the household of Jerubbaal, Gideon, in return for all the goodness that he had exercised toward Israel.