1The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. So for seven years he handed them over to the people of Midian.2The Midianites treated the Israelites very badly. That’s why they made hiding places for themselves. They hid in holes in the mountains. They also hid in caves and in other safe places.3Each year the people planted their crops. When they did, the Midianites came into the country and attacked it. So did the Amalekites and other tribes from the east.4They camped on the land. They destroyed the crops all the way to Gaza. They didn’t spare any living thing for Israel. They didn’t spare sheep or cattle or donkeys.5The Midianites came up with their livestock and tents. They came like huge numbers of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels. They came into the land to destroy it.6The Midianites made the Israelites very poor. So they cried out to the LORD for help.7They cried out to the LORD because of what the Midianites had done.8So he sent a prophet to Israel. The prophet said, ‘The LORD is the God of Israel. He says, “I brought you up out of Egypt. That is the land where you were slaves.9I saved you from the power of the Egyptians. I saved you from all those who were treating you badly. I drove out the Canaanites to make room for you. I gave you their land.10I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God. You are now living in the land of the Amorites. Do not worship their gods.’ But you have not listened to me.” ’11The angel of the LORD came. He sat down under an oak tree in Ophrah. The tree belonged to Joash. He was from the family line of Abiezer. Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress at Ophrah. He was the son of Joash. Gideon was threshing in a winepress to hide the wheat from the Midianites.12The angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon. He said, ‘Mighty warrior, the LORD is with you.’13‘Pardon me, sir,’ Gideon replied, ‘you say the LORD is with us. Then why has all this happened to us? Where are all the wonderful things he has done? Our people of long ago told us about them. They said, “Didn’t the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?” But now the LORD has deserted us. He has handed us over to Midian.’14The LORD turned to Gideon. He said to him, ‘You are strong. Go and save Israel from the power of Midian. I am sending you.’15‘Pardon me, sir,’ Gideon replied, ‘but how can I possibly save Israel? My family group is the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh. And I’m the least important member of my family.’16The LORD answered, ‘I will be with you. So you will strike down the Midianites. You will leave no one alive.’17Gideon replied, ‘If you are pleased with me, give me a special sign. Then I’ll know that it’s really you talking to me.18Please don’t go away until I come back. I’ll bring my offering and set it down in front of you.’ The LORD said, ‘I will wait until you return.’19Gideon went inside and prepared a young goat. From 15 kilograms of flour he made bread without using yeast. He put the meat in a basket. In a pot he put soup made from the meat. Then he brought all of it and offered it to the LORD under the oak tree.20The angel of God said to Gideon, ‘Take the meat and the bread. Place them on this rock. Then pour out the soup.’ So Gideon did it.21The angel of the LORD had a walking stick in his hand. With the tip of the stick he touched the meat and the bread. Fire blazed out of the rock. It burned up the meat and the bread. Then the angel of the LORD disappeared.22Gideon realised it was the angel of the LORD. He cried out, ‘Oh no, my LORD and King, I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!’23But the LORD said to him, ‘May peace be with you! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.’24So Gideon built an altar there to honour the LORD. He called it The LORD Is Peace. It still stands in Ophrah to this day. Ophrah is in the territory that belongs to the family line of Abiezer.25That same night the LORD spoke to Gideon. He said, ‘Get the second bull from your father’s herd. Get the one that is seven years old. Tear down the altar your father built to honour the god named Baal. Cut down the pole beside it. The pole is used to worship the female god named Asherah.26Then build the right kind of altar. Build it to honour the LORD your God. Build it on top of this hill. Then use the wood from the Asherah pole you cut down. Sacrifice the second bull as a burnt offering.’27So Gideon went and got ten of his servants. He did just as the LORD had told him. But he was afraid of his family. He was also afraid of the people in the town. So he did everything at night instead of during the day.28In the morning the people in the town got up. They saw that Baal’s altar had been torn down. The Asherah pole beside it had been cut down. And the second bull had been sacrificed on the new altar that had been built.29They asked each other, ‘Who did this?’ They looked into the matter carefully. Someone told them, ‘Gideon, the son of Joash, did it.’30The people in the town spoke to Joash. They ordered him, ‘Bring your son out here. He must die. He has torn down Baal’s altar. He has cut down the Asherah pole beside it.’31But Joash replied to the angry crowd around him. He asked, ‘Are you going to stand up for Baal? Are you trying to save him? Those who stand up for him will be put to death by morning! Is Baal really a god? If he is, he can stand up for himself when someone tears down his altar.’32That’s why they gave Gideon the name Jerub-Baal on that day. Gideon had torn down Baal’s altar. So they said, ‘Let Baal take his stand against him.’33All the Midianites and Amalekites gathered their armies together. Other tribes from the east joined them. All of them went across the River Jordan. They camped in the Valley of Jezreel.34Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon. So Gideon blew a trumpet to send for the men of Abiezer. He told them to follow him.35He sent messengers all through Manasseh’s territory. He called for the men of Manasseh to fight. He also sent messengers to the men of Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali. So all those men went up to join the others.36Gideon said to God, ‘You promised you would use me to save Israel.37Please do something for me. I’ll put a piece of wool on the threshing-floor. Suppose dew is only on the wool tomorrow morning. And suppose the ground all around it is dry. Then I will know that you will use me to save Israel. I’ll know that your promise will come true.’38And that’s what happened. Gideon got up early the next day. He squeezed the dew out of the wool. The water filled a bowl.39Then Gideon said to God, ‘Don’t be angry with me. Let me ask you for just one more thing. Let me use the wool for one more test. But this time make the wool dry. And let the ground be covered with dew.’40So that night God did it. Only the wool was dry. The ground all around it was covered with dew.
English Standard Version
Midian Oppresses Israel
1The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. (Ge 25:2; Nu 25:17; Jud 2:19; Hab 3:7)2And 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 the caves and the strongholds. (1Sa 13:6; Heb 11:38)3For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. (Ge 29:1; Jud 3:13; Jud 6:33; Jud 7:12; Jud 8:10; 1Ki 4:30; Job 1:3)4They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey. (Le 26:16; De 28:30; De 28:51; Mic 6:15)5For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in. (Jud 7:12)6And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord. (Jud 3:9)7When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites,8the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. (1Sa 10:18)9And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. (Ps 44:2)10And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.” (Jos 24:15; 2Ki 17:35)
The Call of Gideon
11Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. (Jos 17:2; Jud 8:2; Heb 11:32)12And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” (Jos 1:5; Jud 13:3; Lu 1:11; Ac 10:3)13And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that 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.” (Ps 44:1; Ps 89:49; Isa 63:15)14And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (Jos 1:9; 1Sa 12:11)15And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Ex 3:11; 1Sa 9:21; 1Sa 18:18)16And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (Ex 3:12; Jos 1:5)17And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. (Ex 4:1; Ex 33:13; Jud 6:36; 2Ki 20:8; Isa 7:11)18Please do 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.” (Ge 18:3; Jud 13:15)19So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah 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. (Ge 18:6)20And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so. (Jud 13:19; 1Ki 18:33)21Then 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. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. (Le 9:24; 1Ki 18:38; 2Ch 7:1)22Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.” (Ge 32:30; Ex 33:20; De 5:26; Jud 13:21)23But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” (Da 10:19)24Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. (Ge 22:14; Ex 17:15; Jud 6:11; Jud 8:27; Jud 8:32; Eze 48:35)25That 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 the Asherah that is beside it (Jud 3:7)26and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold 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.” (Da 11:7; Da 11:10; Da 11:31)27So 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
28When 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.29And 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.”30Then 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.”31But 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.”32Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar. (Jud 7:1; 1Sa 12:11; 2Sa 11:21)33Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. (Jos 17:16; Jud 6:3)34But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him. (Jud 3:10; Jud 3:27)35And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they too were called out to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them. (Jud 7:24)
The Sign of the Fleece
36Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, (Ex 4:1)37behold, 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.”38And 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.39Then Gideon said to God, “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.” (Ge 18:32)40And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.