1The men of Ephraim asked Gideon, ‘Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you ask us to help you when you went out to fight against Midian?’ In anger they challenged Gideon.2But he answered them, ‘What I’ve done isn’t anything compared to what you have done. Ephraim’s grapes have been gathered. Isn’t what is left over better than all the grapes that have been gathered from Abiezer’s vines?3God handed Oreb and Zeeb over to you. They were Midianite leaders. So what was I able to do compared to what you did?’ After Gideon had said that, they didn’t feel angry with him anymore.4Gideon and his 300 men were very tired. But they kept on chasing their enemies. They came to the River Jordan and went across it.5Gideon said to the men of Sukkoth, ‘Give my troops some bread. They are worn out. And I’m still chasing Zebah and Zalmunna. They are the kings of Midian.’6But the officials of Sukkoth objected. They said, ‘Have you already killed Zebah and Zalmunna? Have you cut their hands off and brought them back to prove it? If you haven’t, why should we give bread to your troops?’7Gideon replied, ‘The LORD will hand Zebah and Zalmunna over to me. When he does, I’ll tear your skin with thorns from desert bushes.’8From there Gideon went up to Peniel. He asked its men for the same thing. But they answered as the men of Sukkoth had.9So he said to the men of Peniel, ‘I’ll be back after I’ve won the battle. Then I’ll tear down this tower.’10Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor. They had an army of about 15,000 men. That’s all that were left of the armies of the tribes from the east. About 120,000 men who carried swords had died in battle.11Gideon went up the trail the people of the desert had made. It ran east of Nobah and Jogbehah. He attacked the army by surprise.12Zebah and Zalmunna ran away. They were the two kings of Midian. Gideon chased them and captured them. He destroyed their whole army.13Then Gideon, the son of Joash, returned from the battle. He came back through the Pass of Heres.14He caught a young man from Sukkoth. He asked him about the elders of the town. The young man wrote down for him the names of Sukkoth’s 77 officials.15Then Gideon came and said to the men of Sukkoth, ‘Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. You made fun of me because of them. You said, “Have you already killed Zebah and Zalmunna? Have you cut their hands off and brought them back to prove it? If you haven’t, why should we give bread to your tired men?” ’16Gideon went and got the elders of the town. Then he taught the men of Sukkoth a lesson. He tore their skin with thorns from desert bushes.17He also pulled down the tower at Peniel. He killed the men in the town.18Then he spoke to Zebah and Zalmunna. He asked, ‘What were the men like that you killed at Tabor?’ ‘Men like you,’ they answered. ‘Each one walked as if he were a prince.’19Gideon replied, ‘Those were my brothers. They were the sons of my own mother. You can be sure that the LORD lives. And you can be just as sure that if you had spared their lives, I wouldn’t kill you.’20Then Gideon turned to his eldest son Jether. He said, ‘Kill them!’ But Jether didn’t pull out his sword. He was only a boy. So he was afraid.21Zebah and Zalmunna said, ‘Come on. Do it yourself. “The older the man, the stronger he is.” ’ So Gideon stepped forward and killed them. Then he took the gold chains off the necks of their camels.
Gideon’s linen apron
22The Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us. We want you, your son and your grandson to be our rulers. You have saved us from the power of Midian.’23But Gideon told them, ‘I will not rule over you. My son won’t rule over you either. The LORD will rule over you.’24He continued, ‘I do ask one thing. I want each of you to give me an earring. I’m talking about the earrings you took from your enemies.’ It was the practice of the people in the family line of Ishmael to wear gold earrings.25The Israelites said, ‘We’ll be glad to give them to you.’ So they spread out a piece of clothing. Each of them threw a ring on it from what he had taken.26The weight of the gold rings Gideon asked for was 20 kilograms. That didn’t include the moon-shaped necklaces the kings of Midian had worn. It didn’t include their other necklaces or their purple clothes. And it didn’t include the gold chains that had been on the necks of their camels.27Gideon made an object out of all the gold. It looked like the linen apron the high priest of Israel wore. Gideon placed it in Ophrah. That was his home town. All the Israelites worshipped it there. They weren’t faithful to the LORD. So the gold object became a trap to Gideon and his family.
28Israel brought Midian under their control. Midian wasn’t able to attack Israel anymore. So the land was at peace for 40 years. The peace lasted as long as Gideon was living.29Jerub-Baal, the son of Joash, went back home to live. Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon.30He had 70 sons of his own. That’s because he had many wives.31And he had a concubine who lived in Shechem. She also had a son by him. Gideon named that son Abimelek.32Gideon, the son of Joash, died when he was very old. He was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah. Ophrah was in the territory that belonged to the family line of Abiezer.33As soon as Gideon had died, the Israelites began serving and worshipping gods that were named Baal. Israel wasn’t faithful to the LORD. They worshipped Baal-Berith as their god.34They forgot what the LORD their God had done for them. He had saved them from the power of their enemies all around them.35Jerub-Baal had done many good things for the Israelites. But they weren’t faithful to his family. Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon.
English Standard Version
Gideon Defeats Zebah and Zalmunna
1Then 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. (Jud 12:1; 2Sa 19:41)2And he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? (Isa 24:13; Jer 49:9; Ob 1:5; Mic 7:1)3God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger against him subsided when he said this. (Jud 7:24; Pr 15:1)4And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing. (Jud 7:6)5So he said to the men of Succoth, “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.” (Ge 33:17; Ps 60:6)6And the officials of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?” (1Sa 25:11; 1Ki 20:11)7So Gideon said, “Well then, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” (Jud 8:16)8And from there he went up to Penuel, and spoke to them in the same way, and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. (Ge 32:30; 1Ki 12:25)9And he said to the men of Penuel, “When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.” (Jud 8:17; 1Ki 22:27)10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about 15,000 men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the East, for there had fallen 120,000 men who drew the sword. (Jud 6:3; Jud 20:2; Jud 20:15; Jud 20:17; Jud 20:25; Jud 20:35; Jud 20:46; 2Sa 24:9; 2Ki 3:26; 1Ch 21:5)11And Gideon went up by the way of the tent dwellers east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the army, for the army felt secure. (Nu 32:35; Nu 32:42; Jud 18:27)12And Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and he threw all the army into a panic. (Ps 83:11)13Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres.14And 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.15And he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are exhausted?’” (Jud 8:6)16And 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.17And he broke down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city. (1Ki 12:25)18Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “Where are the men whom you killed at Tabor?” They answered, “As you are, so were they. Every one of them resembled the son of a king.” (Jud 4:6)19And he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.” (Ru 3:13)20So 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.21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself and fall upon us, for as the man is, so is his strength.” And Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels. (Jud 8:26; Ps 83:11; Isa 3:18)
22Then 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.”23Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.” (1Sa 8:7; 1Sa 10:19; 1Sa 12:12; 1Sa 12:17; 1Sa 12:19)24And 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, because they were Ishmaelites.) (Ge 37:25; Ge 37:28; Ge 37:36; Ge 39:1)25And they answered, “We will willingly give them.” And they spread a cloak, and every man threw in it the earrings of his spoil.26And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars that were around the necks of their camels. (Jud 8:21; Isa 3:19)27And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family. (Ex 23:33; Ex 28:6; Ex 34:15; De 7:16; Jud 2:17; Jud 6:24; Jud 8:33; Jud 17:5; Jud 18:14; Jud 18:17; Ps 106:39)28So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon. (Jud 3:11; Jud 5:31)
The Death of Gideon
29Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. (Jud 6:32; Jud 7:1)30Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. (Jud 9:2; Jud 9:5)31And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. (Jud 9:1)32And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of the Abiezrites. (Ge 15:15; Ge 25:8; Jud 6:24; Job 5:26)33As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. (Jud 2:19; Jud 8:27; Jud 9:4; Jud 9:46)34And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, (Ps 78:11; Ps 78:42; Ps 106:13; Ps 106:21)35and 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. (Jud 9:16)