1The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.2Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.3Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country.4They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys.5They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it.6Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.7When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian,8he sent them a prophet, who said, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.9I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land.10I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.” But you have not listened to me.’11The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.12When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’13‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, “Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?” But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.’14The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’15‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’16The Lord answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.’17Gideon replied, ‘If now I have found favour in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.18Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.’ And the Lord said, ‘I will wait until you return.’19Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.20The angel of God said to him, ‘Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.’ And Gideon did so.21Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared.22When Gideon realised that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!’23But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.’24So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.25That same night the Lord said to him, ‘Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.26Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.’27So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.28In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly-built altar!29They asked each other, ‘Who did this?’ When they carefully investigated, they were told, ‘Gideon son of Joash did it.’30The people of the town demanded of Joash, ‘Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.’31But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, ‘Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.’32So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, ‘Let Baal contend with him.’33Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.34Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him.35He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.36Gideon said to God, ‘If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised –37look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing-floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.’38And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew – a bowlful of water.39Then Gideon said to God, ‘Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.’40That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground 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.