1The men of Ephraim said to him, “Why have you done this to us, not calling us when you went to fight against the Midianites?” And they argued with him violently.
2So he said to them, “What have I done now compared to you? Is not the gleaning#Lv 19:9-10; 23:22; Dt 24:19-20; Ru 2 of Ephraim better than the grape harvest#Lv 26:5; Is 24:13; 32:10; Mc 7:1 of Abiezer? 3God handed over to you Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian. What was I able to do compared to you?” When he said this, their anger against him subsided.
Gideon Pursues the Kings of Midian
4Gideon and the three hundred men came to the Jordan and crossed it. They were exhausted but still in pursuit. 5He said to the men of Succoth,#Gn 33:17; Jos 13:27; 1Kg 7:46; 2Ch 4:17; Ps 60:6 “Please give some loaves of bread to the troops under my command,#8:5 Lit troops at my feet because they are exhausted, for I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”
6But the princes of Succoth asked, “Are#8:6 Lit Are the hands of, also in v. 15 Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hands that we should give bread to your army?”
7Gideon replied, “Very well, when the Lord has handed Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, I will tear#8:7 Lit thresh your flesh with thorns and briers from the wilderness!” 8He went from there to Penuel and asked the same thing from them. The men of Penuel#Gn 32:31-32; 1Kg 12:25 answered just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9He also told the men of Penuel, “When I return safely, I will tear down this tower!”
10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and with them was their army of about fifteen thousand men, who were all those left of the entire army of the Qedemites. Those who had been killed were one hundred twenty thousand armed men.#8:10 Lit men who drew the sword 11Gideon traveled on the caravan route#8:11 Lit on the route of those who live in tents east of Nobah#Nm 32:42 and Jogbehah and attacked their army while the army felt secure. 12Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them. He captured these two kings of Midian and routed the entire army.
13Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the Ascent of Heres. 14He captured a youth from the men of Succoth and interrogated him. The youth wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven leaders and elders of Succoth. 15Then he went to the men of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. You taunted me about them, saying, ‘Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your power that we should give bread to your exhausted men? ’” 16So he took the elders of the city, and he took some thorns and briers from the wilderness, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them. 17He also tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
18He asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?”
“They were like you,” they said. “Each resembled the son of a king.”
19So he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother! As the Lord lives, if you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20Then he said to Jether, his firstborn, “Get up and kill them.” The youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid because he was still a youth.
21Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Get up and strike us down yourself, for a man is judged by his strength.” So Gideon got up, killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.
Gideon’s Legacy
22Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us,#Gn 3:16; 4:7; 37:8 you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for you delivered us from the power of Midian.”
23But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.” 24Then he said to them, “Let me make a request of you: Everyone give me an earring from his plunder.” Now the enemy had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites.
25They said, “We agree to give them.” So they spread out a cloak, and everyone threw an earring from his plunder on it. 26The weight of the gold earrings he requested was forty-three pounds#8:26 Lit 1,700 shekels of gold, in addition to the crescent ornaments and ear pendants, the purple garments on the kings of Midian, and the chains on the necks of their camels. 27Gideon made an ephod#Ex 25:7; 28:12; 39:12; Jdg 18:14,17-20; 2Sm 6:14; Hs 3:4 from all this and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. Then all Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household.
28So Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they were no longer a threat.#8:28 Lit they no longer raised their head The land had peace for forty years#Jdg 3:11; 5:31 during the days of Gideon. 29Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) son of Joash went back to live at his house.
30Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, since he had many wives. 31His concubine who was in Shechem#Gn 12:6; 37:12-14; Jos 21:22; Ps 60:6; 108:7 also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32Then Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33When Gideon died, the Israelites turned and prostituted#Ex 34:15-16; Dt 31:16; 2Ch 21:13; Is 23:17; Jr 3:6,8; Ezk 16:15-17,26-28; Hs 4:12 themselves by worshiping the Baals and made Baal-berith#8:33 Lit Baal of the Covenant, or Lord of the Covenant their god. 34The Israelites did not remember the Lord their God#Gn 40:23; Ex 23:13; Jos 23:7; Is 17:10; 57:11; Zch 13:2 who had rescued them from the hand of the enemies around them. 35They did not show kindness#Gn 24:12,49; Ex 20:6; 2Sm 22:51; Ps 18:50 to the house of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) for all the good he had done for Israel.