Gideon's Triumph and Vengeance
1Then the Ephraimites said to him, “What have you done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against the Midianites?” And they upbraided him violently. 2So 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 vintage of Abiezer? 3God has given into your hands the captains of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; what have I been able to do in comparison with you?” When he said this, their anger against him subsided.
4Then Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the three hundred who were with him, exhausted and famished.#8.4 Gk: Heb pursuing 5So he said to the people of Succoth, “Please give some loaves of bread to my followers, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6But the officials of Succoth said, “Do you already have in your possession the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna, that we should give bread to your army?” 7Gideon replied, “Well then, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will trample your flesh on the thorns of the wilderness and on briers.” 8From there he went up to Penuel, and made the same request of them; and the people of Penuel answered him as the people of Succoth had answered. 9So he said to the people of Penuel, “When I come back victorious, I will break down this tower.”
10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the east; for one hundred twenty thousand men bearing arms had fallen. 11So Gideon went up by the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the army; for the army was off its guard. 12Zebah and Zalmunna fled; and he pursued them and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and threw all the army into a panic.
13When Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres, 14he caught a young man, one of the people of Succoth, and questioned him; and he listed for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven people. 15Then he came to the people of Succoth, and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Do you already have in your possession the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna, that we should give bread to your troops who are exhausted?’ ” 16So he took the elders of the city and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them he trampled#8.16 With verse 7, Compare Gk: Heb he taught the people of Succoth. 17He also broke down the tower of Penuel, and killed the men of the city.
18Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What about the men whom you killed at Tabor?” They answered, “As you are, so were they, every one of them; they resembled the sons of a king.” 19And he replied, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother; as the Lord lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.” 20So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Go kill them!” But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a boy. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “You come and kill us; for as the man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon proceeded to kill Zebah and Zalmunna; and he took the crescents that were on the necks of their camels.
22Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also; for you have delivered us out of 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.” 24Then Gideon said to them, “Let me make a request of you; each of you give me an earring he has taken as booty.” (For the enemy#8.24 Heb they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25“We will willingly give them,” they answered. So they spread a garment, and each threw into it an earring he had taken as booty. 26The weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold (apart from the crescents and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and the collars that were on the necks of their camels). 27Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his town, in Ophrah; and all Israel prostituted themselves to it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family. 28So Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they lifted up their heads no more. So the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.
Death of Gideon
29Jerubbaal son of Joash went to live in his own house. 30Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31His concubine who was in Shechem 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 at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites relapsed and prostituted themselves with the Baals, making Baal-berith their god. 34The Israelites did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35and they did not exhibit loyalty to the house of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.