1Then Bnei-Yisrael did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so Adonai gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years.
2Midian maintained an upper hand over Israel, and because of Midian Bnei-Yisrael made themselves hideouts in the mountains—caves and strongholds.
3Whenever Israel had done their sowing, the Midianites, Amalekites and people from the east would come up and raid them.
4They would set up camp by them, destroy the produce of the land as far as Gaza, and leave nothing in Israel to live on—not a sheep, ox or donkey.
5For they would come up with their cattle and their tents, invade like a multitude of locusts. Both they and their camels were innumerable, and they would come to the land to ruin it.
6So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai.
7Now it came about when Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai because of Midian,
8that Adonai sent a prophet to Bnei-Yisrael, and he said to them, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of bondage.
9Then I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all your oppressors, and drove them out from before you and gave you their land.
10Then I said to you, “I am Adonai your God. You are not to fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But you have not obeyed My voice.’”
Calling of Gideon
11Then the angel of Adonai came and sat under the terebinth that was at Ophrah, that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress—in order to hide it from the Midianites.
12Then the angel of Adonai appeared to him and said to him, “Adonai is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
13But Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if Adonai is with us, then why has all this befallen us? So where are all His wonders that our fathers told us about saying ‘Didn’t Adonai bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Adonai has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
14Then Adonai turned toward him and said, “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have not I sent you?”
15Then he said to him, “Me, my Lord? With what would I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
16But Adonai said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you will strike down Midian as if it were one man.”
17Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your eyes, then please, show me a sign that it is really You talking with me.
18Please, don’t leave from here, until I come to You and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” So He said, “I will stay until you come back.”
19Then Gideon went in and prepared a kid and matzot from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to Him under the terebinth and presented them.
20Then the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the matzah and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” So he did so.
21Then the angel of Adonai put out the end of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the matzah. Fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the matzah. Then the angel of Adonai vanished from his sight.
22When Gideon realized that He was the angel of Adonai, Gideon said, “Alas, my Lord Adonai! For I have seen the angel of Adonai face to face!”
23But Adonai said to him, “Shalom to you. Fear not, you will not die.”
24So Gideon built an altar there to Adonai and called it “Adonai-shalom.” To this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25Now it came to pass the same night that Adonai said to him, “Take the young bull that belongs to your father and a second bull of seven years old, pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, cut down the Asherah that is beside it,
26build an altar to Adonai your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take the second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole that you will cut down.”
27So Gideon took ten of his male servants and did as Adonai had spoken to him. But since he was too afraid of his father’s household and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it at night.
28Now when the townspeople arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, the Asherah pole that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered up on the altar that was built.
29So they said one to another, “Who did this thing?” And when they inquired and asked around, they said: “Gideon son of Joash did this thing.”
30Then the townspeople said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and even cut down the Asherah pole that was beside it.”
31But Joash said to all who stood against him, “So you’re going to defend Baal? You’re going to rescue him? Whoever defends him will be put to death in the morning! If he is a god, let him defend himself—since someone has broken down his altar.”
32So on that day he was called Jerubbaal saying, “Let Baal contend with him, since he broke down his altar.”
33Now all the Midianites, the Amalekites and the people of the east gathered together, crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel.
34But the Ruach Adonai clothed Gideon, and he blew the shofar, and Abiezer rallied behind him.
35Then he sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also rallied behind him.Then he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and they came up to join them.
Signs of the Fleece
36Then Gideon said to God, “If You are going to deliver Israel by my hand, as You have spoken,
37see, I am putting a fleece of wool 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 deliver Israel by my hand, as You have spoken.”
38And it was so. When he rose up early next day, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.
39Then Gideon said to God, “Let not Your anger burn against me if I speak once more. Let me please test once more with the fleece—let it now be dry only on the fleece, but let there be dew over all the ground.”
40God did so that night, since it was dry only on the fleece, and there was dew over all the ground.