GIDEON DEFEATS THE MIDIANITES. JUDGES 7 & 8.
Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people who were with him, rose up early, and encamped beside the spring of Harod. Midian’s camp was on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. Yahweh said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel brag against me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.
Yahweh said to Gideon, “There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. It shall be, that those whom I tell you, ‘This shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and whoever I tell you, ‘This shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” So he brought down the people to the water; and Yahweh said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps of the water with his tongue, like a dog laps, you shall set him by himself; likewise everyone who bows down on his knees to drink.” The number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people bowed down on their knees to drink water. Yahweh said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, each to his own place.”
So the people took food in their hand, and their trumpets; and he sent all the men of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the three hundred men; and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley. That same night, Yahweh said to him, “Arise, go down into the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp. You will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened to go down into the camp.” Then went he down with Purah his servant to the outermost part of the armed men who were in the camp.
When Gideon had come, behold, there was a man telling a dream to his fellow. He said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream; and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.”
He said to them, “Watch me, and do likewise. Behold, when I come to the outermost part of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so you shall do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and shout, ‘For Yahweh and for Gideon!’”
So Gideon, and the hundred men who were with him, came to the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch. Then they blew the trumpets, and broke in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets, broke the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands with which to blow; and they shouted, “The sword of Yahweh and of Gideon!” They each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran; and they shouted, and put them to flight. They blew the three hundred trumpets, and Yahweh set every man’s sword against his fellow, and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth Shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath. The men of Israel were gathered together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued Midian. Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against Midian, and take before them the waters, as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan!” So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together, and took the waters as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan. They took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at Oreb’s rock, and Zeeb they killed at Zeeb’s wine press; and pursued Midian. Then they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.
The men of Ephraim said to him, “Why have you treated us this way, that you didn’t call us when you went to fight with Midian?” They rebuked him sharply. He said to them, “What have I now done in comparison with you? Isn’t the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? God has delivered into your hand the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb! What was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.
Gideon came to the Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men who were with him, faint, yet pursuing. He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me; for they are faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”
The princes of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?”
Gideon said, “Therefore when Yahweh has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.”
He went up there to Penuel, and spoke to them in the same way; and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. He spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.”
Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the children of the east; for there fell one hundred twenty thousand men who drew sword. Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and struck the army; for the army was secure. Zebah and Zalmunna fled; and he pursued them. He took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and confused all the army. Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle from the ascent of Heres. He caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described for him the princes of Succoth, and its elders, seventy-seven men. He came to the men of Succoth, and said, “See Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. He broke down the tower of Penuel, and killed the men of the city.
Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?”
They answered, “They were like you. Each one resembled the children of a king.”
He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As Yahweh lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.”
He said to Jether his firstborn, “Get up, and kill them!” But the youth didn’t draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was yet a youth.
Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise and fall on us; for as the man is, so is his strength.” Gideon arose, and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescents that were on their camels’ necks.
Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you, and your son, and your son’s son also; for you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.”
Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you. Yahweh shall rule over you.” Gideon said to them, “I do have a request, that you would each give me the earrings of his plunder.” (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)
They answered, “We will willingly give them.” They spread a garment, and every man threw the earrings of his plunder into it. The weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescents, and the pendants, and the purple clothing that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels’ necks. Gideon made an ephod out of it, and put it in Ophrah, his city. Then all Israel played the prostitute with it there; and it became a snare to Gideon, and to his house. So Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, and they lifted up their heads no more. The land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon. Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. Gideon had seventy sons conceived from his body, for he had many wives. His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
As soon as Gideon was dead, the children of Israel turned again, and played the prostitute following the Baals, and made Baal Berith their god. The children of Israel didn’t remember Yahweh their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side; neither did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shown to Israel.