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Judges - Chapter 8

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1 Now the men of Ephraim said to Gideon, 'What do you mean by treating us like this, not summoning us when you went to fight Midian?' And they reproached him bitterly.

2 He replied, 'What have I achieved, compared with you? Is not the gleaning of Ephraim's grapes better than the vintage of Abiezer?

3 God delivered Oreb and Zeeb, the chieftains of Midian, into your power. What was I able to do, in comparison with what you have done?' At these words, their anger with him died down.

4 Gideon reached the Jordan and crossed it, but he and his three hundred companions were exhausted with the pursuit.

5 So he said to the men of Succoth, 'Please give my followers some loaves of bread, since they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna the kings of Midian.'

6 The headmen of Succoth replied, 'Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your grasp, that we should give bread to your army?'

7 'Very well,' retorted Gideon, 'when Yahweh has put Zebah and Zalmunna into my power, I shall tear your flesh off with desert-thorn and thistles.'

8 From there he went up to Penuel and asked the men of Penuel the same thing; they replied as those of Succoth had done.

9 And to those of Penuel he made a similar retort, 'When I return victorious, I shall destroy this tower.'

10 Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about fifteen thousand men, all that was left of the entire army of the sons of the East. Of men bearing arms, a hundred and twenty thousand had fallen.

11 Gideon approached them by the tent-dwellers' route, east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the army when it thought itself in safety.

12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled. He pursued them; he took the two kings of Midian prisoner -- Zebah and Zalmunna -- and the whole army he routed in panic.

13 After the battle Gideon came back by the Ascent of Heres.

14 He caught a young man, one of the people of Succoth, and questioned him, and the latter wrote down the names of the headmen and elders of Succoth for him -- seventy-seven men.

15 Gideon son of Joash then went to the people of Succoth and said, 'Here you see Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me and said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your grasp, that we should give bread to your exhausted troops?" '

16 He then seized the elders of the town and, taking desert-thorn and thistles, tore the men of Succoth to pieces.

17 He destroyed the tower of Penuel and slaughtered the townsmen.

18 He then said to Zebah and Zalmunna, 'The men you killed at Tabor -- what were they like?' They replied, 'They looked like you. Every one of them carried himself like the son of a king.'

19 Gideon replied, 'They were my brothers, the sons of my own mother; as Yahweh lives, if you had spared their lives I would not kill you.'

20 To Jether his eldest son he said, 'Stand up and kill them!' But the boy did not draw his sword; he dared not; he was still only a lad.

21 Zebah and Zalmunna then said, 'Stand up yourself, and strike us down; for as a man is, so is his strength.' Then Gideon stood up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna; and he took the crescents from round their camels' necks.

22 The men of Israel said to Gideon, 'Rule over us, you, your son and your grandson, since you have rescued us from the power of Midian.'

23 But Gideon replied, 'I will not rule you, neither will my son. Yahweh shall rule you.'

24 Gideon went on, however, 'Let me make you one request. Each of you give me one ring out of his booty' -- for the vanquished had had gold rings, being Ishmaelites.

25 'We shall give them gladly,' they replied. So he spread out his cloak, and on it each of them threw a ring from his booty.

26 The weight of the gold rings which he had asked for amounted to seventeen hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescents and the earrings and purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars round their camels' necks.

27 From this Gideon made an ephod and set it up in his town, in Ophrah. All Israel, following his example, prostituted themselves to it, and it was a snare for Gideon and his family.

28 Thus Midian was humbled before the Israelites. He did not raise his head again, and the country had peace for forty years, as long as Gideon lived.

29 So Jerubbaal son of Joash went to live at home.

30 Gideon had seventy sons begotten by him, for he had many wives.

31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, to whom he gave the name Abimelech.

32 Gideon son of Joash died after a happy old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of Abiezer.

33 After Gideon's death, the people of Israel again began to prostitute themselves to the Baals, taking Baal-Berith for their god.

34 The Israelites no longer remembered Yahweh their God, who had rescued them from all the enemies round them.

35 And to the family of Jerubbaal -- Gideon -- they showed no faithful gratitude for all the good which it had done for Israel.

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