Chapter 3

  1. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel, and because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strongholds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them, and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth until you come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel — neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number, and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord. And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Midianites, that the Lord sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, who said unto them, Thus says the Lord God of Israel: I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage. And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land. And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God, fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell, but you have not obeyed my voice.
  2. And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite. And his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him and said unto him, The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor. And Gideon said unto him, O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where are all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the Lord looked upon him and said, Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have not I sent you? And he said unto him, O my Lord, with what shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man. And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in your sight, then show me a sign that you talk with me. Depart not from here, I pray you, until I come unto you, and bring forth my present, and set it before you. And he said, I will wait until you come again.
  3. And Gideon went in and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour. The flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and there rose up fire out of the rock and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God, for I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto you. Fear not, you shall not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-Shalom. Unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
  4. And it came to pass the same night that the Lord said unto him, Take your father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the grove that is by it. And build an altar unto the Lord your God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which you shall cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had said unto him. And so it was, because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day — that he did it by night. And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. And they said one to another, Who has done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing. Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has cast down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the grove that was by it. And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will you plead for Baal? Will you save him? He that will plead for him, let him be put to death while it is yet morning. If he be a god, let him plead for himself because one has cast down his altar. Therefore, on that day, he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him because he has thrown down his altar.
  5. Then all the Midianites, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew a trumpet, and Abiezer was gathered after him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, who also was gathered after him. And he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali, and they came up to meet them. And Gideon said unto God, If you will save Israel by my hand as you have said, behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor, and if the dew is on the fleece only, and it is dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that you will save Israel by my hand as you had said. And it was so, for he rose up early on the next day, and thrust the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not your anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once. Let me prove, I pray you, but this once with the fleece. Let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night, for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
  6. Then Jerubbaal (who is Gideon) and all the people that were with him rose up early and pitched beside the well of Harod, so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, My own hand has saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty-two thousand, and there remained ten thousand. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many. Bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for you there. And it shall be that of whom I say unto you, This shall go with you, the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say unto you, This shall not go with you, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water, and the Lord said unto Gideon, Everyone that laps of the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, him shall you set by himself; likewise, everyone that bows down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men. But all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you and deliver the Midianites into your hand. And let all the other people go every man unto his place. So the people took provisions in their hand, and their trumpets, and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men. And the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.
  7. And it came to pass the same night that the Lord said unto him, Arise, go down unto the host, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you fear to go down, go with Phurah your servant down to the host, and you shall hear what they say, and afterward shall your hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. And the Midianites, and the Amalekites, and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude, and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seaside for multitude. And when Gideon had come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay flat. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel, for into his hand has God delivered Midian and all the host.
  8. And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel and said, Arise, for the Lord has delivered into your hand the host of Midian. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that as I do, so shall you do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then you blow the trumpets also, on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord and of Gideon. So Gideon and the hundred men that were with him came unto the outside of the camp, in the beginning of the middle watch, and they had but newly set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and broke the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing. And they cried, The sword of the Lord and of Gideon! And they stood every man in his place round about the camp, and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host; and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererah, and to the border of Abel-Meholah, unto Tabbath.
  9. And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites. And Gideon sent messengers throughout all Mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb. And they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side of Jordan.
  10. And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why have you served us thus, that you called us not when you went to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply. And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him when he had said that.
  11. And Gideon came to Jordan and passed over, he and the three hundred men that were with him, weary, yet pursuing them. And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread unto your army? And Gideon said, For this reason, when the Lord has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers. And he went up from there to Peni-el, and spoke unto them likewise. And the men of Peni-el answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him. And he spoke also unto the men of Peni-el, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower. Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east; for there fell a hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword. And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelled in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host, for the host was secure. And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed all the host.
  12. And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up, and caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him. And he described unto him the princes of Succoth and the elders thereof, even seventy-seven men. And he came unto the men of Succoth and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom you did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread unto your men that are weary? And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. And he beat down the tower of Peni-el, and slew the men of the city. Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom you slew at Tabor? And they answered, As you are, so were they. Each one resembled the children of a king. And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not slay you. And he said unto Jether his first born, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword, for he feared, because he was yet a youth. Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise, and fall upon us; for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.
  13. Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule over us, both you and your son, and your son’s son also, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you. And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that you would give me every man the earrings of his prey (for they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites). And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey. And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels’ necks. And Gideon made an ephod thereof and put it in his city, even in Ophrah. And all Israel went there whoring after it, which thing became a snare unto Gideon and to his house.
  14. Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon. And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelled in his own house. And Gideon had seventy sons of his body begotten, for he had many wives. And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age and was buried in the sepulcher of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.