Judges Chapter 7 to 8 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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7 Early in the morning Jerub Baal (Gideon) and all his men set up their camp at the spring of Harod. The people of Midian were camped in the valley at the bottom of the hill called Moreh. This was north of Gideon and his men. 2Then the Lord said to Gideon, “I am going to help your men to defeat the people of Midian. But you have too many men for the job. I don’t want the people of Israel to forget me and brag that they saved themselves. 3So now, make an announcement to your men. Tell them, ‘Anyone that is afraid may leave Mount Gilead. He may go back home.’” At that time, 22,000 men left Gideon and went back home. But 10,000 still remained. 4Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take the men down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say, ‘This man will go with you,’ he will go. But if I say, ‘That one will not go with you,’ then he will not go.” 5So Gideon led the men down to the water. At the water the Lord said to Gideon, “Separate the men like this: The men who drink the water by using their tongue to lap it up like a dog will be in one group. And the men who bend down to drink will be in the other group.” 6There were 300 men that used their hands to bring water to their mouth and lapped it like a dog does. All the other people bent down and drank the water. 7The Lord said to Gideon, “I will use the 300 men who lapped the water like a dog. I will use those men to save you, and I will allow you to defeat the people of Midian. Let the other men go to their homes.” 8So Gideon sent the other men of Israel home. Gideon kept the 300 men with him. Those 300 men kept the supplies and the trumpets of the other men who went home. The people of Midian were camped in the valley below Gideon’s camp. 9During the night the Lord spoke to Gideon. The Lord said to him, “Get up. I will let you defeat the Midianite army. Go down to their camp. 10If you are afraid to go alone, then take Purah your servant with you. 11Go into the camp of the people of Midian. Listen to the things those people are saying. After that, you will not be afraid to attack them.” So Gideon and Purah his servant went down to the edge of the enemy camp. 12The people of Midian, the people of Amalek, and all the other people from the east were camped in that valley. There were so many people that they seemed like a swarm of locusts.* It seemed like those people had as many camels as there are grains of sand on the seashore. 13Gideon came to the enemy camp, and he heard a man talking. That man was telling his friend about a dream that he had. The man was saying, “I dreamed that a round loaf of bread came rolling into the camp of the people of Midian. That loaf of bread hit the tent so hard that the tent turned over and fell flat.” 14The man’s friend knew the meaning of the dream. He said, “Your dream can only have one meaning. Your dream is about that man from Israel. It is about Gideon son of Joash. It means that God will let Gideon defeat the whole army of Midian.” 15After he heard the men talking about the dream and what it meant, Gideon bowed down to God. Then Gideon went back to the camp of the people of Israel. Gideon called out to the people, “Get up! The Lord will help us defeat the people of Midian.” 16Then Gideon divided the 300 men into three groups. Gideon gave each man a trumpet and an empty jar. A burning torch was inside each jar. 17Then Gideon told the men, “Watch me and do what I do. Follow me to the edge of the enemy camp. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly what I do. 18You men surround the enemy camp. I and all the men with me will blow our trumpets. When we blow our trumpets, you blow your trumpets, too. Then shout these words: ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’” 19So Gideon and the 100 men with him went to the edge of the enemy camp. They came there just after the enemy changed guards. It was during the middle watch of the night. Gideon and his men blew their trumpets and smashed their jars. 20Then all three groups of Gideon’s men blew their trumpets and smashed their jars. The men held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands. As those men blew their trumpets, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord, and a sword for Gideon!” 21Gideon’s men stayed where they were. But inside the camp, the men of Midian began shouting and running away. 22When Gideon’s 300 men blew their trumpets, the Lord caused the men of Midian to kill each other with their swords. The enemy army ran away to the city of Beth Shittah, which is toward the city of Zererah. Those men ran as far as the border of the city of Abel Meholah, which is near the city of Tabbath. 23Then soldiers from the family groups of Naphtali, Asher, and all of Manasseh were told to chase the people of Midian. 24Gideon sent messengers through all the hill country of Ephraim. The messengers said, “Come down and attack the people of Midian. Take control of the river as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan River. Do this before the people of Midian get there.” So they called all men from the family group of Ephraim. They took control of the river as far as Beth Barah. 25The men of Ephraim caught two of the Midianite leaders. These two leaders were named Oreb and Zeeb. The men of Ephraim killed Oreb at a place named the Rock of Oreb. They killed Zeeb at a place named the Winepress of Zeeb. The men of Ephraim continued chasing the people of Midian. But they first cut off the heads of Oreb and Zeeb and took the heads to Gideon. Gideon was at the place where people cross the Jordan River.

locusts Insects like grasshoppers. Locusts can destroy a large crop very quickly.

8 The men of Ephraim were angry at Gideon. When the men of Ephraim found Gideon, they asked Gideon, “Why did you treat us this way? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight against the people of Midian?” 2But Gideon answered the men of Ephraim, “I have not done as well as you men have done. You people of Ephraim have a much better harvest than my family, the Abiezers. At harvest time, you leave more grapes in the field than my family gathers! Isn’t that true? 3{In the same way, you have a better harvest now.} God allowed you to capture Oreb and Zeeb, the leaders of Midian! How can I compare my success with what you did?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, they were not as angry as they had been.

Gideon Captures Two Kings of Midian

4Then Gideon and his 300 men came to the Jordan River and went across to the other side. But they were tired and hungry.* 5Gideon said to the men of the city of Succoth, “Give my soldiers something to eat. My soldiers are very tired. We are still chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.” 6But the leaders of the city of Succoth said to Gideon, “Why should we give your soldiers something to eat? You haven’t caught Zebah and Zalmunna yet.” 7Then Gideon said, “You won’t give us food. The Lord will help me capture Zebah and Zalmunna. After that, I will come back here. And I will beat your skin with thorns and briers from the desert.” 8Gideon left the city of Succoth and went to the city of Penuel. Gideon asked the men of Penuel for food, just as he had asked the men of Succoth. But the men of Penuel gave Gideon the same answer that the men of Succoth had given. 9So Gideon said to the men of Penuel, “After I win the victory, I will come back here and pull this tower down.” 10Zebah and Zalmunna and their army were in the city of Karkor. Their army had 15,000 soldiers in it. These soldiers were all that were left of the army of the people of the east. 120,000 strong soldiers of that army had already been killed. 11Gideon and his men used Tent Dwellers’ Road. That road is east of the cities of Nobah and Jogbehah. Gideon came to the city of Karkor and attacked the enemy. The enemy army did not expect the attack. 12Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of the people of Midian, ran away. But Gideon chased and caught those kings. Gideon and his men defeated the enemy army. 13Then Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle. Gideon and his men returned by going through a mountain pass called the Pass of Heres. 14Gideon captured a young man from the city of Succoth. Gideon asked the young man some questions. The young man wrote down some names for Gideon. The young man wrote down the names of the leaders and elders of the city of Succoth. He gave the names of 77 men. 15Then Gideon came to the city of Succoth. He said to the men of that city, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. You made fun of me by saying, ‘Why should we give food to your tired soldiers? You have not caught Zebah and Zalmunna yet.’” 16Gideon took the elders of the city of Succoth, and he beat them with thorns and briers from the desert to punish them. 17Gideon also pulled down the tower in the city of Penuel. Then he killed the men living in that city. 18Then Gideon said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “You killed some men on Mount Tabor. What were those men like?” Zebah and Zalmunna answered, “Those men were like you. Each one of them seemed like a prince.” 19Gideon said, “Those men were my brothers! My mother’s sons! As the Lord lives, if you had not killed them, then I wouldn’t kill you now.” 20Then Gideon turned to Jether. Jether was Gideon’s oldest son. Gideon said to him, “Kill these kings.” But Jether was only a boy and was afraid. So he would not take out his sword. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said to Gideon, “Come on, kill us yourself. You are a man and strong enough to do the job.” So Gideon got up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna. Then Gideon took the decorations shaped like the moon off their camels’ necks.

Gideon Makes an Ephod

22The people of Israel said to Gideon, “You saved us from the people of Midian. So now, rule over us. We want you, your son and your grandson to rule over us.” 23But Gideon told the people of Israel, “The Lord will be your ruler. I will not rule over you. And my son will not rule over you.” 24Some of the people that the men of Israel defeated were Ishmaelites. And the Ishmaelite men wore gold earrings. So Gideon said to the people of Israel, “I want you to do this one thing for me. I want each of you to give me a gold earring from the things you took in the fighting.” 25So the people of Israel said to Gideon, “We will gladly give you what you want.” So they put a coat down on the ground. Each man threw an earring onto the coat. 26When those earrings were gathered up, they weighed about 43 pounds.* This did not include the other gifts the people of Israel gave to Gideon. They also gave him jewelry shaped like the moon and jewelry shaped like teardrops. And they gave him purple robes. These were things that the kings of the people of Midian had worn. They also gave him the chains from the camels of the Midianite kings. 27Gideon used the gold to make an ephod.* He put the ephod in his home town, the town called Ophrah. All the people of Israel worshiped the ephod. In this way, the people of Israel were not faithful to God—they worshiped the ephod.* The ephod became a trap that caused Gideon and his family to sin.

The Death of Gideon

28The people of Midian were forced to be under the rule of the people of Israel. The people of Midian did not cause trouble any more. And the land was at peace for 40 years, as long as Gideon was alive. 29Jerub Baal (Gideon) son of Joash went home. 30Gideon had 70 sons of his own. He had so many sons because he had many wives. 31Gideon had a concubine* that lived in the city of Shechem. He had a son with that concubine. He named that son Abimelech. 32So Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age. Gideon was buried in the tomb that Joash, his father, owned. That tomb is in the city of Ophrah, where the Abiezer family lives. 33As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel again were not faithful to God—they followed Baal.* They made Baal Berith* their god. 34The people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, even though the Lord had saved them from all their enemies that were living all around the people of Israel. 35The people of Israel were not loyal to the family of Jerub Baal (Gideon), even though he had done many good things for them.

hungry This if from the ancient Greek translation. The Hebrew has, “chasing.” 43 pounds Literally, “1,700 {shekels}.” ephod We do not know exactly what this was. It may have been a special vest or coat, like the High Priest of Israel wore (see Exodus 28). Or it may have been an idol. were not faithful … ephod Literally, “acted like a prostitute to it.” concubine A slave woman that was like a wife to a man. were not faithful … Baal Literally, “they acted like a prostitute to Baal.” Baal Berith The name of this god means “Lord of the Agreement. 

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