Judges 8

1The 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. 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. 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. 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.

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