2 But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer?m 3 God gave Oreb and Zeeb,n the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.
4 Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordano and crossed it. 5 He said to the men of Sukkoth,p “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out,q and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna,r the kings of Midian.”
7 Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunnav into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”
8 From there he went up to Peniela w and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had. 9 So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”x
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen.y 11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobahz and Jogbehaha and attacked the unsuspecting army. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.
13 Gideon son of Joashb then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres.c 14 He caught a young man of Sukkoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Sukkoth,d the elderse of the town. 15 Then Gideon came and said to the men of Sukkoth, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, ‘Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?f’ ” 16 He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sukkoth a lessong by punishing them with desert thorns and briers. 17 He also pulled down the tower of Penielh and killed the men of the town.i
18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?j”
“Men like you,” they answered, “each one with the bearing of a prince.”
19 Gideon replied, “Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the Lord lives,k if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.” 20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, “Kill them!” But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.
21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.’ ” So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornamentsl off their camels’ necks.
22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”
23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rulem over you.” 24 And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earringn from your share of the plunder.o” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelitesp to wear gold earrings.)
25 They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. 26 The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels,b not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chainsq that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod,r which he placed in Ophrah,s his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snaret to Gideon and his family.u
29 Jerub-Baalx son of Joashy went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sonsz of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine,a who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek.b 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old agec and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals.d They set up Baal-Berithe as their godf 34 and did not rememberg the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baalh (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.i
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