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Judges 6Amplified Bible (AMP)

Israel Oppressed by Midian

Then the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. The [powerful] hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens (hideouts) which were in the mountains, and the caves and the [mountain] strongholds. For it was whenever Israel had sown [their seed] that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the people of the east and go up against them. So they would camp against them and destroy the crops of the land as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, and they would come in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were innumerable. So they came into the land to devastate it. So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the Israelites cried out to the Lord [for help].

Now it came about when they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, that the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites, and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. And I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land, 10 and I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live.” But you have not listened to and obeyed My voice.’”

Gideon Is Visited

11 Now the [a]Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, and his son Gideon was beating wheat in the wine press [instead of the threshing floor] to [hide it and] save it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O brave man.” 13 But Gideon said to him, “Please my lord, if the Lord is with us, then why has all this happened to us? And where are all His wondrous works which our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this strength of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” 15 But Gideon said to Him, “Please Lord, how am I to rescue Israel? Behold, my family is the least [significant] in Manasseh, and I am the youngest (smallest) in my father’s house.” 16 The Lord answered him, “I will certainly be with you, and you will strike down the Midianites as [if they were only] one man.” 17 Gideon replied to Him, “If I have found any favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speaks with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come back to You, and bring my offering and place it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you return.”

19 Then Gideon went and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket and the broth in a pot, and he brought the food to Him under the oak (terebinth) and presented it. 20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth [over them].” And he did so. 21 Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire flared up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the Angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 When Gideon realized [without any doubt] that He was the Angel of the Lord, he declared, “[b]Oh no, Lord God! For now I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face [and I am doomed]!” 23 The Lord said to him, “Peace to you, do not be afraid; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah, of the Abiezrites.

25 Now on that same night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down [c]the Asherah that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this mountain stronghold [with stones laid down] in an orderly way. Then take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice using the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did just as the Lord had told him; but because he was too afraid of his father’s household (relatives) and the men of the city to do it during daylight, he did it at night.

The Altar of Baal Destroyed

28 Early the next morning when the men of the city got up, they discovered that the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. 29 So they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” When they searched about and inquired, they were told, “Gideon the son of Joash did it.” 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, so that he may be executed, because he has torn down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you [d]plead for Baal? Will you save him? Whoever pleads for Baal shall be put to death while it is still morning. If Baal is a god, let him defend himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” 32 Therefore on that day he named Gideon Jerubbaal, [e]meaning, “Let Baal plead,” because he had torn down his altar.

33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east assembled together; and they crossed over [the Jordan] and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 So the Spirit of the Lord [f]clothed Gideon [and empowered him]; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together [as a militia] to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout [the tribe of] Manasseh, and the fighting men were also called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to [the tribes of] Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.

Sign of the Fleece

36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You are going to rescue Israel through me, as You have spoken, 37 behold, I will put a fleece of [freshly sheared] wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece, and it is dry on all the ground [around it], then I will know that You will rescue Israel through me, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he got up early the next morning and squeezed the dew out of the fleece, he wrung from it a bowl full of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let your anger burn against me, so that I may speak once more. Please let me make a test once more with the fleece; now let only the fleece be dry, and let there be dew on all the ground.” 40 God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and there was dew on all the ground [around it].

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 6:11 “Angel” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see note Gen 16:7).
  2. Judges 6:22 Lit Alas.
  3. Judges 6:25 I.e. a wooden pole set up to honor a pagan goddess.
  4. Judges 6:31 Lit contend.
  5. Judges 6:32 Lit to say.
  6. Judges 6:34 I.e. came upon.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Judges 6New International Version (NIV)

Gideon

The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

19 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah[a] of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”

24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25 That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old.[b] Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole[c] beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of[d] altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second[e] bull as a burnt offering.

27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.

28 In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!

29 They asked each other, “Who did this?”

When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”

30 The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal[f] that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”

33 Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.

36 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.

39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 6:19 That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms
  2. Judges 6:25 Or Take a full-grown, mature bull from your father’s herd
  3. Judges 6:25 That is, a wooden symbol of the goddess Asherah; also in verses 26, 28 and 30
  4. Judges 6:26 Or build with layers of stone an
  5. Judges 6:26 Or full-grown; also in verse 28
  6. Judges 6:32 Jerub-Baal probably means let Baal contend.
New International Version (NIV)

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