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Gideon Pursues Zebah and Zalmunna

The men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against the Midianites?”[a] And they quarreled with him severely. And he said to them, “What I have done now in comparison with you? Are not the gleanings of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? God has given into your hand the commanders of Midian, Oreb, and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” And their anger[b] against him subsided when he said that.[c]

Then Gideon came to the Jordan, crossing it with the three hundred men who were with him, weary and pursuing. He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me,[d] for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” The officials of Succoth said, “Is the hand[e] of Zebah and Zalmunna in your hand now, that we should give bread to your army?” Gideon said, “Well then, when Yahweh gives Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will trample your flesh with the thorns and briers of the wilderness.” He went from there to Penuel, and he spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth answered. And he said also to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I return safely,[f] I will tear down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand men remained from the entire army[g] of the people of the east; those that fell in battle were one hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen.[h] 11 And Gideon went up the route of those who dwell in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and he attacked the army[i] when it was off its guard.[j] 12 And Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and he routed[k] the entire army.[l]

13 Then Gideon son of Jehoash returned from the battle by way of[m] the ascent of Heres.[n] 14 He captured a young man from Succoth[o] and questioned him. The young man listed[p] for him the commanders of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15 He came to the men of Succoth, and he said, “Here is Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Is the palm[q] of Zebah and Zalmunna in your hand now, that we should give food to your weary men?’” 16 He took the elders of the city and the thorn bushes and briers of the wilderness, and he trampled[r] the men of Succoth with them. 17 He broke down the tower of Penuel, and he killed the men of the city.

18 And he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What type were the men whom you killed at Tabor?” And they said, “They were like you;[s] each one of them had the appearance of the sons of the king.” 19 He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As Yahweh lives, if you had kept them alive I would not kill you.” 20 And he said to Jether, his firstborn, “Get up, kill them.” But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was afraid because he was still a boy. 21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Get up yourself, and strike us, for as is the man, so is his power.”[t] So Gideon got up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.

22 The men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your sons, and your sons’ son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian. 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; Yahweh will rule over you.” 24 And Gideon said to them, “Let me make a request of you,[u] that each of you give to me an ornamental ring from his plunder.” (They had ornamental rings of gold, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 They said, “We will gladly give them,” and they spread out a garment, and everyone threw there an ornamental ring of his plunder. 26 The weight of the ornamental rings of gold that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, apart from the crescents, pendants, and purple garments that were on the kings of Midian, and apart from the pendants that were on the necks of their camels. 27 Gideon made an ephod out of it, and he put it in his town in Ophrah, and all Israel prostituted themselves to it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family. 28 And Midian was subdued before the Israelites,[v] and they did not again lift up their head, and the land rested for forty years in the days of Gideon.

The Death of Gideon

29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring,[w] for he had many wives. 31 His concubine who was in Shechem also bore for him a son, and he named him[x] Abimelech. 32 And Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age, and he was buried in the tomb of Jehoash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.[y]

33 And it happened, as soon as Gideon died, the Israelites[z] returned and prostituted themselves after the Baals, and they made for themselves Baal-Berith as god. 34 The Israelites[aa] did not remember Yahweh their God, who had delivered them from the hand of their enemies from all around, 35 nor did they show favor[ab] to the house of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in accordance with all the good that he did for Israel.


  1. Judges 8:1 Hebrew “Midianite”
  2. Judges 8:3 Literally “spirit”
  3. Judges 8:3 Literally “he said this thing/word”
  4. Judges 8:5 Literally “at my feet”
  5. Judges 8:6 Or “palm”
  6. Judges 8:9 Literally “in peace”
  7. Judges 8:10 Or “camp”
  8. Judges 8:10 Literally “sword-drawing men”
  9. Judges 8:11 Or “camp”
  10. Judges 8:11 Or “unsuspecting”
  11. Judges 8:12 Or “he frightened” or “he threw into panic”
  12. Judges 8:12 Or “camp”
  13. Judges 8:13 Literally “from”
  14. Judges 8:13 Or “pass of Heres”
  15. Judges 8:14 Literally “from the men of Succoth”
  16. Judges 8:14 Or “wrote down”
  17. Judges 8:15 Or “hand”
  18. Judges 8:16 Literally “he taught,” but see v. 7
  19. Judges 8:18 Literally, “like you, like them”
  20. Judges 8:21 Or “strength”
  21. Judges 8:24 Literally “Let me ask from you a request”
  22. Judges 8:28 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  23. Judges 8:30 Literally “from his own loins”
  24. Judges 8:31 Literally “he set his name”
  25. Judges 8:32 Hebrew “Abiezrite”
  26. Judges 8:33 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  27. Judges 8:34 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  28. Judges 8:35 Or “loyalty”