Israel Oppressed by Midian

Then the sons of Israel (A)did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord handed them over to (B)Midian for seven years. The [a]power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves (C)the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. For whenever Israel had sown, the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the [b]people of the east and [c]march against them. So they would camp against them and (D)destroy the produce of the earth [d]as far as Gaza, and (E)leave no sustenance in Israel, nor a sheep, ox, or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in (F)like locusts in number, and both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to ruin it. So Israel was brought (G)very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord.

Now it came about, when the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of Midian, that the Lord sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and (H)he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of [e]slavery. And I rescued you from the hands of the Egyptians, and from the hands of all your oppressors, and I drove them out from you and gave you their land, 10 and I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; you (I)shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live.” But you have not [f]obeyed Me.’”

Gideon Is Visited

11 Then (J)the angel of the Lord came and sat under the [g]oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the (K)Abiezrite, as his son (L)Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior.” 13 Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did the Lord not bring us up from Egypt?’ But (M)now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.” 14 And the Lord [h]looked at him and said, “(N)Go in this strength of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” 15 (O)But he said to Him, “O Lord, [i]how am I to save Israel? Behold, my family is the least in (P)Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” 16 (Q)Yet the Lord said to him, “I will certainly be with you, and you will [j]defeat Midian as one man.” 17 So [k]Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then perform for me (R)a sign that it is You speaking with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”

19 Then Gideon went in and (S)prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an [l]ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket [m]and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the [n]oak and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” 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 (T)fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord [o]vanished from his sight. 22 (U)When Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord, [p]he said, “Oh, Lord [q]God! For I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” 23 But 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 [r]The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still (V)in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25 Now on the same night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull [s]and a second bull seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the [t](W)Asherah that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly way, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27 Then Gideon took ten men from his servants and did as the Lord had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.

The Altar of Baal Destroyed

28 When the people of the city got up early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal had been torn down, and the Asherah which had been beside it had been cut down, and the second bull had been offered on the altar which had been built. 29 So they said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you save him? Whoever will contend for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, since someone has torn down his altar!” 32 Therefore on that day he named [u]Gideon (X)Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he had torn down his altar.

33 Then all the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the [v]people of the east assembled together; and they crossed over and camped in (Y)the Valley of Jezreel. 34 So (Z)the Spirit of the Lord [w]covered Gideon like clothing; and he (AA)blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, (AB)Zebulun, and Naphtali, and (AC)they came up to meet them.

Sign of the Fleece

36 Then Gideon said to God, “(AD)If You are going to save Israel [x]through me, as You have spoken, 37 behold, I am putting a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will save Israel [y]through me, as You have spoken.” 38 And it was so. When he got up early the next morning and wrung out the fleece, he wrung the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “(AE)Do not let Your anger burn against me, so that I may speak only one more time; please let me put You to the test only one more time with the fleece: let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” 40 And God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 6:2 Lit hand
  2. Judges 6:3 Lit sons
  3. Judges 6:3 Lit go up against
  4. Judges 6:4 Lit until your coming to
  5. Judges 6:8 Lit slaves
  6. Judges 6:10 Lit listened to My voice
  7. Judges 6:11 Or terebinth
  8. Judges 6:14 Or turned toward
  9. Judges 6:15 Lit with what
  10. Judges 6:16 Lit strike
  11. Judges 6:17 Lit he
  12. Judges 6:19 About 1 cubic foot or 0.03 cubic meters
  13. Judges 6:19 Lit and he put
  14. Judges 6:19 Or terebinth
  15. Judges 6:21 Lit departed
  16. Judges 6:22 Lit Gideon
  17. Judges 6:22 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  18. Judges 6:24 Heb Yahweh-shalom
  19. Judges 6:25 Or even
  20. Judges 6:25 I.e., wooden symbol of a female deity; also vv 26, 28, 30
  21. Judges 6:32 Lit him
  22. Judges 6:33 Lit sons
  23. Judges 6:34 Lit clothed
  24. Judges 6:36 Lit by my hand
  25. Judges 6:37 Lit by my hand