Christian Standard Bible
Midian Oppresses Israel
6 The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.(A) So the Lord handed(B) them over to Midian seven years, 2 and they oppressed Israel.(C) Because of Midian, the Israelites made hiding places(D) for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people of the east(E) came and attacked them. 4 They encamped against them and destroyed the produce of the land, even as far as Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to eat, as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. 5 For the Midianites came with their cattle and their tents like a great swarm of locusts.(F) They and their camels were without number, and they entered the land to lay waste to it. 6 So Israel became poverty-stricken because of Midian, and the Israelites cried out to the Lord.(G)
7 When the Israelites cried out to him because of Midian, 8 the Lord sent a prophet(H) to them. He said to them, “This is what the Lord(I) God of Israel says: ‘I brought you out of Egypt and out of the place of slavery.(J) 9 I rescued you from the power of Egypt and the power of all who oppressed(K) you. I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you: I am the Lord your God. Do not fear the gods of the Amorites whose land you live in.(L) But you did not obey me.’”
The Lord Calls Gideon
11 The angel of the Lord(M) came, and he sat under the oak that was in Ophrah,(N) which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior.”(O)
13 Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about? They said, ‘Hasn’t the Lord brought us out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.”
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the grasp of Midian. I am sending you!” (P)
15 He said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s family.”
16 “But I will be with you,”(Q) the Lord said to him. “You will strike Midian down as if it were one man.”
17 Then he said to him, “If I have found favor with you,(R) give me a sign(S) that you are speaking with me. 18 Please do not leave this place until I return to you. Let me bring my gift and set it before you.”
And he said, “I will stay until you return.”
19 So Gideon went and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from a half bushel[a] of flour. He placed the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. He brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
20 The angel of God(T) said to him, “Take the meat with the unleavened bread, put it on this stone, and pour the broth on it.” So he did that.
21 The angel of the Lord extended the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.
23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace to you. Don’t be afraid, for you will not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace.[b] It is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites today.
Gideon Tears Down a Baal Altar
25 On that very night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull and a second bull seven years old. Then tear down the altar of Baal(W) that belongs to your father and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Build a well-constructed altar to the Lord your God on the top of this mound.(X) Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten of his male servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his father’s family and the men of the city to do it in the daytime, he did it at night.
28 When the men of the city got up in the morning, they found Baal’s altar torn down, the Asherah pole beside it cut down, and the second bull offered up on the altar that had been built. 29 They said to each other, “Who did this?” After they made a thorough investigation, they said, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”
30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he tore down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”
31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead Baal’s case for him? Would you save him? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead his own case because someone tore down his altar.” 32 That day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, since Joash said, “Let Baal contend with him,” because he tore down his altar.
The Sign of the Fleece
33 All the Midianites, Amalekites, and people of the east gathered together, crossed over the Jordan, and camped in the Jezreel Valley.(Y)
34 The Spirit of the Lord enveloped[c] Gideon,(Z) and he blew the ram’s horn and the Abiezrites rallied behind him. 35 He sent messengers throughout all of Manasseh, who rallied behind him. He also sent messengers throughout Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, who also came to meet him.
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will deliver Israel by me, as you said, 37 I will put a wool fleece here on the threshing floor. If dew is only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that you will deliver Israel by me, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. When he got up early in the morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of it, filling a bowl with water.
39 Gideon then said to God, “Don’t be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me to make one more test with the fleece. Let it remain dry, and the dew be all over the ground.” 40 That night God did as Gideon requested: only the fleece was dry, and dew was all over the ground.
God Selects Gideon’s Army
7 Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the troops who were with him, got up early and camped beside the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them, below the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many troops for me to hand the Midianites over to them, or else Israel might elevate themselves over me and say,[d] ‘I saved myself.’ 3 Now announce to the troops, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’”(AA) So twenty-two thousand of the troops turned back, but ten thousand remained.
4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many troops. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say to you, ‘This one can go with you,’ he can go. But if I say about anyone, ‘This one cannot go with you,’ he cannot go.” 5 So he brought the troops down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon, “Separate everyone who laps water with his tongue like a dog. Do the same with everyone who kneels to drink.” 6 The number of those who lapped with their hands to their mouths was three hundred men, and all the rest of the troops knelt to drink water. 7 The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you(AB) with the three hundred men who lapped and hand the Midianites over to you. But everyone else is to go home.” 8 So Gideon sent all the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred troops, who took the provisions and their ram’s horns. The camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
Gideon Spies on the Midianite Camp
9 That night the Lord said to him, “Get up and attack the camp, for I have handed it over to you.(AC) 10 But if you are afraid to attack the camp, go down with Purah your servant. 11 Listen to what they say, and then you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the troops[e] who were in the camp.
12 Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the people of the east had settled down in the valley like a swarm of locusts, and their camels were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore. 13 When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling his friend about a dream. He said, “Listen, I had a dream:(AD) a loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp, struck a tent, and it fell. The loaf turned the tent upside down so that it collapsed.”
14 His friend answered, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him.”
Gideon Attacks the Midianites
15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to Israel’s camp and said, “Get up, for the Lord has handed the Midianite camp over to you.” 16 Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies and gave each of the men a ram’s horn in one hand and an empty pitcher with a torch inside it in the other hand.
17 “Watch me,” he said to them, “and do what I do. When I come to the outpost of the camp, do as I do. 18 When I and everyone with me blow our ram’s horns, you are also to blow your ram’s horns all around the camp. Then you will say, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”
19 Gideon and the hundred men who were with him went to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch after the sentries had been stationed. They blew their ram’s horns and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew their ram’s horns and shattered their pitchers. They held their torches in their left hands and their ram’s horns to blow in their right hands, and they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Each Israelite took his position around the camp, and the entire Midianite army began to run, and they cried out as they fled. 22 When Gideon’s men blew their three hundred ram’s horns, the Lord caused the men in the whole army to turn on each other with their swords.(AE) They fled to Acacia House[f] in the direction of Zererah as far as the border of Abel-meholah(AF) near Tabbath. 23 Then the men of Israel were called from Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, and they pursued the Midianites.
The Men of Ephraim Join the Battle
24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim with this message: “Come down to intercept the Midianites and take control of the watercourses ahead of them as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim(AG) were called out, and they took control of the watercourses as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 They captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian; they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb, while they were pursuing the Midianites. They brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan.