Gideon’s Valiant Three Hundred

Then (A)Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel (B)claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, (C)‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’ ” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, (D)“By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his [a]place.” So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent, and retained those three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

It happened on the same (E)night that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, 11 and you shall (F)hear what they say; and afterward [b]your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites and Amalekites, (G)all the people of the East, were lying in the valley (H)as numerous as locusts; and their camels were [c]without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude.

13 And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.”

14 Then his companion answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand (I)God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.”

15 And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.” 16 Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers. 17 And he said to them, “Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do: 18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!’ ”

19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers—they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing—and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” 21 And (J)every man stood in his place all around the camp; (K)and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. 22 When the three hundred (L)blew the trumpets, (M)the Lord set (N)every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to [d]Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of (O)Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

23 And the men of Israel gathered together from (P)Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh, and pursued the Midianites.

24 Then Gideon sent messengers throughout all the (Q)mountains of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites, and seize from them the watering places as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan.” Then all the men of Ephraim gathered together and (R)seized the watering places as far as (S)Beth Barah and the Jordan. 25 And they captured (T)two princes of the Midianites, (U)Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued Midian and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the (V)other side of the Jordan.

Gideon Subdues the Midianites

Now (W)the men of Ephraim said to him, “Why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites?” And they reprimanded him sharply.

So he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the [e]gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than [f]the vintage of (X)Abiezer? (Y)God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their (Z)anger toward him subsided when he said that.

When Gideon came (AA)to the Jordan, he and (AB)the three hundred men who were with him crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit. Then he said to the men of (AC)Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.”

And the leaders of Succoth said, (AD)Are[g] the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that (AE)we should give bread to your army?”

So Gideon said, “For this cause, when the Lord has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, (AF)then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers!” Then he went up from there (AG)to Penuel and spoke to them in the same way. And the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. So he also spoke to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I (AH)come back in peace, (AI)I will tear down this tower!”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were at Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand, all who were left of (AJ)all the army of the people of the East; for (AK)one hundred and twenty thousand men who drew the sword had fallen. 11 Then Gideon went up by the road of those who dwell in tents on the east of (AL)Nobah and Jogbehah; and he [h]attacked the army while the camp felt (AM)secure. 12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them; and he (AN)took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army.

13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle, from the Ascent of Heres. 14 And he caught a young man of the men of Succoth and interrogated him; and he wrote down for him the leaders of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15 Then he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you (AO)ridiculed me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your weary men?’ ” 16 (AP)And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he [i]taught the men of Succoth. 17 (AQ)Then he tore down the tower of (AR)Penuel and killed the men of the city.

18 And he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at (AS)Tabor?”

So they answered, “As you are, so were they; each one resembled the son of a king.”

19 Then he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20 And he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them!” But the youth would not draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was still a youth.

21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself, and kill us; for as a man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and (AT)killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.

Gideon’s Ephod

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, (AU)“Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have (AV)delivered us from the hand of Midian.”

23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; (AW)the Lord shall rule over you.” 24 Then Gideon said to them, “I would like to [j]make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder.” For they had golden earrings, (AX)because they were Ishmaelites.

25 So they answered, “We will gladly give them.” And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder. 26 Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks. 27 Then Gideon (AY)made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, (AZ)Ophrah. And all Israel (BA)played the harlot with it there. It became (BB)a snare to Gideon and to his house.

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted their heads no more. (BC)And the country was quiet for forty years in the days of Gideon.

Death of Gideon

29 Then (BD)Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. 30 Gideon had (BE)seventy sons who were his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31 (BF)And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 32 Now Gideon the son of Joash died (BG)at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, (BH)in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 So it was, (BI)as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again (BJ)played the harlot with the Baals, (BK)and made Baal-Berith their god. 34 Thus the children of Israel (BL)did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; 35 (BM)nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 7:7 home
  2. Judges 7:11 you shall be encouraged
  3. Judges 7:12 innumerable
  4. Judges 7:22 Heb. Beth Shittah
  5. Judges 8:2 Few grapes left after the harvest
  6. Judges 8:2 The whole harvest
  7. Judges 8:6 Lit. Is the palm
  8. Judges 8:11 Lit. struck
  9. Judges 8:16 disciplined
  10. Judges 8:24 Lit. request a request