Judges 8 Good News Translation (GNT)
The Final Defeat of the Midianites
8 Then the people of Ephraim said to Gideon, “Why didn't you call us when you went to fight the Midianites? Why did you treat us like this?” They complained bitterly about it.
2 But he told them, “What I was able to do is nothing compared with what you have done. Even the little that you people of Ephraim did is worth more than what my whole clan has done. 3 After all, through the power of God you killed the two Midianite chiefs, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I done to compare with that?” When he said this, they were no longer so angry.
4 By this time Gideon and his three hundred men had come to the Jordan River and had crossed it. They were exhausted, but were still pursuing the enemy. 5 When they arrived at Sukkoth, he said to the men of the town, “Please give my men some loaves of bread. They are exhausted, and I am chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, the Midianite kings.”
6 But the leaders of Sukkoth said, “Why should we give your army any food? You haven't captured Zebah and Zalmunna yet.”
7 So Gideon said, “All right! When the Lord has handed Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, I will beat you with thorns and briers from the desert!” 8 Gideon went on to Penuel and made the same request of the people there, but the men of Penuel gave the same answer as the men of Sukkoth. 9 So he said to them, “I am going to come back safe and sound, and when I do, I will tear this tower down!”
10 Zebah and Zalmunna were at Karkor with their army. Of the whole army of desert tribesmen, only about 15,000 were left; 120,000 soldiers had been killed. 11 Gideon went on the road along the edge of the desert, east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the army by surprise. 12 The two Midianite kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, ran away, but he pursued them and captured them, and caused their whole army to panic.
13 When Gideon was returning from the battle by way of Heres Pass, 14 he captured a young man from Sukkoth and questioned him. The young man wrote down for Gideon the names of the seventy-seven leading men of Sukkoth. 15 Then Gideon went to the men of Sukkoth and said, “Remember when you refused to help me? You said that you couldn't give any food to my exhausted army because I hadn't captured Zebah and Zalmunna yet. Well, here they are!” 16 He then took thorns and briers from the desert and used them to punish the leaders of Sukkoth. 17 He also tore down the tower at Penuel and killed the men of that city.
18 Then Gideon asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What about the men you killed at Tabor?”
They answered, “They looked like you—every one of them like the son of a king.”
19 Gideon said, “They were my brothers, my own mother's sons. I solemnly swear that if you had not killed them, I would not kill you.” 20 Then he said to Jether, his oldest son, “Go ahead, kill them!” But the boy did not draw his sword. He hesitated, because he was still only a boy.
21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said to Gideon, “Come on, kill us yourself. It takes a man to do a man's job.” So Gideon killed them and took the ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.
22 After that, the Israelites said to Gideon, “Be our ruler—you and your descendants after you. You have saved us from the Midianites.”
23 Gideon answered, “I will not be your ruler, nor will my son. The Lord will be your ruler.” 24 But he went on to say, “Let me ask one thing of you. Every one of you give me the earrings you took.” (The Midianites, like other desert people, wore gold earrings.)
25 The people answered, “We'll be glad to give them to you.” They spread out a cloth, and everyone put on it the earrings that he had taken. 26 The gold earrings that Gideon got weighed over forty pounds, and this did not include the ornaments, necklaces, and purple clothes that the kings of Midian wore, nor the collars that were around the necks of their camels. 27 Gideon made an idol from the gold and put it in his hometown, Ophrah. All the Israelites abandoned God and went there to worship the idol. It was a trap for Gideon and his family.
28 So Midian was defeated by the Israelites and was no longer a threat. The land was at peace for forty years, until Gideon died.
The Death of Gideon
29 Gideon went back to his own home and lived there. 30 He had seventy sons, because he had many wives. 31 He also had a concubine in Shechem; she bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, at Ophrah, the town of the clan of Abiezer.
33 After Gideon's death the people of Israel were unfaithful to God again and worshiped the Baals. They made Baal-of-the-Covenant their god, 34 and no longer served the Lord their God, who had saved them from all their enemies around them. 35 They were not grateful to the family of Gideon for all the good that he had done for Israel.
Judges 8 New International Version (NIV)
Zebah and Zalmunna
8 Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they challenged him vigorously.
2 But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? 3 God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.
4 Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. 5 He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”
6 But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?”
7 Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”
8 From there he went up to Peniel[a] and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had. 9 So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. 11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting army. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.
13 Gideon son of Joash then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres. 14 He caught a young man of Sukkoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Sukkoth, the elders of the town. 15 Then Gideon came and said to the men of Sukkoth, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, ‘Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?’” 16 He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sukkoth a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briers. 17 He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.
18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?”
“Men like you,” they answered, “each one with the bearing of a prince.”
19 Gideon replied, “Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the Lord lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.” 20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, “Kill them!” But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.
21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.’” So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels’ necks.
22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”
23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” 24 And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)
25 They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. 26 The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels,[b] not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.
29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god 34 and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.