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And the Ish Ephrayim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with Midyan? And they did criticize him sharply.

And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephrayim tov (better) than the vintage of Aviezer?

Elohim hath delivered into your hands the sarim of Midyan, Orev and Ze’ev; and what was I able to do in comparison with you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.

And Gid’on came to the Yarden, and passed over, he, and the three hundred haIsh that were with him, exhausted yet pursuing them.

And he said unto the Anshei Sukkot, Give, now, loaves of lechem unto the people that follow me; for they be exhausted, and I am pursuing after Zevach and Tzalmunna, melachim of Midyan.

And the sarei Sukkot said, Are the hands of Zevach and Tzalmunna now in thine yad, that we should give lechem unto thine tz’va (army)?

And Gid’on said, Therefore when Hashem hath delivered Zevach and Tzalmunna into mine yad, then I will tear your basar with the kotz (thorns) of the midbar and with briers.

And he went up from there to Penuel [Peniel], and spoke unto them likewise; and the Anshei Penuel [Peniel] answered him as the men of Sukkot had answered him.

And he spoke also unto the Anshei Penuel, saying, When I come again in shalom, I will break down this migdal.

10 Now Zevach and Tzalmunna were in Karkor, and their machaneh with them, about 15,000, all that were left of all the machaneh of the Bnei Kedem; for there fell a 120,000 Ish that drew the cherev.

11 And Gid’on went up by the derech of them that dwelt in ohalim on the east of Novach and Yogbehah, and struck down the machaneh; for the machaneh was unsuspecting, thinking themselves secure.

12 And when Zevach and Tzalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two melachim of Midyan, Zevach and Tzalmunna, and did rout all the machaneh.

13 And Gid’on ben Yoash returned from milchamah by the Cheres Pass,

14 And caught a na’ar of the Anshei Sukkot, and inquired of him; and he wrote down for him the sarim of Sukkot, and the zekenim thereof, even threescore and seventeen ish.

15 And he came unto the Anshei Sukkot, and said, Hinei, Zevach and Tzalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zevach and Tzalmunna now in thine yad, that we should give lechem unto thy anashim that are exhausted?

16 And he took the zekenim of the Ir, kotz of the midbar and briers, and with them he taught the Anashim of Sukkot.

17 And he pulled down the migdal of Penuel [Peniel], and put to death the Anshei HaIr.

18 Then said he unto Zevach and Tzalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slaughtered at Tavor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one with the bearing of Bnei HaMelech.

19 And he said, They were my brethren, even the Bnei Immi; as Hashem liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I should not have put you to death.

20 And he said unto Yeter his bechor, Up, and slay them. But the na’ar (youth) drew not his cherev; for he feared, because he was yet a na’ar.

21 Then Zevach and Tzalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us; for as the ish is, so is his gevurah. And Gid’on arose, and put to death Zevach and Tzalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.

22 Then the Ish Yisroel said unto Gid’on, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy ben, and the ben of thy ben also; for thou hast delivered us from the yad Midyan.

23 And Gid’on said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall beni rule over you; Hashem shall rule over you.

24 And Gid’on said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every ish the nezem (earring) of his booty—for they had nizmei zahav (gold earrings), because they were Yishmaelim [descendents of Ishmael].

25 And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread out a simlah (upper garment), and did cast therein every ish the nezem of his booty.

26 And the weight of the nizmei hazahav that he requested was 1,700 shekels of zahav; beside ornaments, and pendants, and purple raiment that was on the melachim of Midyan, and apart from the chains that were about their camels’ necks.

27 And Gid’on made an ephod thereof, and put it in his Ir, even in Ophrah; and kol Yisroel went there a-whoring after it; which thing became a mokesh (snare) unto Gid’on, and to his Bais.

28 Thus was Midyan subdued before the Bnei Yisroel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And HaAretz was in quietness arba’im shanah in the days of Gid’on.

29 And Yerubaal ben Yoash went and dwelt in his own bais.

30 And Gid’on had threescore and ten banim of his own; for he had many nashim.

31 And his pilegesh (concubine) that was in Shechem, she also bore him a ben, whose shem he called Avimelech.

32 And Gid’on ben Yoash died in a good old age, and was buried in the kever of Yoash his av, in Ophrah of the Aviezri.

33 And it came to pass, as soon as Gid’on was dead, that the Bnei Yisroel turned again, and went a-whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-brit their elohim.

34 And the Bnei Yisroel remembered not Hashem Eloheihem, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side;

35 Neither showed they chesed to the Bais Yerubaal, namely, Gid’on, according to all the tovah which he had showed unto Yisroel.

Zebah and Zalmunna

Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon,(A) “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?(B)(C) And they challenged him vigorously.(D)

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?(E) God gave Oreb and Zeeb,(F) the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.

Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan(G) and crossed it. He said to the men of Sukkoth,(H) “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out,(I) and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna,(J) the kings of Midian.”

But the officials of Sukkoth(K) said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread(L) to your troops?”(M)

Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna(N) into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”

From there he went up to Peniel[a](O) and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had. So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”(P)

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.(Q) 11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah(R) and Jogbehah(S) 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(T) then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres.(U) 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,(V) the elders(W) 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?(X)’” 16 He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sukkoth a lesson(Y) by punishing them with desert thorns and briers. 17 He also pulled down the tower of Peniel(Z) and killed the men of the town.(AA)

18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?(AB)

“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,(AC) 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(AD) off their camels’ necks.

Gideon’s Ephod

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(AE) over you.” 24 And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring(AF) from your share of the plunder.(AG)” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites(AH) 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(AI) that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod,(AJ) which he placed in Ophrah,(AK) his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare(AL) to Gideon and his family.(AM)

Gideon’s Death

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head(AN) again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace(AO) forty years.

29 Jerub-Baal(AP) son of Joash(AQ) went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons(AR) of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine,(AS) who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek.(AT) 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age(AU) 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.(AV) They set up Baal-Berith(AW) as their god(AX) 34 and did not remember(AY) 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(AZ) (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.(BA)


  1. Judges 8:8 Hebrew Penuel, a variant of Peniel; also in verses 9 and 17
  2. Judges 8:26 That is, about 43 pounds or about 20 kilograms