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Free Bible Version - Judges

Judges 8

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1Then the men of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn't you call us when you went to attack the Midianite?” They argued furiously with him.
2“Now what have I achieved in comparison to you?” Gideon replied. “Even Ephraim's left-over grapes are better than Abiezer's whole grape harvest!
3God handed over to you Oreb and Zeeb, the two Midianite commanders. What have I managed to achieve in comparison to you?” When he told them this their animosity towards him died down.
4Then Gideon crossed the Jordan with his three hundred men. Even though they were exhausted they continued the chase.
5When they got to Succoth, Gideon asked the people there, “Please provide some bread to the men with me because they're worn out—I'm pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the Midianite kings.”
6But the Succoth town leaders replied, “Why should we give your army bread when you haven't even captured Zebah and Zalmunna yet?”
7“In that case, once the Lord has handed Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, I'll return and thrash you with thorns and briers from the desert!” Gideon replied.
8He left and went to Penuel and asked them the same thing, but the people of Penuel answered the same way as the people of Succoth.
9So he told them, “When I return victorious, I'll demolish this tower!”
10Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their armies of around fifteen thousand men. These were all who remained of the armies of the people of the East—one hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had already been killed.
11Gideon took the caravan route to the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and he attacked their army, catching them offguard.
12Zebah and Zalmunna ran away, but he chased after the two Midianite kings and captured them, defeating the whole of their terrified army.
13Then Gideon, son of Joash, returned from the battle through the Heres Pass.
14There he captured a young man from Succoth and questioned him. The man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven leaders and elders of Succoth.
15Gideon went and said to the Sukkoth town leaders, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, the ones you taunted me about when you said, ‘Why should we give your exhausted army bread when you haven't even captured Zebah and Zalmunna yet?’”
16So he took the town elders of Succoth and taught them a lesson using thorns and briers from the desert.
17He also demolished the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.
18Then Gideon asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What were they like, the men you killed at Tabor?” “They looked like you,” they answered. “Each of them had the stature of a prince.”

19“Those were my brothers, my mother's sons,” Gideon burst out. “As the Lord lives, if you had let them live, I wouldn't kill you!”
20He told Jether, his oldest son, “Go on, kill them!” But the boy refused to draw his sword, because he was young and afraid.
21Zebah and Zalmunna said to Gideon, “Come on, you do it! Show yourself a man and kill us!” So Gideon went over and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescent-shaped ornaments from the necks of their camels.
22Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “You must become our ruler, you, your son, and your grandson; because you've saved us from the Midianites.”
23“I won't be your ruler, and my son won't either,” Gideon replied. “The Lord will be your ruler.”
24Then Gideon said, “I have a request to ask of you: that each of you give me an earring from your plunder.” (Their enemies were Ishmaelites and wore gold earrings.)
25“We'll happily give them to you,” they replied. They spread out a cloak, and each of them threw on it earrings from their plunder.
26The weight of the earrings he'd asked for was 1,700 shekels, not including the ornaments, the pendants, and the purple garments worn by the Midianite kings or the chains that were round their camels' necks.
27From the gold Gideon made an ephod, which he placed in his hometown of Ophrah. All Israel prostituted themselves there by worshiping it as an idol, and it became a trap to Gideon and his family.
28This is how the Midianites was subjugated before the Israelites and did not gain power again. So the land was at peace for forty years during the lifetime of Gideon.
29Jerub-baal, son of Joash, went home, living his own house.
30Gideon had seventy sons, all his own, because he had many wives.
31His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also had a son. He named him Abimelech.
32Gideon, son of Joash, died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33But as soon as Gideon died, the Israelites went back to prostituting themselves, worshiping before the Baals. They made Baal-berith their god.
34They forgot about the Lord their God, who had saved them from all their enemies that surrounded them.
35They did not show any respect to the family of Jerub-baal (Gideon) for all the good he had done for Israel.