Judges 6-7 World English Bible

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The Call of Gideon

6 1  The children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: and Yahweh delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2  The hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of Midian the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds. 3  So it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east; they came up against them; 4  and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, until you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor donkey. 5  For they came up with their livestock and their tents; they came in as locusts for multitude; both they and their camels were without number: and they came into the land to destroy it. 6  Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the children of Israel cried to Yahweh.

7  It happened, when the children of Israel cried to Yahweh because of Midian, 8  that Yahweh sent a prophet to the children of Israel: and he said to them, “Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 9  and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land; 10  and I said to you, “I am Yahweh your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you have not listened to my voice.’”

11  The angel of Yahweh came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12  The angel of Yahweh appeared to him, and said to him, “Yahweh is with you, you mighty man of valor!” 13  Gideon said to him, “Oh, my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? Where are all his wondrous works which our fathers told us of, saying, ‘Didn’t Yahweh bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Yahweh has cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian.” 14  Yahweh looked at him, and said, “Go in this your might, and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Haven’t I sent you?” 15  He said to him, “Oh, Lord, how shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16  Yahweh said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” 17  He said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, then show me a sign that it is you who talk with me. 18  Please don’t go away, until I come to you, and bring out my present, and lay it before you.”

He said, “I will wait until you come back.” 19  Gideon went in, and prepared a young goat, and unleavened cakes of an ephah [1] of meal. He put the meat in a basket and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak, and presented it. 20  The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.”

He did so. 21  Then the angel of Yahweh stretched out the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and fire went up out of the rock, and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of Yahweh departed out of his sight. 22  Gideon saw that he was the angel of Yahweh; and Gideon said, “Alas, Lord Yahweh! Because I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face!” 23  Yahweh said to him, “Peace be to you! Don’t be afraid. You shall not die.” 24  Then Gideon built an altar there to Yahweh, and called it “Yahweh is Peace [2].” To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25  It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, “Take your father’s bull, even the second bull seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is by it; 26  and build an altar to Yahweh your God on the top of this stronghold, in the orderly manner, and take the second bull, and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27  Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as Yahweh had spoken to him: and it happened, because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city, so that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. 28  When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah was cut down that was by it, and the second bull was offered on the altar that was built. 29  They said one to another, “Who has done this thing?”

When they inquired and asked, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30  Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the Asherah that was by it.” 31  Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? He who will contend for him, let him be put to death while it is yet morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has broken down his altar.” 32  Therefore on that day he named him Jerub-Baal, [3] saying, “Let Baal contend against him, because he has broken down his altar.”

33  Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east assembled themselves together; and they passed over, and encamped in the valley of Jezreel. 34  But the Spirit of Yahweh came on Gideon; and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered together after him. 35  He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they also were gathered together after him: and he sent messengers to Asher, and to Zebulun, and to Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36  Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken, 37  behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there be dew on the fleece only, and it be dry on all the ground, then shall I know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken.” 38  It was so; for he rose up early on the next day, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39  Gideon said to God, “Don’t let your anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once. Please let me make a trial just this once with the fleece. Let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40  God did so that night: for it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

Gideon's Men Defeat the Midianites

7 1  Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people who were with him, rose up early, and encamped beside the spring of Harod: and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2  Yahweh said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3  Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” Twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. 4  Yahweh said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. It shall be, that of whom I tell you, ‘This shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whoever I tell you, ‘This shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” 5  So he brought down the people to the water; and Yahweh said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps of the water with his tongue, like a dog laps, you shall set him by himself; likewise everyone who bows down on his knees to drink.” 6  The number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people bowed down on their knees to drink water. 7  Yahweh said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, each to his own place.” 8  So the people took food in their hand, and their trumpets; and he sent all the men of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the three hundred men: and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

9  It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, “Arise, go down into the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand. 10  But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp: 11  and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened to go down into the camp.” Then went he down with Purah his servant to the outermost part of the armed men who were in the camp. 12  The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is on the seashore for multitude. 13  When Gideon had come, behold, there was a man telling a dream to his fellow; and he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream; and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14  His fellow answered, “This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. God has delivered Midian into his hand, with all the army.” 15  It was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and its interpretation, that he worshiped; and he returned into the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise; for Yahweh has delivered the army of Midian into your hand!”

16  He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets, and empty pitchers, with torches within the pitchers. 17  He said to them, “Watch me, and do likewise. Behold, when I come to the outermost part of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so you shall do. 18  When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and shout, ‘For Yahweh and for Gideon!’” 19  So Gideon, and the hundred men who were with him, came to the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and broke in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands. 20  The three companies blew the trumpets, and broke the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands with which to blow; and they shouted, “The sword of Yahweh and of Gideon!” 21  They stood every man in his place around the camp; and all the army ran; and they shouted, and put them to flight. 22  They blew the three hundred trumpets, and Yahweh set every man’s sword against his fellow, and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth Shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

23  The men of Israel were gathered together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after Midian. 24  Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against Midian, and take before them the waters, as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan!” So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together, and took the waters as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan. 25  They took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian: and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

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Footnotes

[1] 6:19 1 ephah is about 22 litres or about 2/3 of a bushel

[2] 6:24 or, Yahweh Shalom

[3] 6:32 “Jerub-Baal” means “Let Baal contend.”

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