Juges (NAB) 1

Book of


Israel's Failure to Complete the Conquest of Canaan

1 1 After the death of Joshua the Israelites consulted the LORD, asking, "Who shall be first among us to attack the Canaanites and to do battle with them?" 2 The LORD answered, "Judah shall attack: I have delivered the land into his power."3 Judah then said to his brother Simeon, "Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, and let us engage the Canaanites in battle. I will likewise accompany you into the territory allotted to you." So Simeon went with him.4 When the forces of Judah attacked, the LORD delivered the Canaanites and Perizzites into their power, and they slew ten thousand of them in Bezek.5 It was in Bezek that they came upon Adonibezek and fought against him. When they defeated the Canaanites and Perizzites,6 Adonibezek fled. They set out in pursuit, and when they caught him, cut off his thumbs and his big toes.7 At this Adonibezek said, "Seventy kings, with their thumbs and big toes cut off, used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so has God repaid me." He was brought to Jerusalem, and there he died.8 (The Judahites fought against Jerusalem and captured it, putting it to the sword; then they destroyed the city by fire.)
Afterward the Judahites went down to fight against the Canaanites who lived in the mountain region, in the Negeb, and in the foothills.10 Judah also marched against the Canaanites who dwelt in Hebron, which was formerly called Kiriath-arba, and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.11 From there they marched against the inhabitants of Debir, which was formerly called Kiriath-sepher.12 And Caleb said, "I will give my daughter Achsah in marriage to the one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it."13 Othniel, son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz, captured it; so Caleb gave him his daughter Achsah in marriage.14 On the day of her marriage to Othniel she induced him to ask her father for some land. Then, as she alighted from the ass, Caleb asked her, "What is troubling you?"15 Give me an additional gift," she answered. "Since you have assigned land in the Negeb to me, give me also pools of water." So Caleb gave her the upper and the lower pool.16 The descendants of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, came up with the Judahites from the city of palms to the desert at Arad (which is in the Negeb). But they later left and settled among the Amalekites. 17 Judah then went with his brother Simeon, and they defeated the Canaanites who dwelt in Zephath. After having doomed the city to destruction, they renamed it Hormah.18 Judah, however, did not occupy Gaza with its territory, Ashkelon with its territory, or Ekron with its territory.19 Since the LORD was with Judah, he gained possession of the mountain region. Yet he could not dislodge those who lived on the plain, because they had iron chariots.20 As Moses had commanded, Hebron was given to Caleb, who then drove from it the three sons of Anak.
The Benjaminites did not dislodge the Jebusites who dwelt in Jerusalem, with the result that the Jebusites live in Jerusalem beside the Benjaminites to the present day. 22 The house of Joseph, too, marched up against Bethel, and the LORD was with them.23 The house of Joseph had a reconnaissance made of Bethel, which formerly was called Luz.24 The scouts saw a man coming out of the city and said to him, "Show us a way into the city, and we will spare you."25 He showed them a way into the city, which they then put to the sword; but they let the man and his whole clan go free.26 He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, as it is still called.27 Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean with its towns or of Taanach with its towns. Neither did he dislodge the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, those of Ibleam and its towns, or those of Megiddo and its towns. The Canaanites kept their hold in this district.28 When the Israelites grew stronger, they impressed the Canaanites as laborers, but did not drive them out.29 Similarly, the Ephraimites did not drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, and so the Canaanites live in Gezer in their midst.30 Zebulun did not dislodge the inhabitants of Kitron or those of Nahalol; the Canaanites live among them, but have become forced laborers.
Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or those of Sidon, or take possession of Mahaleb, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik or Rehob.32 The Asherites live among the Canaanite natives of the land, whom they have not dislodged.
Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh or those of Beth-anath, and so they live among the Canaanite natives of the land. However, the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath have become forced laborers for them.
The Amorites hemmed in the Danites in the mountain region, not permitting them to go down into the plain.35 The Amorites had a firm hold in Harheres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but as the house of Joseph gained the upper hand, they were impressed as laborers.36 The territory of the Amorites extended from the Akrabbim pass to Sela and beyond.

Israel's Disobedience

2 1 An angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, "It was I who brought you up from Egypt and led you into the land which I promised on oath to your fathers. I said that I would never break my covenant with you,2 but that you were not to make a pact with the inhabitants of this land, and you were to pull down their altars. Yet you have not obeyed me. What did you mean by this?3 For now I tell you, I will not clear them out of your way; they shall oppose you and their gods shall become a snare for you."4 When the angel of the LORD had made these threats to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud;5 and so that place came to be called Bochim. They offered sacrifice there to the LORD.

Death of Joshua

6 When Joshua dismissed the people, each Israelite went to take possession of his own hereditary land.7 The people served the LORD during the entire lifetime of Joshua, and of those elders who outlived Joshua and who had seen all the great work which the LORD had done for Israel.8 Joshua, son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, was a hundred and ten years old when he died;9 and they buried him within the borders of his heritage at Timnath-heres in the mountain region of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash.10 But once the rest of that generation were gathered to their fathers, and a later generation arose that did not know the LORD, or what he had done for Israel,

Israel's Unfaithfulness

11 the Israelites offended the LORD by serving the Baals. 12 Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had led them out of the land of Egypt, they followed the other gods of the various nations around them, and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD.13 Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth,
the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel, and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them. He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about whom they were no longer able to withstand.15 Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them, as in his warning he had sworn he would do, till they were in great distress.
Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them from the power of their despoilers,17 they did not listen to their judges, but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods. They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken, and did not follow their example of obedience to the commandments of the LORD.18 Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge and save them from the power of their enemies as long as the judge lived; it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries of affliction under their oppressors.19 But when the judge died, they would relapse and do worse than their fathers, following other gods in service and worship, relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.
In his anger toward Israel the LORD said, "Inasmuch as this nation has violated my covenant which I enjoined on their fathers, and has disobeyed me,21 I for my part will not clear away for them any more of the nations which Joshua left when he died."22 Through these nations the Israelites were to be made to prove whether or not they would keep to the way of the LORD and continue in it as their fathers had done;23 therefore the LORD allowed them to remain instead of expelling them immediately, or delivering them into the power of Israel.

Nations Remaining in the Land

3 1 The following are the nations which the LORD allowed to remain, so that through them he might try all those Israelites who had no experience of the battles with Canaan2 training them in battle, those generations only of the Israelites who would not have had that previous experience):3 the five lords of the Philistines; and all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwell in the mountain region of Lebanon between Baal-hermon and the entrance to Hamath. 4 These served to put Israel to the test, to determine whether they would obey the commandments the LORD had enjoined on their fathers through Moses.5 Besides, the Israelites were living among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.6 In fact, they took their daughters in marriage, and gave their own daughters to their sons in marriage, and served their gods.


7 Because the Israelites had offended the LORD by forgetting the LORD, their God, and serving the Baals and the Asherahs,
the anger of the LORD flared up against them, and he allowed them to fall into the power of Cushan-rishathaim, king of Aram Naharaim, whom they served for eight years.9 But when the Israelites cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a savior, Othniel, son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz, who rescued them.10 The spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD delivered Cushan-risha-thaim, king of Aram, into his power, so that he made him subject.11 The land then was at rest for forty years, until Othniel, son of Kenaz, died.


12 Again the Israelites offended the LORD, who because of this offense strengthened Eglon, king of Moab, against Israel.13 In alliance with the Ammonites and Amalekites, he attacked and defeated Israel, taking possession of the city of palms.14 The Israelites then served Eglon, king of Moab, for eighteen years.15 But when the Israelites cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a savior, the Benjaminite Ehud, son of Gera, who was left-handed. It was by him that the Israelites sent their tribute to Eglon, king of Moab.16 Ehud made himself a two-edged dagger a foot long, and wore it under his clothes over his right thigh.17 He presented the tribute to Eglon, king of Moab, who was very fat,18 and after the presentation went off with the tribute bearers.19 He returned, however, from where the idols are, near Gilgal, and said, "I have a private message for you, O king." And the king said, "Silence!" Then when all his attendants had left his presence,20 and Ehud went in to him where he sat alone in his cool upper room, Ehud said, "I have a message from God for you." So the king rose from his chair,21 and then Ehud with his left hand drew the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into Eglon's belly.22 The hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade because he did not withdraw the dagger from his body.23 Then Ehud went out into the hall, shutting the doors of the upper room on him and locking them.24 When Ehud had left and the servants came, they saw that the doors of the upper room were locked, and thought, "He must be easing himself in the cool chamber."25 They waited until they finally grew suspicious. Since he did not open the doors of the upper room, they took the key and opened them. There on the floor, dead, lay their lord!26 During their delay Ehud made good his escape and, passing the idols, took refuge in Seirah.27 On his arrival he sounded the horn in the mountain region of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down from the mountains with him as their leader.28 "Follow me," he said to them, "for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your power." So they followed him down and seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, permitting no one to cross.29 On that occasion they slew about ten thousand Moabites, all of them strong and valiant men. Not a man escaped.30 Thus was Moab brought under the power of Israel at that time; and the land had rest for eighty years.


31 After him there was Shamgar, son of Anath, who slew six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He, too, rescued Israel.

Deborah and Barak

4 1 After Ehud's death, however, the Israelites again offended the LORD.2 So the LORD allowed them to fall into the power of the Canaanite king, Jabin, who reigned in Hazor. The general of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth-ha-goiim.3 But the Israelites cried out to the LORD; for with his nine hundred iron chariots he sorely oppressed the Israelites for twenty years.
At this time the prophetess Deborah, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel.5 She used to sit under Deborah's palm tree, situated between Ramah and Bethel in the mountain region of Ephraim, and there the Israelites came up to her for judgment.6 She sent and summoned Barak, son of Abinoam, from Kedesh of Naphtali. "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, commands," she said to him; "go, march on Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand Naphtalites and Zebulunites.7 I will lead Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, out to you at the Wadi Kishon, together with his chariots and troops, and will deliver them into your power."8 But Barak answered her, "If you come with me, I will go; if you do not come with me, I will not go."9 "I will certainly go with you," she replied, "but you shall not gain the glory in the expedition on which you are setting out, for the LORD will have Sisera fall into the power of a woman." So Deborah joined Barak and journeyed with him to Kedesh.
Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men followed him. Deborah also went up with him.11 Now the Kenite Heber had detached himself from his own people, the descendants of Hobab, Moses' brother-in-law, and had pitched his tent by the tere-binth of Zaanannim, which was near Kedesh. 12 It was reported to Sisera that Barak, son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor.13 So Sisera assembled from Harosheth-ha-goiim at the Wadi Kishon all nine hundred of his iron chariots and all his forces.14 Deborah then said to Barak, "Be off, for this is the day on which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your power. The LORD marches before you." So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by his ten thousand men.15 And the LORD put Sisera and all his chariots and all his forces to rout before Barak. Sisera himself dismounted from his chariot and fled on foot.16 Barak, however, pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-ha-goiim. The entire army of Sisera fell beneath the sword, not even one man surviving.
Sisera, in the meantime, had fled on foot to the tent of Jael, wife of the Kenite Heber, since Jabin, king of Hazor, and the family of the Kenite Heber were at peace with one another. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come in, my lord, come in with me; do not be afraid." So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a rug.19 He said to her, "Please give me a little water to drink. I am thirsty." But she opened a jug of milk for him to drink, and then covered him over.20 "Stand at the entrance of the tent," he said to her. "If anyone comes and asks, 'Is there someone here?' say, 'No!'"21 Instead Jael, wife of Heber, got a tent peg and took a mallet in her hand. While Sisera was sound asleep, she stealthily approached him and drove the peg through his temple down into the ground, so that he perished in death.22 Then when Barak came in pursuit of Sisera, Jael went out to meet him and said to him, "Come, I will show you the man you seek." So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera dead, with the tent peg through his temple.23 Thus on that day God humbled the Canaanite king, Jabin, before the Israelites;24 their power weighed ever heavier upon him, till at length they destroyed the Canaanite king, Jabin.

The Song of Deborah

5 1 On that day Deborah (and Barak, son of Abinoam,) sang this song:
Of chiefs who took the lead in Israel, of noble deeds by the people who bless the LORD,
Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I to the LORD will sing my song, my hymn to the LORD, the God of Israel.
O LORD, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, The earth quaked and the heavens were shaken, while the clouds sent down showers.
Mountains trembled in the presence of the LORD, the One of Sinai, in the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel.
In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of slavery caravans ceased: Those who traveled the roads went by roundabout paths.
Gone was freedom beyond the walls, gone indeed from Israel. When I, Deborah, rose, when I rose, a mother in Israel,
New gods were their choice; then the war was at their gates. Not a shield could be seen, nor a lance, among forty thousand in Israel!
My heart is with the leaders of Israel, nobles of the people who bless the LORD;
They who ride on white asses, seated on saddlecloths as they go their way;
Sing of them to the strains of the harpers at the wells, where men recount the just deeds of the LORD, his just deeds that brought freedom to Israel.
Awake, awake, Deborah! awake, awake, strike up a song. Strength! arise, Barak, make despoilers your spoil, son of Abinoam.
Then down came the fugitives with the mighty, the people of the LORD came down for me as warriors.
From Ephraim, princes were in the valley; behind you was Benjamin, among your troops. From Machir came down commanders, from Zebulun wielders of the marshal's staff.
With Deborah were the princes of Issachar; Barak, too, was in the valley, his course unchecked. Among the clans of Reuben great were the searchings of heart.
Why do you stay beside your hearths listening to the lowing of the herds? Among the clans of Reuben great were the searchings of heart!
Gilead, beyond the Jordan, rests; why does Dan spend his time in ships? Asher, who dwells along the shore, is resting in his coves.
Zebulun is the people defying death; Naphtali, too, on the open heights!
The kings came and fought; then they fought, those kings of Canaan, At Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; no silver booty did they take.
From the heavens the stars, too, fought; from their courses they fought against Sisera.
The Wadi Kishon swept them away; a wadi..., the Kishon.
Then the hoofs of the horses pounded, with the dashing, dashing of his steeds.
"Curse Meroz," says the LORD, "hurl a curse at its inhabitants! For they came not to my help, as warriors to the help of the LORD."
Blessed among women be Jael, blessed among tent-dwelling women.
He asked for water, she gave him milk; in a princely bowl she offered curds.
With her left hand she reached for the peg, with her right, for the workman's mallet. She hammered Sisera, crushed his head; she smashed, stove in his temple.
At her feet he sank down, fell, lay still; down at her feet he sank and fell; where he sank down, there he fell, slain.
From the window peered down and wailed the mother of Sisera, from the lattice: "Why is his chariot so long in coming? why are the hoofbeats of his chariots delayed?"
The wisest of her princesses answers her, and she, too, keeps answering herself:
"They must be dividing the spoil they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera's spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil."
May all your enemies perish thus, O LORD! but your friends be as the sun rising in its might! And the land was at rest for forty years.

The Midianite Oppression

6 1 The Israelites offended the LORD, who therefore delivered them into the power of Midian for seven years,2 so that Midian held Israel subject. For fear of Midian the Israelites established the fire signals on the mountains, the caves for refuge, and the strongholds.3 And it used to be that when the Israelites had completed their sowing, Midian, Amalek and the Kedemites would come up,4 encamp opposite them, and destroy the produce of the land as far as the outskirts of Gaza, leaving no sustenance in Israel, nor sheep, oxen or asses.5 For they would come up with their livestock, and their tents would become as numerous as locusts; and neither they nor their camels could be numbered, when they came into the land to lay it waste.6 Thus was Israel reduced to misery by Midian, and so the Israelites cried out to the LORD.
When Israel cried out to the LORD because of Midian,8 he sent a prophet to the Israelites who said to them, "The LORD, the God of Israel, says: I led you up from Egypt; I brought you out of the place of slavery.9 I rescued you from the power of Egypt and of all your other oppressors. I drove them out before you and gave you their land.10 And I said to you: I, the LORD, am your God; you shall not venerate the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But you did not obey me."

The Call of Gideon

11 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites,12 the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "The LORD is with you, O champion!"13 "My Lord," Gideon said to him, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers told us when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' For now the LORD has abandoned us and has delivered us into the power of Midian."14 The LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian. It is I who send you."15 But he answered him, "Please, my lord, how can I save Israel? My family is the meanest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father's house."16 "I shall be with you," the LORD said to him, "and you will cut down Midian to the last man."17 He answered him, "If I find favor with you, give me a sign that you are speaking with me.18 Do not depart from here, I pray you, until I come back to you and bring out my offering and set it before you." He answered, "I will await your return."19 So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and an ephah of flour in the form of unleavened cakes. Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out to him under the terebinth and presented them.20 The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth." When he had done so,21 the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held, and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Thereupon a fire came up from the rock which consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight.22 Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the LORD, said, "Alas, Lord GOD, that I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!"23 The LORD answered him, "Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die."24 So Gideon built there an altar to the LORD and called it Yahweh-shalom. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
That same night the LORD said to him, "Take the seven-year-old spare bullock and destroy your father's altar to Baal and cut down the sacred pole that is by it. 26 You shall build, instead, the proper kind of altar to the LORD, your God, on top of this stronghold. Then take the spare bullock and offer it as a holocaust on the wood from the sacred pole you have cut down."27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had commanded him. But through fear of his family and of the townspeople, he would not do it by day, but did it at night.

Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal

28 Early the next morning the townspeople found that the altar of Baal had been destroyed, the sacred pole near it cut down, and the spare bullock offered on the altar that was built.29 They asked one another, "Who did this?" Their inquiry led them to the conclusion that Gideon, son of Joash, had done it.30 So the townspeople said to Joash, "Bring out your son that he may die, for he has destroyed the altar of Baal and has cut down the sacred pole that was near it."31 But Joash replied to all who were standing around him, "Do you intend to act in Baal's stead, or be his champion? If anyone acts for him, he shall be put to death by morning. If he whose altar has been destroyed is a god, let him act for himself!"32 So on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, because of the words, "Let Baal take action against him, since he destroyed his altar."
Then all Midian and Amalek and the Kedemites mustered and crossed over into the valley of Jezreel, where they encamped.34 The spirit of the LORD enveloped Gideon; he blew the horn that summoned Abiezer to follow him.35 He sent messengers, too, throughout Manasseh, which also obeyed his summons; through Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, likewise, he sent messengers and these tribes advanced to meet the others.

The Sign of the Fleece

36 Gideon said to God, "If indeed you are going to save Israel through me, as you promised,37 I am putting this woolen fleece on the threshing floor. If dew comes on the fleece alone, while all the ground is dry, I shall know that you will save Israel through me, as you promised."38 That is what took place. Early the next morning he wrung the dew from the fleece, squeezing out of it a bowlful of water.39 Gideon then said to God, "Do not be angry with me if I speak once more. Let me make just one more test with the fleece. Let the fleece alone be dry, but let there be dew on all the ground."40 That night God did so; the fleece alone was dry, but there was dew on all the ground.

Gideon Surprises and Routs the Midianites

7 1 Early the next morning Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) encamped by Enharod with all his soldiers. The camp of Midian was in the valley north of Gibeath-hammoreh.2 The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many soldiers with you for me to deliver Midian into their power, lest Israel vaunt itself against me and say, 'My own power brought me the victory.'3 Now proclaim to all the soldiers, 'If anyone is afraid or fearful, let him leave.'" When Gideon put them to this test on the mountain, twenty-two thousand of the soldiers left, but ten thousand remained.
The LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many soldiers. Lead them down to the water and I will test them for you there. If I tell you that a certain man is to go with you, he must go with you. But no one is to go if I tell you he must not."5 When Gideon led the soldiers down to the water, the LORD said to him, "You shall set to one side everyone who laps up the water as a dog does with its tongue; to the other, everyone who kneels down to drink." 6 Those who lapped up the water raised to their mouths by hand numbered three hundred, but all the rest of the soldiers knelt down to drink the water.7 The LORD said to Gideon, "By means of the three hundred who lapped up the water I will save you and will deliver Midian into your power. So let all the other soldiers go home."8 Their horns, and such supplies as the soldiers had with them, were taken up, and Gideon ordered the rest of the Israelites to their tents, but kept the three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley.
That night the LORD said to Gideon, "Go, descend on the camp, for I have delivered it up to you.10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your aide Purah.11 When you hear what they are saying, you will have the courage to descend on the camp." So he went down with his aide Purah to the outposts of the camp.12 The Midianites, Amalekites, and all the Kedemites lay in the valley, as numerous as locusts. Nor could their camels be counted, for these were as many as the sands on the seashore.13 When Gideon arrived, one man was telling another about a dream. "I had a dream," he said, "that a round loaf of barley bread was rolling into the camp of Midian. It came to our tent and struck it, and as it fell it turned the tent upside down." 14 "This can only be the sword of the Israelite Gideon, son of Joash," the other replied. "God has delivered Midian and all the camp into his power."15 When Gideon heard the description and explanation of the dream, he prostrated himself. Then returning to the camp of Israel, he said, "Arise, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your power."
He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and provided them all with horns and with empty jars and torches inside the jars.17 "Watch me and follow my lead," he told them. "I shall go to the edge of the camp, and as I do, you must do also.18 When I and those with me blow horns, you too must blow horns all around the camp and cry out, 'For the LORD and for Gideon!'"19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after the posting of the guards. They blew the horns and broke the jars they were holding. 20 All three companies blew horns and broke their jars. They held the torches in their left hands, and in their right the horns they were blowing, and cried out, "A sword for the LORD and Gideon!"21 They all remained standing in place around the camp, while the whole camp fell to running and shouting and fleeing.22 But the three hundred men kept blowing the horns, and throughout the camp the LORD set the sword of one against another. The army fled as far as Beth-shittah in the direction of Zarethan, near the border of Abel-meholah at Tabbath.
The Israelites were called to arms from Naphtali, from Asher, and from all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.24 Gideon also sent messengers throughout the mountain region of Ephraim to say, "Go down to confront Midian, and seize the water courses against them as far as Beth-barah, as well as the Jordan." So all the Ephraimites were called to arms, and they seized the water courses as far as Beth-barah, and the Jordan as well.25 They captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, killing Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb. Then they pursued Midian and carried the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

Gideon's Triumph and Vengeance

8 1 But the Ephraimites said to him, "What have you done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?" And they quarreled bitterly with him.2 "What have I accomplished now in comparison with you?" he answered them. "Is not the gleaning of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?3 Into your power God delivered the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?" When he said this, their anger against him subsided.
When Gideon reached the Jordan and crossed it with his three hundred men, they were exhausted and famished.5 So he said to the men of Succoth, "Will you give my followers some loaves of bread? They are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian."6 But the princes of Succoth replied, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your possession, that we should give food to your army?" 7 Gideon said, "Very well; when the LORD has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my power, I will grind your flesh in with the thorns and briers of the desert."8 He went up from there to Penuel and made the same request of them, but the men of Penuel answered him as had the men of Succoth.9 So to the men of Penuel, too, he said, "When I return in triumph, I will demolish this tower."10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their force of about fifteen thousand men; these were all who were left of the whole Kedemite army, a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen having fallen.11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the camp when it felt secure.12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled. He pursued them and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, captive, throwing the entire army into panic.
Then Gideon, son of Joash, returned from battle by the pass of Heres.14 He captured a young man of Succoth, who upon being questioned listed for him the seventy-seven princes and elders of Succoth.15 So he went to the men of Succoth and said, "Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom you taunted me, 'Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your possession, that we should give food to your weary followers?'"16 He took the elders of the city, and thorns and briers of the desert, and ground these men of Succoth into them.17 He also demolished the tower of Penuel and slew the men of the city.
Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "Where now are the men you killed at Tabor?" "They all resembled you," they replied. "They appeared to be princes."19 "They were my brothers, my mother's sons," he said. "As the LORD lives, if you had spared their lives, I should not kill you."20 Then he said to his first-born, Jether, "Go, kill them." Since Jether was still a boy, he was afraid and did not draw his sword.21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Come, kill us yourself, for a man's strength is like the man." So Gideon stepped forward and killed Zebah and Zalmunna. He also took the crescents that were on the necks of their camels.

Gideon's Idolatry

22 The Israelites then said to Gideon, "Rule over us-- you, your son, and your son's son-- for you rescued us from the power of Midian."23 But Gideon answered them, "I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you. The LORD must rule over you."24 Gideon went on to say, "I should like to make a request of you. Will each of you give me a ring from his booty?" (For being Ishmaelites, the enemy had gold rings.) 25 "We will gladly give them," they replied, and spread out a cloak into which everyone threw a ring from his booty.26 The gold rings that he requested weighed seventeen hundred gold shekels, in addition to the crescents and pendants, the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and the trappings that were on the necks of their camels.27 Gideon made an ephod out of the gold and placed it in his city Ophrah. However, all Israel paid idolatrous homage to it there, and caused the ruin of Gideon and his family.28 Thus was Midian brought into subjection by the Israelites; no longer did they hold their heads high. And the land had rest for forty years, during the lifetime of Gideon.

Death of Gideon

29 Then Jerubbaal, son of Joash, went back home to stay.30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, his direct descendants, for he had many wives.31 His concubine who lived in Shechem also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech. 32 At a good old age Gideon, son of Joash, died and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.33 But after Gideon was dead, the Israelites again abandoned themselves to the Baals, making Baal of Berith their god 34 and forgetting the LORD, their God, who had delivered them from the power of their enemies all around them.35 Nor were they grateful to the family of Jerubbaal (Gideon) for all the good he had done for Israel.

Abimelech Attempts to Establish a Monarchy

Juges (NAB) 1