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1The men of Ephraim said to Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why did you not summon us when you went to fight Midian?” and they upbraided him fiercely.

2But he replied, “What have I now accomplished compared with you? Are not Ephraim's gleanings better than the whole grape harvest of Abiezer?

3God delivered Oreb and Zeeb, the princes of Midian, into your hands. What have I been able to accomplish compared with you?” At that their anger against him died down.

4Gideon came to the Jordan, and he and his three hundred men crossed over to continue the pursuit, exhausted though they were.

5He said to the people of Succoth, “Will you give my followers some bread? They are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”

6But the chief men of Succoth replied, “Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your troops?”

7Gideon said, “For that, when the LORD delivers Zebah and Zalmunna into my hands, I shall thresh your bodies with desert thorns and briars.”

8He went on from there to Penuel and made the same request; the people of Penuel gave the same answer as had the people of Succoth.

9He said to them, “When I return victorious, I shall pull down your tower.”

10Zebah and Zalmunna were at Karkor with an army of about fifteen thousand men. Those were all that remained of the entire host of the eastern tribes, a hundred and twenty thousand warriors having fallen in battle.

11Gideon advanced along the track used by the tent-dwellers east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and his attack caught the enemy off guard.

12Zebah and Zalmunna fled; but he went in pursuit of the Midianite kings and captured them both; and their whole army melted away.

13As Gideon son of Joash was returning from battle by the ascent of Heres,

14he caught a young man from Succoth. When questioned the young man listed for him the names of the rulers of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven in all.

15Gideon then came to the people of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me. ‘Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands,’ you said, ‘that we should give your exhausted men bread?’”

16Then he took the elders of Succoth and inflicted punishment on them with desert thorns and briars.

17He also pulled down the tower of Penuel and put the men of the town to death.

18He said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What sort of men did you kill in Tabor?” They answered, “They were like you; every one had the look of a king's son.”

19“They were my brothers,” he said, “my mother's sons. I swear by the LORD, if you had let them live I would not have killed you.”

20Then he said to his eldest son Jether, “Stand up and kill them.” But he was still only a lad, and did not draw his sword, because he was afraid.

21Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself and dispatch us, for you have a man's strength.” So Gideon got up and killed them both, and he took the crescents from the necks of their camels.

22The Israelites said to Gideon, “You have saved us from the Midianites; now you be our ruler, you and your son and your grandson.”

23But Gideon replied, “I shall not rule over you, nor will my son; the LORD will rule over you.”

24He went on, “I have a request to make: will every one of you give me an ear-ring from his booty?” -- for the enemy, being Ishmaelites, wore gold ear-rings.

25They said, “Of course we shall give them.” So a cloak was spread out and every man threw on to it a gold ear-ring from his booty.

26The ear-rings he asked for weighed seventeen hundred shekels of gold; this was in addition to the crescents and pendants and the purple robes worn by the Midianite kings, and not counting the chains on the necks of their camels.

27Gideon made the gold into an ephod which he set up in his own town of Ophrah. All the Israelites went astray by worshipping it, and it became a snare for Gideon and his household.

28Thus the Midianites were subdued by the Israelites; they could no longer hold up their heads. For forty years the land was at peace, all the lifetime of Gideon,

29that is Jerubbaal son of Joash; and he retired to his own home.

30Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives.

31He had a concubine who lived in Shechem, and she also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech.

32Gideon son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in his father's grave at Ophrah-of-the-Abiezrites.

33After Gideon's death the Israelites again went astray: they worshipped the baalim and made Baal-berith their god.

34They were unmindful of the LORD their God who had delivered them from all their enemies around them,

35nor did they show to the family of Jerubbaal, that is Gideon, the loyalty that was due to them for all the good he had done Israel.


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