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.111
Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah2 and Jogbehah3 and fell upon the unsuspecting army.
Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.
Gideon son of Joash4 then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres.514
He caught a young man of Succoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Succoth,6 the elders7 of the town.
Then Gideon came and said to the men of Succoth, "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?8' "
He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Succoth a lesson9 by punishing them with desert thorns and briers.
He also pulled down the tower of Peniel10 and killed the men of the town.1118
Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?12" "Men like you," they answered, "each one with the bearing of a prince."
Gideon replied, "Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the LORD lives,13 if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you."
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.
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 ornaments14 off their camels' necks.
The Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us--you, your son and your grandson--because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian."
But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule15 over you."
And he said, "I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring16 from your share of the plunder.17" (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites18 to wear gold earrings.)
They answered, "We'll be glad to give them." So they spread out a garment, and each man threw a ring from his plunder onto it.
The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels,a not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains19 that were on their camels' necks.
Gideon made the gold into an ephod,20 which he placed in Ophrah,21 his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare22 to Gideon and his family.23