Then the LORD's messenger came and sat under the oak at Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites.
The LORD's messenger appeared to him and said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior!"
But Gideon replied to him, "With all due respect, my Lord, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his amazing works that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Didn't the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and allowed Midian to overpower us."
Then the LORD turned to him and said, "You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?"
But again Gideon said to him, "With all due respect, my Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I'm the youngest in my household."
The LORD replied, "Because I'm with you, you'll defeat the Midianites as if they were just one person."a17
Then Gideon said to him, "If I've gained your approval, please show me a sign that it's really you speaking with me.
Don't leave here until I return, bring out my offering, and set it in front of you." The Lord replied, "I'll stay until you return."
So Gideon went and prepared a young goat and used an ephahb of flour for unleavened bread. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them.
Then God's messenger said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread and set them on this rock, then pour out the broth." And he did so.
The LORD's messenger reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and devoured the meat and the unleavened bread; and the LORD's messenger vanished before his eyes.
Then Gideon realized that it had been the LORD's messenger. Gideon exclaimed, "Oh no, LORD God! I have seen the LORD's messenger face-to-face!"
But the LORD said to him, "Peace! Don't be afraid! You won't die."
So Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it "The LORD makes peace." It still stands today in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
That night the LORD said to him, "Take your father's bull and a second bull seven years old. Break down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherahc that is beside it.
Build an altar to the LORD your God in the proper way on top of this high ground. Then take the second bull and offer it as an entirely burned offering with the wood of the Asherah that you cut down."
So Gideon took ten of his servants and did just as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his household and the townspeople to do it during the day, he did it at night.
When the townspeople got up early in the morning, there was the altar to Baal broken down, with the asherah image that had been beside it cut down, and the second bull offered on the newly built altar!
They asked each other, "Who did this?" They searched and investigated, and finally they concluded, "Gideon, Joash's son, did this!"
The townspeople said to Joash, "Bring out your son for execution because he tore down the altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah that was beside it."
But Joash replied to all who were lined up against him, "Will you make Baal's complaint for him? Will you come to his rescue? Anyone who argues for him will be killed before morning. If he is a god, let him argue for himself, because it was his altar that was torn down."
So on that day Gideon became known as Jerubbaal, meaning, "Let Baal argue with him," because he tore down his altar.