The men of the town demanded of Joash: "Bring out your son! He must die! Why, he tore down the Baal altar and chopped down the Asherah tree!"
But Joash stood up to the crowd pressing in on him, "Are you going to fight Baal's battles for him? Are you going to save him? Anyone who takes Baal's side will be dead by morning. If Baal is a god in fact, let him fight his own battles and defend his own altar."
They nicknamed Gideon that day Jerub-Baal because after he had torn down the Baal altar, he had said, "Let Baal fight his own battles."
All the Midianites and Amalekites (the easterners) got together, crossed the river, and made camp in the Valley of Jezreel.
God's Spirit came over Gideon. He blew his ram's horn trumpet and the Abiezrites came out, ready to follow him.
He dispatched messengers all through Manasseh, calling them to the battle; also to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. They all came.
Gideon said to God, "If this is right, if you are using me to save Israel as you've said,
then look: I'm placing a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If dew is on the fleece only, but the floor is dry, then I know that you will use me to save Israel, as you said."
That's what happened. When he got up early the next morning, he wrung out the fleece - enough dew to fill a bowl with water!
Then Gideon said to God, "Don't be impatient with me, but let me say one more thing. I want to try another time with the fleece. But this time let the fleece stay dry, while the dew drenches the ground."
God made it happen that very night. Only the fleece was dry while the ground was wet with dew.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)