1 Again the Israelites did what the Lord said was wrong. So for seven years the Lord handed them over to Midian. 2 Because the Midianites were very powerful and were cruel to Israel, the Israelites made hiding places in the mountains, in caves, and in safe places. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and other peoples from the east would come and attack them. 4 They camped in the land and destroyed the crops that the Israelites had planted as far away as Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to eat, and no sheep, cattle, or donkeys. 5 The Midianites came with their tents and their animals like swarms of locusts to ruin the land. There were so many people and camels they could not be counted. 6 Israel became very poor because of the Midianites, so they cried out to the Lord. 7 When the Israelites cried out to the Lord against the Midianites, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to them. He said, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you out of Egypt, the land of slavery. 9 I saved you from the Egyptians and from all those who were against you. I forced the Canaanites out of their land and gave it to you. 10 Then I said to you, 'I am the Lord your God. Live in the land of the Amorites, but do not worship their gods.' But you did not obey me." 11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak tree at Ophrah that belonged to Joash, one of the Abiezrite people. Gideon, Joash's son, was separating some wheat from the chaff in a winepress to keep the wheat from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!" 13 Then Gideon said, "Sir, if the Lord is with us, why are we having so much trouble? Where are the miracles our ancestors told us he did when the Lord brought them out of Egypt? But now he has left us and has handed us over to the Midianites." 14 The Lord turned to Gideon and said, "Go with your strength and save Israel from the Midianites. I am the one who is sending you." 15 But Gideon answered, "Lord, how can I save Israel? My family group is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least important member of my family." 16 The Lord answered him, "I will be with you. It will seem as if the Midianites you are fighting are only one man." 17 Then Gideon said to the Lord, "If you are pleased with me, give me proof that it is really you talking with me. 18 Please wait here until I come back to you. Let me bring my offering and set it in front of you." And the Lord said, "I will wait until you return." 19 So Gideon went in and cooked a young goat, and with twenty quarts of flour, made bread without yeast. Then he put the meat into a basket and the broth into a pot. He brought them out and gave them to the angel under the oak tree. 20 The angel of God said to Gideon, "Put the meat and the bread without yeast on that rock over there. Then pour the broth on them." And Gideon did as he was told. 21 The angel of the Lord touched the meat and the bread with the end of the stick that was in his hand. Then fire jumped up from the rock and completely burned up the meat and the bread! And the angel of the Lord disappeared! 22 Then Gideon understood he had been talking to the angel of the Lord. So Gideon cried out, "Lord God! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!" 23 But the Lord said to Gideon, "Calm down! Don't be afraid! You will not die!" 24 So Gideon built an altar there to worship the Lord and named it The Lord Is Peace. It still stands at Ophrah, where the Abiezrites live. 25 That same night the Lord said to Gideon, "Take the bull that belongs to your father and a second bull seven years old. Pull down your father's altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah idol beside it. 26 Then build an altar to the Lord your God with its stones in the right order on this high ground. Kill and burn a second bull on this altar, using the wood from the Asherah idol." 27 So Gideon got ten of his servants and did what the Lord had told him to do. But Gideon was afraid that his family and the men of the city might see him, so he did it at night, not in the daytime. 28 When the men of the city got up the next morning, they saw that the altar for Baal had been destroyed and that the Asherah idol beside it had been cut down! They also saw the altar Gideon had built and the second bull that had been sacrificed on it. 29 The men of the city asked each other, "Who did this?" After they asked many questions, someone told them, "Gideon son of Joash did this." 30 So they said to Joash, "Bring your son out. He has pulled down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah idol beside it. He must die!" 31 But Joash said to the angry crowd around him, "Are you going to take Baal's side? Are you going to defend him? Anyone who takes Baal's side will be killed by morning! If Baal is a god, let him fight for himself. It's his altar that has been pulled down." 32 So on that day Gideon got the name Jerub-Baal, which means "let Baal fight against him," because Gideon pulled down Baal's altar. 33 All the Midianites, the Amalekites, and other peoples from the east joined together and came across the Jordan River and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the Lord entered Gideon, and he blew a trumpet to call the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers to all of Manasseh, calling them to follow him. He also sent messengers to the people of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. So they also went up to meet Gideon and his men. 36 Then Gideon said to God, "You said you would help me save Israel. 37 I will put some wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the wool but all of the ground is dry, then I will know that you will use me to save Israel, as you said." 38 And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning and squeezed the wool, he got a full bowl of water from it. 39 Then Gideon said to God, "Don't be angry with me if I ask just one more thing. Please let me make one more test. Let only the wool be dry while the ground around it gets wet with dew." 40 That night God did that very thing. Just the wool was dry, but the ground around it was wet with dew.
1 Early in the morning Jerub-Baal (also called Gideon) and all his men set up their camp at the spring of Harod. The Midianites were camped north of them in the valley at the bottom of the hill called Moreh. 2 Then the Lord said to Gideon, "You have too many men to defeat the Midianites. I don't want the Israelites to brag that they saved themselves. 3 So now, announce to the people, 'Anyone who is afraid may leave Mount Gilead and go back home.'" So twenty-two thousand men returned home, but ten thousand remained. 4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take the men down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say, 'This man will go with you, he will go. But if I say, 'That one will not go with you,' he will not go." 5 So Gideon led the men down to the water. There the Lord said to him, "Separate them into those who drink water by lapping it up like a dog and those who bend down to drink." 6 There were three hundred men who used their hands to bring water to their mouths, lapping it as a dog does. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. 7 Then the Lord said to Gideon, "Using the three hundred men who lapped the water, I will save you and hand Midian over to you. Let all the others go home." 8 So Gideon sent the rest of Israel to their homes. But he kept three hundred men and took the jars and the trumpets of those who left. Now the camp of Midian was in the valley below Gideon. 9 That night the Lord said to Gideon, "Get up. Go down and attack the camp of the Midianites, because I will give them to you. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, take your servant Purah with you. 11 When you come to the camp of Midian, you will hear what they are saying. Then you will not be afraid to attack the camp." So Gideon and his servant Purah went down to the edge of the enemy camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites, and all the peoples from the east were camped in that valley. There were so many of them they seemed like locusts. Their camels could not be counted because they were as many as the grains of sand on the seashore! 13 When Gideon came to the enemy camp, he heard a man telling his friend about a dream. He was saying, "I dreamed that a loaf of barley bread rolled into the camp of Midian. It hit the tent so hard that the tent turned over and fell flat!" 14 The man's friend said, "Your dream is about the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel. God will hand Midian and the whole army over to him!" 15 When Gideon heard about the dream and what it meant, he worshiped God. Then Gideon went back to the camp of Israel and called out to them, "Get up! The Lord has handed the army of Midian over to you!" 16 Gideon divided the three hundred men into three groups. He gave each man a trumpet and an empty jar with a burning torch inside. 17 Gideon told the men, "Watch me and do what I do. When I get to the edge of the camp, do what I do. 18 Surround the enemy camp. When I and everyone with me blow our trumpets, you blow your trumpets, too. Then shout, 'For the Lord and for Gideon!'" 19 So Gideon and the one hundred men with him came to the edge of the enemy camp just after they had changed guards. It was during the middle watch of the night. Then Gideon and his men blew their trumpets and smashed their jars. 20 All three groups of Gideon's men blew their trumpets and smashed their jars. They held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands. Then they shouted, "A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!" 21 Each of Gideon's men stayed in his place around the camp, but the Midianites began shouting and running to escape. 22 When Gideon's three hundred men blew their trumpets, the Lord made all the Midianites fight each other with their swords! The enemy army ran away to the city of Beth Shittah toward Zererah. They ran as far as the border of Abel Meholah, near the city of Tabbath. 23 Then men of Israel from Naphtali, Asher, and all of Manasseh were called out to chase the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers through all the mountains of Ephraim, saying, "Come down and attack the Midianites. Take control of the Jordan River as far as Beth Barah before the Midianites can get to it." So they called out all the men of Ephraim, who took control of the Jordan River as far as Beth Barah. 25 The men of Ephraim captured two princes of Midian named Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb, and they continued chasing the Midianites. They brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was east of the Jordan River.