New Heart English Bible
1The men of Ephraim said to him, "Why have you done such a thing to us, not calling us when you went to fight with Midian?" And they argued with him fiercely. 2He said to them, "What have I now done in comparison with you? Isn't the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3God has delivered into your hand the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?" Then their anger subsided toward him, when he had said that.
4Gideon came to the Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men who were with him, exhausted and famished. 5He said to the men of Succoth, "Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me; for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian." 6The princes of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?" 7Gideon said, "Therefore when the LORD has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thresh your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." 8He went up there to Penuel, and spoke to them in like manner; and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. 9He spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, "When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower."
10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the Kedemites; for there fell one hundred twenty thousand men who drew sword. 11And Gideon went up by the way of those who dwell in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, opposite Zebah, and struck the army, when the army was unsuspecting. 12Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued after them, and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the entire army.
13Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle from the ascent of Heres. 14He caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described for him the officials of Succoth, and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15He came to the men of Succoth, and said, "Look Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?" 16He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he threshed the men of Succoth. 17He broke down the tower of Penuel, and killed the men of the city.
18Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?" They answered, "As you are, so were they; each one resembled the son of a king." 19He said, "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you." 20He said to Jether his firstborn, "Get up, and kill them." But the youth did not draw his sword; for he feared, because he was yet a youth. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Rise up yourself, and kill us, for a man is judged by his strength." Gideon arose, and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels' necks.
22Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, both you, and your son, and your son's son also; for you have saved us out of the hand of Midian." 23Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you." 24Gideon said to them, "I would make a request of you, that you would give me every man the earrings from his plunder." (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25They answered, "We will willingly give them." They spread a garment, and every one of them threw an earring from his plunder. 26The weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand and seven hundred pieces of gold, besides the crescents, and the pendants, and the purple clothing that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels' necks. 27Gideon made an ephod of it, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel prostituted themselves after it there; and it became a snare to Gideon, and to his house.
28So Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, and did not become a threat again. The land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.
29Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30Gideon had seventy sons conceived from his body; for he had many wives. 31His concubine who was in Shechem, she also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33It happened, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and played the prostitute after the Baals, and made Baal Berith their god. 34The children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35neither did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shown to Israel.