8 And the men of Ephraim said to Gideon, Why have you treated us like this, not calling us when you went to fight with Midian? And they quarreled with him furiously.
2 And he said to them, What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of [your big tribe of] Ephraim better than the vintage of [my little clan of] Abiezer?
3 [a]God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and what was I able to do in comparison with you? Then their anger toward him was abated when he had said that.
4 And Gideon came to the Jordan and passed over, he and the 300 men with him, faint yet pursuing.
5 And he said to the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are faint, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.
6 And the princes of Succoth said, Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?
7 And Gideon said, For that, when the Lord has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will thresh your flesh with the thorns and briers of the wilderness!
8 And he went from there up to Penuel and made the same request, and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had done.
9 And [Gideon] said to the men of Penuel, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army—about 15,000 men, all who were left of all the army of the sons of the east, for there had fallen 120,000 men who drew the sword.
11 And Gideon went up by the route of those who dwelt in tents east of Nobah and Jogbehah and smote their camp [unexpectedly], for the army thought itself secure.
12 And Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and terrified all the army.
13 Then Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres.
14 And he caught a young man of Succoth and inquired of him, and [the youth] wrote down for him [the names of] the officials of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men.
15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you scoffed at me, saying, Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are faint?
16 And he took the elders of the city and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth [a lesson].
17 And he broke down the tower of Penuel and slew the men of the city.
18 Then [Gideon] said to Zebah and Zalmunna, What kind of men were they whom you slew at Tabor? And they replied, They were like you, each of them resembled the son of a king.
19 And he said, They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not slay you.
20 And [Gideon] said to Jether his firstborn [to embarrass them], Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword, for he feared because he was yet a lad.
21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise yourself and fall on us; for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose and slew Zebah and Zalmunna and took the [crescent-shaped] ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.
22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, Rule over us—you and your son and your son’s son also—for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.
23 And Gideon said to them, I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.
24 And Gideon said to them, Let me make a request of you—every man of you give me the earrings of his spoil. For [the Midianites] had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites [general term for all descendants of Keturah].
25 And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and every man cast on it the earrings of his spoil.
26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescents and pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and the chains that were about their camels’ necks.
27 And Gideon made an ephod [a sacred, high priest’s garment] of it, and put it in his city of Ophrah, and all Israel paid homage to it there, and [b]it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.
28 Thus was Midian subdued before the Israelites so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the land had peace and rest for forty years in the days of Gideon.
29 Jerubbaal (Gideon) son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.
30 Now Gideon had seventy sons born to him, for he had many wives.
31 And his concubine, who was in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech.
32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 As soon as Gideon was dead, the Israelites turned again and played the harlot after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.
34 And the Israelites did not remember the Lord their God, Who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side;
35 Neither did they show kindness to the family of Jerubbaal, that is, Gideon, in return for all the good which he had done for Israel.
- Judges 8:3 “Gideon’s good words were as victorious as his sword” (Bishop Joseph Hall, cited by Charles Ellicott, A Bible Commentary). “He might have said that he could place but little dependence upon his brethren when, through faintheartedness, 22,000 left him at one time (Judg. 7:3), but he passed this by and took a more excellent way” (Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible with A Commentary). “The improving of a victory is often more honorable and of greater consequence than the winning of it... Humility of deportment is the. .. surest method of ending strife” (Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Holy Bible).
- Judges 8:27 The gold and purple of the spoil enabled Gideon to make an ephod, presumably on the pattern of that described in Exod. 28. It was not exactly an idol but a kind of fetish, and it diverted the thoughts of the people from Shiloh and the spiritual worship of the unseen and eternal God. So apt is the human heart to cling to some outward emblem—it may be a crucifix, a wafer, or a church—and miss that worship in spirit and in truth which the Father seeks (John 4:23) (F. B. Meyer, Devotional Commentary on Joshua—II Kings).