8 The men of Ephraim asked Gideon, “·Why did you treat us this way [L What is this thing you have done to us]? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight against Midian?” They argued ·angrily [fiercely; greatly] with Gideon.
2 But he answered them, “·I have not done as well as you! [L What have I done compared to you?] The ·small part you did [L the gleanings of Ephraim; C picking up the leftover grapes after harvest] was better than ·all that my people of Abiezer did [L the vintage/grape harvest of Abiezer]. 3 God ·let you capture [L gave into your hand] Oreb and Zeeb, the ·princes [leaders; commanders] of Midian. ·How can I compare what I did with what you did [L What did I do in comparison]?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, ·they were not as angry anymore [they calmed down; L their spirit declined/subsided].
Gideon Captures Two Kings
4 When Gideon and his three hundred men came to the Jordan River, they were ·tired [exhausted], but they chased the enemy across to the other side. 5 Gideon said to the men of Succoth, “Please give my soldiers some loaves of bread because they are ·very tired [exhausted]. I am chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”
6 But the ·leaders [princes; officials] of Succoth said, “Why should we give your soldiers bread? ·You haven’t caught Zebah and Zalmunna yet [L Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your hand?].”
7 Then Gideon said, “·The Lord will surrender [L When the Lord surrenders] Zebah and Zalmunna to me. After that, I will ·whip [beat; tear; L thresh] your skin with thorns and briers from the ·desert [wilderness].”
8 Gideon left Succoth and went up to the city of Peniel and ·asked them for food [L spoke this to them]. But the people of Peniel gave him the same answer as the people of Succoth. 9 So Gideon said to the men of Peniel, “·After I win the victory [L When I return in peace], I will return and pull down this tower.”
10 Zebah and Zalmunna and their army were in the city of Karkor. About fifteen thousand men were left of the armies of the ·peoples [L sons] of the east. Already one hundred twenty thousand ·soldiers [L men who draw the sword] had ·been killed [fallen in battle]. 11 Gideon went up the road of those who live in tents [C the route taken by caravans or nomads] east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and he attacked the ·enemy army [camp] ·when they did not expect it [in a surprise attack; L while they were secure]. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian, ran away, but Gideon chased and captured them and ·frightened away [routed; caused to panic] their army.
13 Then Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the ·Pass [or Ascent] of Heres. 14 Gideon captured a young man from Succoth and ·asked him some questions [interrogated him]. So the young man wrote down for Gideon the names of seventy-seven ·officers [princes; leaders] and elders of Succoth.
Gideon Punishes Succoth
15 When Gideon came to Succoth, he said to the people of that city, “·Here are [L Look!; T Behold!] Zebah and Zalmunna. You ·made fun of [taunted; insulted] me by saying, ‘Why should we give bread to your tired men? ·You have not caught Zebah and Zalmunna yet [L Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your hand?].’” 16 So Gideon took the elders of the city and ·punished them [taught them a lesson] with thorns and briers from the ·desert [wilderness]. 17 He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the people in that city.
18 Gideon asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What were the men like that you killed on Mount Tabor?”
They answered, “They were like you. Each one of them looked like ·a prince [L sons of a king].”
19 Gideon said, “Those were my brothers, my mother’s sons. As surely as the Lord lives, I would not kill you if you had spared them.” 20 Then Gideon said to Jether, his oldest son, “Kill them.” But Jether was only a boy and was afraid, so he did not draw his sword.
21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said to Gideon, “Come on. ·Kill us [L Do it] yourself. As the saying goes, ‘·It takes a man to do a man’s job [L As is a man, so is his strength; C it was honorable to be killed by a great warrior, but humiliating to be killed by a boy].’” So Gideon got up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna and took the ·decorations [L crescent-shaped ornaments] off their camels’ necks.
Gideon Makes an Idol
22 The people of Israel said to Gideon, “You ·saved [rescued; T delivered] us from the Midianites. Now, we want you and your son and your grandson to rule over us [C to establish a royal dynasty].”
23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will be your ruler.” 24 He said, “I want you to do this one thing for me. I want each of you to give me a gold earring from ·the things you took in the fighting [L his plunder].” (The Ishmaelites [C related to the Midianites, and sometimes identified with them; Gen. 37:25–28] wore gold earrings.)
25 They said, “We will ·gladly [indeed] give you what you want.” So they spread out a ·coat [cloak; garment], and everyone threw down an earring from ·what he had taken [his plunder]. 26 The gold earrings weighed ·about forty-three pounds [L 1,700 shekels of gold]. This did not count the ·decorations [L crescent-shaped ornaments], ·necklaces [pendants], and purple robes worn by the kings of Midian, nor the chains from the camels’ necks. 27 Gideon used the gold to make a ·holy vest [ephod; C perhaps in imitation of the high priest and used to discern God’s will; Ex. 29:2–5], which he put in his hometown of Ophrah. But all the Israelites ·were unfaithful to God [L prostituted themselves] and worshiped it, so it became a ·trap [snare; cause of sin] for Gideon and his family.
The Death of Gideon
28 So Midian was ·under the rule of [subdued before] ·Israel [L the sons/T children of Israel]; they did not ·cause trouble anymore [L raise its head again]. And the land had ·peace [rest] for forty years, ·as long as Gideon was alive [L in the days of Gideon].
29 Jerub-Baal [C another name for Gideon; 6:32] son of Joash went to his home to live. 30 He had seventy sons ·of his own [L who went out from his loins], because he had many wives. 31 He had a ·slave woman [concubine; C a secondary wife, of lower status than a primary wife but higher than a common servant] who lived in Shechem, and he had a son by her, whom he named Abimelech [C “My father is king”]. 32 So Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age. He was buried in the tomb of Joash, his father, in Ophrah, ·where the Abiezrites live [L of the Abiezrites].
33 As soon as Gideon died, the ·people [L sons; T children] of Israel ·were again unfaithful to God and followed [L prostituted themselves to] the Baals. They made Baal-Berith their god. 34 The ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] did not remember the Lord their God, who had ·saved [rescued; T delivered] them from all their enemies living all around them. 35 And they were not ·kind [loyal; faithful] to the family of Jerub-Baal, also called Gideon, for all the good he had done for Israel.