2The Midianites were so cruel that many Israelites ran to the mountains and hid in caves.
time the Israelites would plant crops, the Midianites invaded Israel
together with the Amalekites and other eastern nations.
rode in on their camels, set up their tents, and then let their
livestock eat the crops as far as the town of Gaza. The Midianites
stole food, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. Like a swarm of locusts, they could not be counted, and they ruined the land wherever they went.
6-7The Midianites took almost everything that belonged to the Israelites, and the Israelites begged the LORD for help.
8-9Then the LORD sent a prophet to them with this message:
am the LORD God of Israel, so listen to what I say. You were slaves in
Egypt, but I set you free and led you out of Egypt into this land. And
when nations here made life miserable for you, I rescued you and helped
you get rid of them and take their land.
am your God, and I told you not to worship Amorite gods, even though
you are living in the land of the Amorites. But you refused to listen.
12The angel appeared and spoke to Gideon, " The LORD is helping you, and you are a strong warrior."
answered, " Please don't take this wrong, but if the LORD is helping
us, then why have all of these awful things happened? We've heard how
the LORD performed miracles and rescued our ancestors from Egypt. But
those things happened long ago. Now the LORD has abandoned us to the
the LORD himself said, " Gideon, you will be strong, because I am
giving you the power to rescue Israel from the Midianites."
replied, " But how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest one in
Manasseh, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am."
Gideon," the LORD answered, " you can rescue Israel because I am going
to help you! Defeating the Midianites will be as easy as beating up one
said, " It's hard to believe that I'm actually talking to the LORD.
Please do something so I'll know that you really are the LORD.
18And wait here until I bring you an offering."
" All right, I'll wait," the LORD answered.
went home and killed a young goat, then started boiling the meat. Next,
he opened a big sack of flour and made it into thin bread.
When the meat was done, he put it in a basket and poured the broth into
a clay cooking pot. He took the meat, the broth, and the bread and
placed them under the big tree.
20God's angel said, " Gideon, put the meat and the bread on this rock, and pour the broth over them." Gideon did as he was told.
angel was holding a walking stick, and he touched the meat and the
bread with the end of the stick. Flames jumped from the rock and burned
up the meat and the bread.
When Gideon looked, the angel was gone.
22Gideon realized that he had seen one of the LORD's angels. " Oh!" he moaned. " Now I'm going to die."
23" Calm down!" the LORD told Gideon. " There's nothing to be afraid of. You're not going to die."
built an altar for worshiping the LORD and called it " The LORD Calms
Our Fears." It still stands there in Ophrah, a town in the territory of
the Abiezer clan.
your father's second-best bull, the one that's seven years old. Use it
to pull down the altar where your father worships Baal and cut down the
sacred pole next to the altar.
build an altar for worshiping me on the highest part of the hill where
your town is built. Use layers of stones for my altar, not just a pile
of rocks. Cut up the wood from the pole, make a fire, kill the bull,
and burn it as a sacrifice to me.
chose ten of his servants to help him, and they did everything God had
said. But since Gideon was afraid of his family and the other people in
town, he did it all at night.
the people of the town got up the next morning, they saw that Baal's
altar had been knocked over, and the sacred pole next to it had been
cut down. Then they noticed the new altar covered with the remains of
the sacrificed bull.
Who could have done such a thing?" they asked. And they kept on asking,
until finally someone told them, " Gideon the son of Joash did it."
men of the town went to Joash and said, " Your son Gideon knocked over
Baal's altar and cut down the sacred pole next to it. Hand him over, so
we can kill him!"
crowd pushed closer and closer, but Joash replied, " Are you trying to
take revenge for Baal? Are you trying to rescue Baal? If you are, you
will be the ones who are put to death, and it will happen before
another day dawns. If Baal really is a god, let him take his own
revenge on someone who tears down his altar."
same day, Joash changed Gideon's name to Jerubbaal, explaining, " He
tore down Baal's altar, so let Baal take revenge himself."
LORD's Spirit took control of Gideon, and Gideon blew a signal on a
trumpet to tell the men in the Abiezer clan to follow him.
also sent messengers to the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and
Naphtali, telling the men of these tribes to come and join his army.
Then they set out toward the enemy camp.
prayed to God, " I know that you promised to help me rescue Israel, but
I need proof. Tonight I'll put some wool on the stone floor of that
threshing-place over there. If you really will help me rescue Israel,
then tomorrow morning let there be dew on the wool, but let the stone
floor be dry."
that's just what happened. Early the next morning, Gideon got up and
checked the wool. He squeezed out enough water to fill a bowl.
Gideon prayed to God again. " Don't be angry at me," Gideon said. " Let
me try this just one more time, so I'll really be sure you'll help me.
Only this time, let the wool be dry and the stone floor be wet with
40That night, God made the stone floor wet with dew, but he kept the wool dry.
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LORD said, " Gideon, your army is too big. I can't let you win with
this many soldiers. The Israelites would think that they had won the
battle all by themselves and that I didn't have anything to do with it.
3So call your troops together and tell them that anyone who is really afraid can leave Mount Gilead and go home." Twenty-two thousand men returned home, leaving Gideon with only ten thousand soldiers.
Gideon," the LORD said, " you still have too many soldiers. Take them
down to the spring and I'll test them. I'll tell you which ones can go
along with you and which ones must go back home."
Gideon led his army down to the spring, the LORD told him, " Watch how
each man gets a drink of water. Then divide them into two groups--those
who lap the water like a dog and those who kneel down to drink."
6Three hundred men scooped up water in their hands and lapped it, and the rest knelt to get a drink.
LORD said, " Gideon, your army will be made up of everyone who lapped
the water from their hands. Send the others home. I'm going to rescue
Israel by helping you and your army of three hundred defeat the
Gideon gave these orders, " You three hundred men stay here. The rest
of you may go home, but leave your food and trumpets with us."
Gideon's army camp was on top of a hill overlooking the Midianite camp in the valley.
9That night, the LORD said to Gideon. " Get up! Attack the Midianite camp. I am going to let you defeat them,
10but if you're still afraid, you and your servant Purah should sneak down to their camp.
11When you hear what the Midianites are saying, you'll be brave enough to attack."
Gideon and Purah worked their way to the edge of the enemy camp, where soldiers were on guard duty.
12The camp was huge. The Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern nations covered the valley like a swarm of locusts. And it would be easier to count the grains of sand on a beach than to count their camels.
13Gideon overheard one enemy guard telling another, " I had a dream about a flat loaf of barley bread that came tumbling into our camp. It hit the headquarters tent, and the tent flipped over and fell down."
other soldier answered, " Your dream must have been about Gideon, the
Israelite commander. It means God will let him and his army defeat the
Midianite army and everyone else in our camp."
soon as Gideon heard about the dream and what it meant, he bowed down
to praise God. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and shouted, "
Let's go! The LORD is going to let us defeat the Midianite army."
divided his little army into three groups of one hundred men, and he
gave each soldier a trumpet and a large clay jar with a burning torch
said, " When we get to the enemy camp, spread out and surround it. Then
wait for me to blow a signal on my trumpet. As soon as you hear it,
blow your trumpets and shout, `Fight for the LORD! Fight for Gideon!' "
19Gideon and his group reached the edge of the enemy camp a few hours after dark, just after the new guards had come on duty. Gideon and his soldiers blew their trumpets and smashed the clay jars that were hiding the torches.
rest of Gideon's soldiers blew the trumpets they were holding in their
right hands. Then they smashed the jars and held the burning torches in
their left hands. Everyone shouted, " Fight with your swords for the
LORD and for Gideon!"
21The enemy soldiers started yelling and tried to run away. Gideon's troops stayed in their positions surrounding the camp
blew their trumpets again. As they did, the LORD made the enemy
soldiers pull out their swords and start fighting each other.
The enemy army tried to escape from the camp. They ran to Acacia Tree Town, toward Zeredah, and as far as the edge of the land that belonged to the town of Abel-Meholah near Tabbath.
23Gideon sent word for more Israelite soldiers to come from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, and both halves of Manasseh to help fight the Midianites.
also sent messengers to tell all the men who lived in the hill country
of Ephraim, " Come and help us fight the Midianites! Put guards at
every spring, stream, and well, as far as Beth-Barah before the
Midianites can get to them. And guard the Jordan River." Troops from
Ephraim did exactly what Gideon had asked,
25and they even helped chase the Midianites on the east side of the Jordan River. These troops captured Raven and Wolf,
the two Midianite leaders. They killed Raven at a large rock that has
come to be known as Raven Rock, and they killed Wolf near a wine-pit
that has come to be called Wolf Wine-Pit. The men of Ephraim brought the heads of the two Midianite leaders to Gideon.
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