GOD'S WORD® Translation
1The men from Ephraim strongly protested Gideon's actions. They said, "Why did you do this to us? You didn't invite us to go fight Midian with you." 2Gideon replied, "I haven't done anything compared with what you have done. Aren't the grapes that Ephraim picked after the harvest better than all the grapes in Abiezer's entire harvest? 3God handed Oreb and Zeeb, Midian's commanders, over to you. What have I done compared with that?" When they heard what Gideon said, they weren't angry with him anymore.
4Gideon and his 300 men headed toward the Jordan River. They were exhausted when they crossed it, but they kept pursuing the enemy. 5So Gideon said to the men of Succoth, "Please give me some food for the men under my command. They're exhausted, and I'm pursuing King Zebah and King Zalmunna of Midian." 6The generals at Succoth replied, "We shouldn't give your army food. You haven't captured Zebah and Zalmunna yet." 7Gideon responded, "Alright, then. When the LORD hands Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, I'll whip your bodies with thorns and thistles from the desert." 8Then Gideon went to Penuel and asked the people there for the same help. But they gave him the same reply that the men of Succoth gave. 9So he told them, "When I come back after my victory, I'll tear down this tower."
10Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with an army of about 15,000 men. This was all that was left of Kedem's entire army. In the battle, 120,000 soldiers died. 11So Gideon went up Tent Dwellers Road, east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and defeated the unsuspecting Midianite army. 12Zebah and Zalmunna fled as Gideon pursued them. He captured King Zebah and King Zalmunna of Midian, and the whole Midianite army panicked.
13Gideon, son of Joash, returned from the battle through the Heres Pass 14and captured a young man from Succoth. He questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the 77 officials and leaders of Succoth. 15Gideon went to the men of Succoth and said, "Here are Zebah and Zalmunna! You insulted me when you said, 'We shouldn't give your exhausted men food before you've captured Zebah and Zalmunna.'" 16So Gideon took the leaders of the city and taught them a lesson using thorns and thistles from the desert. 17Then he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of that city.
18He asked Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?" They answered, "They were like you. Each one looked like a king's son." 19Gideon replied, "They were my brothers, my mother's sons. I solemnly swear, as the LORD lives, if you had let them live, I would not have to kill you now." 20Then he told Jether, his firstborn son, "Get up and kill them!" But Jether didn't draw his sword. He was afraid because he was only a young man. 21Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Get up and do it yourself! It's a man's job!" So Gideon got up and killed them. Then he took the half-moon ornaments that were on their camels' necks.
22The men of Israel said to Gideon, "You, then your son, and then your grandson, must rule us. You rescued us from Midian." 23Gideon replied, "I will not rule you nor will my son. The LORD will rule you." 24Then Gideon said to them, "Do me a favor. Each of you give me the earrings from your loot." (Their enemies, the Ishmaelites, wore gold earrings.) 25The men of Israel answered, "Yes, we'll give them to you." So they spread out a coat. Each man took the earrings from his loot and dropped them on it. 26The gold earrings Gideon had asked for weighed 40 pounds. This did not include the half-moon ornaments, the earrings, the purple clothes worn by the kings of Midian, and the chains from their camels' necks. 27Then Gideon used the gold to make an idol and placed it in his hometown, Ophrah. All Israel chased after it there as though it were a prostitute. It became a trap for Gideon and his family.
28The power of Midian was crushed by the people of Israel, and Midian never again became a threat. So the land had peace for 40 years during Gideon's life.
32Gideon, son of Joash, died at a very old age. He was buried in the tomb of his father Joash at Ophrah, the city belonging to Abiezer's family.
33As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel chased after other gods-the Baals-as though they were prostitutes. They made Baal Berith their god. 34The Israelites did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from all the enemies around them. 35And they were not kind to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) despite all the good he had done for Israel.