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Judges 6:1–8:35

The Midianites Oppresses Israel

6 The Israelitesa did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and Yahweh gave them into the hand of the Midianitesb for seven years. The hand of the Midianitesc prevailed over Israel; because of the presence of the Midianites,d the Israelitese made for themselves hiding places that were in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. And whenever Israel sowed seed, the Midianites,f Amalekites,g and the people of the east would come up against them. They would camp against them and destroy the produce of the land as far ash Gaza; they left no produce in Israel, or sheep, ox, or donkey. For they, their livestock, and their tents would come up like a great number of locusts; they and their camels could not be counted; they came into the land and devoured it. Israel was very poor because of the presence of the Midianites,i and the Israelitesj cried out to Yahweh.

When the Israelitesk cried out to Yahweh on account of the Midianites,l Yahweh sent a prophet to the Israelites,m and he said to them, “Thus says Yahweh the God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt; I brought you from the house of slavery.n I delivered you from the hand of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors, and drove them out from before you;o and I gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am Yahweh your God; do not fearp the gods of the Amorites,q in whose land you are living.’ But you have not listened to my voice.”

The Angel of Yahweh Calls Gideon

11 The angel of Yahweh came and sat under the oakr that was at Ophrah that belonged to Jehoash the Abiezrite; and Gideon his son was threshing wheat in the winepress to hide its from the Midianites.t 12 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him and said to him, “Yahweh is with you, you mighty warrior.”u 13 Gideon said to him, “Excuse me, my lord. If Yahweh is with us, why then has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestorsv recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not Yahweh bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Yahweh has forsaken us; he has given us into the palm of Midian.” 14 And Yahweh turned to him and said, “Go in this your strength, and you will deliver Israel from the palm of Midian. Did I not send you?” 15 He said to him, “Excuse me, my lord. How will I deliver Israel? Look, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” 16 And Yahweh said to him, “But I will be with you, and you will defeat Midian as if they are one man.”w 17 And hex said to him, “Please, if I have found favor in your eyes, show me a signy that you are speaking with me. 18 Please, do not depart from here until I come back to you and bring out my gift and set it out before you.”z And he said, “I will stay until you return.”

19 And Gideon went and prepared a young goata and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour; he put meat in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and he brought them to him under the oakb and presented them. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes and put them on this rock; pour the broth over it.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of Yahweh reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and he touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and fire went up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of Yahweh went from his sight.c 22 And Gideon realized that he was the angel of Yahweh; and Gideon said, “Oh, my lord Yahweh! For now I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face.” 23 And Yahweh said to him, “Peace be with you. Do not fear; you will not die.” 24 And Gideon built there an altar to Yahweh, and he called it “Yahweh is peace.” To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.d

25 Now on that same night Yahweh said to him, “Take the bull of the cattle that belongs to your father, and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherahe that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to Yahweh your God on the top of this stronghold in the proper arrangement, and take a second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherahf that you will cut down. 27 Gideon took ten men from his servants, and he did just as Yahweh told him;g and because he was too afraid of his father’s familyh and the men of the city to do it during the day, he did it during night.

Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal

28 When the men of the city got up early in the morning, look, the altar of Baal and the Asherahi that was beside it were cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said to one another,j “Who did this thing?” So they searched and inquired, and they said, “Gideon son of Jehoash did this thing.” 30 And the men of the city said to Jehoash, “Bring out your son so that he may die, for he has pulled down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah that was beside it.” 31 But Jehoash said to all who stood against him,k “Will you contend for Baal? Will you rescue him? Whoever contends for him will be put to death by the morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself because his altar has been pulled down.”l 32 Thus, on that day hem was called Jerub-Baal, which means,n “Let Baal contend against him,” because he had pulled down his altar.

33 Then all the Midianites,o Amalekites,p and the people of the east gathered together and crossed the Jordan; and they camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34 So the Spirit of Yahweh took possession ofq Gideon, and he blew on the trumpet, and the Abiezritesr were called to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they were also called to follow him; and he sent messengers throughout Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they went up to meet them.

Gideon Tests Yahweh With the Fleece

36 Then Gideon said to God, “In order to see that you will deliver Israel by my hand, just as you have said, 37 I will place a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and all of the ground is dry, I will know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, just as you have said.” 38 And it was so. He arose early the next day and squeezed the fleece, and he wrung out dew from the fleece, a full drinking bowl of water. 39 And Gideon said to God, “Do not let your anger burns against me; let me speak once more. Please let me test once more with the fleece; let the fleece be dry, and let there be dew on the ground.” 40 And God did so that night; only the fleece was dry, and dew was on all the ground.

Gideon’s Three Hundred Men

7 Then Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) rose early, and all the army that was with him. They were camped beside the spring of Harod;a the camp of Midian was north of the hill of Moreh, in the valley. And Yahweh said to Gideon, “The troops that are with you are too many for me to give Midian into their hands; Israel will boast, saying, ‘My hand has delivered me.’ So then, please proclaim in the hearingb of the troops, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from the Mount of Gilead.’ ” About twenty-two thousand troops returned, and ten thousand remained. And Yahweh said to Gideon, “There are still too many troops; bring them down to the water, and I will sift through themc for you there. For whomever I say to you, ‘This one will go with you,’ he will go with you; and for all whom I say to you, ‘This one will not go with you,’ he will not go.” So he brought down the troops to the water, and Yahweh said to Gideon, “You must separate everyone who laps up the water to drink with his tongue like a dog from those who kneel.”d The number of those lapping up the water with their hand to their mouth was three hundred men; all the rest of the troops kneeled to drink the water. And Yahweh said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the three hundred men lapping up the water; I will give Midian into your hand, so let the other troops go, each to his own place. So they took their provisions and their trumpets into their hand, and he sent all the men of Israel, each one, to his tent; but three hundred of the men he kept; the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

And that night Yahweh said to him, “Get up; go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, 11 and you will hear what they say; and afterward you will have courage,e and you will go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed menf that were in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites,g Amalekites,h and all the people of the east were lying in the valley, like a great multitude of locusts; their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand that is on the shore of the sea. 13 When Gideon came, a man was recounting a dreami to his friend, and he said, “Behold, I had a dream;j a round loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came up to the tent, it struck it, and it fell and turned it upside down so that the tent fell.” 14 His friend answered him and said, “This cannot be anything except the sword of Gideon son of Jehoash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and the entire camp into his hand.”

15 When Gideon heard the recounting of the dreamk and its interpretation, he bowed down and returned to the camp of Israel; and he said, “Get up, for Yahweh has given the camp of Midian into your hand.” 16 He divided the three hundred men into three companies,l and he put trumpets and empty jars in everyone’s hand, with torches inside the jars. 17 And he said to them, “Watch me and do the same. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do.m 18 When I and all who are with me blow on the trumpet, you must also blow on the trumpets and surround the camp, and you must say, ‘To Yahweh and to Gideon!’ ”

19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the edge of the camp at the beginning of …

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