March 13th, 2018

Judges 7

1Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people who were with him, rose up early, and encamped beside the spring of Harod: and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2Yahweh said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.' 3Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.'" Twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. 4Yahweh said to Gideon, "The people are still too many. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. It shall be, that of whom I tell you, 'This shall go with you,' the same shall go with you; and of whoever I tell you, 'This shall not go with you,' the same shall not go." 5So he brought down the people to the water; and Yahweh said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps of the water with his tongue, like a dog laps, you shall set him by himself; likewise everyone who bows down on his knees to drink." 6The number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people bowed down on their knees to drink water. 7Yahweh said to Gideon, "By the three hundred men who lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, each to his own place." 8So the people took food in their hand, and their trumpets; and he sent all the men of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the three hundred men: and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley. 9It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, "Arise, go down into the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand. 10But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp: 11and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened to go down into the camp." Then went he down with Purah his servant to the outermost part of the armed men who were in the camp. 12The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is on the seashore for multitude. 13When Gideon had come, behold, there was a man telling a dream to his fellow; and he said, "Behold, I dreamed a dream; and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat." 14His fellow answered, "This is nothing other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. God has delivered Midian into his hand, with all the army." 15It was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and its interpretation, that he worshiped; and he returned into the camp of Israel, and said, "Arise; for Yahweh has delivered the army of Midian into your hand!" 16He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets, and empty pitchers, with torches within the pitchers. 17He said to them, "Watch me, and do likewise. Behold, when I come to the outermost part of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so you shall do. 18When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and shout, 'For Yahweh and for Gideon!'" 19So Gideon, and the hundred men who were with him, came to the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and broke in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands. 20The three companies blew the trumpets, and broke the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands with which to blow; and they shouted, "The sword of Yahweh and of Gideon!" 21They each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran; and they shouted, and put them to flight. 22They blew the three hundred trumpets, and Yahweh set every man's sword against his fellow, and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth Shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath. 23The men of Israel were gathered together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after Midian. 24Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against Midian, and take before them the waters, as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan!" So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together, and took the waters as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan. 25They took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian: and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

Judges 8

1The men of Ephraim said to him, "Why have you treated us this way, that you didn't call us, when you went to fight with Midian?" They rebuked him sharply. 2He said to them, "What have I now done in comparison with you? Isn't the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3God has delivered into your hand the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb! What was I able to do in comparison with you?" Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that. 4Gideon came to the Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men who were with him, faint, yet pursuing. 5He said to the men of Succoth, "Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me; for they are faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian." 6The princes of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?" 7Gideon said, "Therefore when Yahweh has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." 8He went up there to Penuel, and spoke to them in the same way; and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. 9He spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, "When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower." 10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the children of the east; for there fell one hundred twenty thousand men who drew sword. 11Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and struck the army; for the army was secure. 12Zebah and Zalmunna fled; and he pursued after them; and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and confused all the army. 13Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle from the ascent of Heres. 14He caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described for him the princes of Succoth, and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15He came to the men of Succoth, and said, "See Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, 'Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?'" 16He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. 17He broke down the tower of Penuel, and killed the men of the city. 18Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?" They answered, "They were like you. Each one resembled the children of a king." 19He said, "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As Yahweh lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you." 20He said to Jether his firstborn, "Get up, and kill them!" But the youth didn't draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was yet a youth. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Rise and fall on us; for as the man is, so is his strength." Gideon arose, and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescents that were on their camels' necks. 22Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, both you, and your son, and your son's son also; for you have saved us out of the hand of Midian." 23Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you. Yahweh shall rule over you." 24Gideon said to them, "I would make a request of you, that you would give me every man the earrings of his spoil." (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25They answered, "We will willingly give them." They spread a garment, and every man threw the earrings of his spoil into it. 26The weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescents, and the pendants, and the purple clothing that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels' necks. 27Gideon made an ephod of it, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel played the prostitute after it there; and it became a snare to Gideon, and to his house. 28So Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, and they lifted up their heads no more. The land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon. 29Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30Gideon had seventy sons conceived from his body; for he had many wives. 31His concubine who was in Shechem, she also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33It happened, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and played the prostitute after the Baals, and made Baal Berith their god. 34The children of Israel didn't remember Yahweh their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35neither did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shown to Israel.

Judges 9

1Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brothers, and spoke with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, 2"Please speak in the ears of all the men of Shechem, 'Is it better for you that all the sons of Jerubbaal, who are seventy persons, rule over you, or that one rule over you?' Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh." 3His mother's brothers spoke of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, "He is our brother." 4They gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal Berith, with which Abimelech hired vain and light fellows, who followed him. 5He went to his father's house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, being seventy persons, on one stone: but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. 6All the men of Shechem assembled themselves together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem. 7When they told it to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said to them, "Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.' 9"But the olive tree said to them, 'Should I leave my fatness, with which by me they honor God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?' 10"The trees said to the fig tree, 'Come and reign over us.' 11"But the fig tree said to them, 'Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?' 12"The trees said to the vine, 'Come and reign over us.' 13"The vine said to them, 'Should I leave my new wine, which cheers God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?' 14"Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'Come and reign over us.' 15"The bramble said to the trees, 'If in truth you anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.' 16"Now therefore, if you have dealt truly and righteously, in that you have made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him according to the deserving of his hands 17(for my father fought for you, and risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: 18and you have risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, seventy persons, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother); 19if you then have dealt truly and righteously with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: 20but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech." 21Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother. 22Abimelech was prince over Israel three years. 23God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: 24that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and that their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. 25The men of Shechem set an ambush for him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech. 26Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him. 27They went out into the field, and harvested their vineyards, and trod the grapes, and held festival, and went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech. 28Gaal the son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Isn't he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: but why should we serve him? 29Would that this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech." He said to Abimelech, "Increase your army, and come out!" 30When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31He sent messengers to Abimelech craftily, saying, "Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem; and behold, they incite the city against you. 32Now therefore, go up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field: 33and it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early, and rush on the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then may you do to them as you shall find occasion." 34Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. 35Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people who were with him, from the ambush. 36When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, "Behold, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains." Zebul said to him, "You see the shadow of the mountains as if they were men." 37Gaal spoke again and said, "Behold, people are coming down by the middle of the land, and one company comes by the way of the oak of Meonenim." 38Then Zebul said to him, "Now where is your mouth, that you said, 'Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?' Isn't this the people that you have despised? Please go out now and fight with them." 39Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many fell wounded, even to the entrance of the gate. 41Abimelech lived at Arumah: and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, that they should not dwell in Shechem. 42It happened on the next day, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech. 43He took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field; and he looked, and behold, the people came forth out of the city; He rose up against them, and struck them. 44Abimelech, and the companies that were with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and the two companies rushed on all who were in the field, and struck them. 45Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and killed the people who were therein: and he beat down the city, and sowed it with salt. 46When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered into the stronghold of the house of Elberith. 47It was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it up, and laid it on his shoulder: and he said to the people who were with him, "What you have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done!" 49All the people likewise each cut down his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them at the base of the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire on them; so that all the people of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women. 50Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. 51But there was a strong tower within the city, and there fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut themselves in, and went up to the roof of the tower. 52Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53A certain woman cast an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and broke his skull. 54Then he called hastily to the young man his armor bearer, and said to him, "Draw your sword, and kill me, that men not say of me, 'A woman killed him.' His young man thrust him through, and he died." 55When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man to his place. 56Thus God requited the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father, in killing his seventy brothers; 57and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem did God requite on their heads: and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.