Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and everyone who was with him, got up early and camped beside the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them, below the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, or else Israel might brag: 'I did it myself.'
Now announce in the presence of the people: 'Whoever is fearful and trembling may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.' " So 22,000 of the people turned back, but 10,000 remained.
Then the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many people. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say to you, 'This one can go with you,' he can go. But if I say about anyone, 'This one cannot go with you,' he cannot go."
So he brought the people down to the water, and the LORD said to Gideon, "Separate everyone who laps water with his tongue like a dog. Do the same with everyone who kneels to drink."
The number of those who lapped with their hands to their mouths was 300 men, and all the rest of the people knelt to drink water.
The LORD said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and hand the Midianites over to you. But everyone else is to go home."
So Gideon sent all the Israelites to their tents, but kept the 300 who took the people's provisions and their trumpets. The camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
That night the LORD said to him, "Get up and go into the camp, for I have given it into your hand.
But if you are afraid to go to the camp, go with Purah your servant.
Listen to what they say, and then you will be strengthened to go to the camp." So he went with Purah his servant to the outpost of the troops who were in the camp.
Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the Qedemites had settled down in the valley like a swarm of locusts, and their camels were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore.
When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling his friend [about] a dream. He said, "Listen, I had a dream: a loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp, struck a tent, and it fell. The loaf turned the tent upside down so that it collapsed."
His friend answered: "This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him."
When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to Israel's camp and said, "Get up, for the LORD has handed the Midianite camp over to you."
Then he divided the 300 men into three companies and gave each of the men a trumpet in one hand and an empty pitcher with a torch inside it [in the other].
"Watch me," he said, "and do the same. When I come to the outpost of the camp, do as I do.
When I and everyone with me blow our trumpets, you are also to blow your trumpets all around the camp. Then you will say, 'The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!'"
Gideon and the 100 men who were with him went to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch after the sentries had been stationed. They blew their trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands.
The three companies blew their trumpets and shattered their pitchers. They held their torches in their left hands, their trumpets in their right hands, and shouted, "The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!"
Each Israelite took his position around the camp, and the entire [Midianite] army fled, and cried out as they ran.
When Gideon's men blew their 300 trumpets, the LORD set the swords of each man in the army against each other. They fled to Beth-shittah in the direction of Zererah as far as the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.
Then the men of Israel were called from Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, and they pursued the Midianites.
Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim with this message: "Come down to intercept the Midianites and take control of the watercourses ahead of them as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan." So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they took control of the watercourses as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.
They captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian; they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb, while they were pursuing the Midianites. They brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan.
The men of Ephraim said to him, "Why have you done this to us, not calling us when you went to fight against the Midianites?" And they argued with him violently.
So he said to them, "What have I done now compared to you? Is not the gleaning of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?
God handed over to you Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian. What was I able to do compared to you?" When he said this, their anger against him subsided.
Gideon and the 300 men came to the Jordan and crossed it. They were exhausted, but still in pursuit.
He said to the men of Succoth, "Please give some loaves of bread to the people who are following me, because they are exhausted, for I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian."
But the princes of Succoth asked, "Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hands that we should give bread to your army?"
Gideon replied, "Very well, when the LORD has handed Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, I will trample your flesh on thorns and briers from the wilderness!"
He went from there to Penuel and asked the same thing from them. The men of Penuel answered just as the men of Succoth had answered.
He also told the men of Penuel, "When I return in peace, I will tear down this tower!"
Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and with them was their army of about 15,000 men, who were all those left of the entire army of the Qedemites. Those who had been killed were 120,000 warriors.
Gideon traveled on the caravan route, east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked their army while the army was unsuspecting.
Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them. He captured these two kings of Midian and routed the entire army.
Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres.
He captured a youth from the men of Succoth and interrogated him. The youth wrote down for him the [names of the] 77 princes and elders of Succoth.
Then he went to the men of Succoth and said, "Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. You taunted me about them, saying, 'Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your power that we should give bread to your exhausted men?'"
So he took the elders of the city, as well as some thorns and briers from the wilderness, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them.
He also tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
He asked Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?" "They were like you," they said. "Each resembled the son of a king."
So he said, "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother! As the LORD lives, if you had let them live, I would not kill you."
Then he said to Jether, his firstborn, "Get up and kill them." The youth did not draw his sword, because he was afraid, for he was still a youth.
Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Get up and kill us yourself, for a man is judged by his strength." So Gideon got up, killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.
Then the Israelites said to Gideon, "Rule over us, you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for you delivered us from the power of Midian."
But Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you."
Then he said to them, "Let me make a request of you: Everyone give me an earring from his plunder." Now the enemy had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites.
They said, "We agree to give them." So they spread out a mantle, and everyone threw an earring from his plunder on it.
The weight of the gold earrings he requested was about 43 pounds of gold, in addition to the crescent ornaments and ear pendants, the purple garments on the kings of Midian, and the chains on the necks of their camels.
Gideon made an ephod from all this and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. Then all Israel prostituted themselves with it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household.
So Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they were no longer a threat. The land was peaceful 40 years during the days of Gideon.
Jerubbaal [(that is, Gideon)] son of Joash went back to live at his house.
Gideon had 70 sons, his own offspring, since he had many wives.
His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech.
Then Gideon son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
When Gideon died, the Israelites turned and prostituted themselves with the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.
The Israelites did not remember the LORD their God who had delivered them from the power of the enemies around them.
They did not show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal ([that is,] Gideon) for all the good he had done for Israel.
Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to his mother's brothers at Shechem and spoke to them and to all his maternal grandfather's clan, saying,
"Please speak in the presence of all the lords of Shechem, 'Is it better for you that 70 men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, rule over you or that one man rule over you?' Remember that I am your own flesh and blood."
His mother's relatives spoke all these words about him in the presence of all the lords of Shechem, and they were favorable to Abimelech, for they said, "He is our brother."
So they gave him 70 pieces of silver from the temple of Baal-berith. Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men with this money, and they followed him.
He went to his father's house in Ophrah and killed his 70 brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal, on top of a large stone. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, survived, because he hid himself.
Then all the lords of Shechem and of Beth-millo gathered together and proceeded to make Abimelech king at the oak of the pillar in Shechem.
When they told Jotham, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim, raised his voice, and called to them: Listen to me, lords of Shechem, and may God listen to you:
The trees set out to anoint a king over themselves. They said to the olive tree, "Reign over us."
But the olive tree said to them, "Should I stop giving my oil that honors both God and man, and rule over the trees?"
Then the trees said to the fig tree, "Come and reign over us."
But the fig tree said to them, "Should I stop giving my sweetness and my good fruit, and rule over trees?"
Later, the trees said to the grapevine, "Come and reign over us."
But the grapevine said to them, "Should I stop giving my wine that cheers both God and man, and rule over trees?"
Finally, all the trees said to the bramble, "Come and reign over us."
The bramble said to the trees, "If you really are anointing me as king over you, come and find refuge in my shade. But if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon."
"Now if you have acted faithfully and honestly in making Abimelech king, if you have done well by Jerubbaal and his family, and if you have rewarded him appropriately for what he did--
for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you from the hand of Midian,
and now you have attacked my father's house today, killed his 70 sons on top of a large stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his slave, king over the lords of Shechem 'because he is your brother'--
if then, you have acted faithfully and honestly with Jerubbaal and his house this day, rejoice in Abimelech and may he also rejoice in you.
But if not, may fire come from Abimelech and consume the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo, and may fire come from the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo and consume Abimelech."
Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and lived there because of his brother Abimelech.
When Abimelech had ruled over Israel three years,
God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem. They treated Abimelech deceitfully,
so that the crime against the 70 sons of Jerubbaal might come to justice and their blood would be avenged on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the lords of Shechem, who had helped him kill his brothers.
The lords of Shechem rebelled against him by putting people on the tops of the mountains to ambush and rob everyone who passed by them on the road. So this was reported to Abimelech.
Gaal son of Ebed came with his brothers and crossed into Shechem, and the lords of Shechem trusted him.
So they went out to the countryside and harvested grapes from their vineyards. They trod the grapes and held a celebration. Then they went to the house of their god, and as they ate and drank, they cursed Abimelech.
Gaal son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech and who is Shechem that we should serve him? Isn't he the son of Jerubbaal, and isn't Zebul his officer? You are to serve the men of Hamor, the father of Shechem. Why should we serve Abimelech?
If only these people were in my power, I would remove Abimelech." So he said to Abimelech, "Gather your army and come out."
When Zebul, the ruler of the city, heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, he was angry.
So he sent messengers secretly to Abimelech, saying, "Look, Gaal son of Ebed, with his brothers, have come to Shechem and are turning the city against you.
Now tonight, you and the people with you are to come wait in ambush in the countryside.
Then get up early and at sunrise, charge the city. When he and the people who are with him come out against you, do to him whatever you can."
So Abimelech and all the people with him got up at night and waited in ambush for Shechem in four units.
Gaal son of Ebed went out and stood at the entrance of the city gate. Then Abimelech and the people who were with him got up from their ambush.
When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, "Look, people are coming down from the mountaintops!" But Zebul said to him, "The shadows of the mountains look like men to you."
Then Gaal spoke again: "Look, people are coming down from the central part of the land, and one unit is coming from the direction of the Diviners' Oak."
Zebul replied, "Where is your mouthing off now? You said, 'Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?' Aren't these the people you despised? Now go and fight them!"
So Gaal went out leading the lords of Shechem and fought against Abimelech,
but Abimelech pursued him, and Gaal fled before him. Many wounded died as far as the entrance of the gate.
Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers from Shechem.
The next day when the people went into the countryside, this was reported to Abimelech.
He took the people, divided them into three companies, and waited in ambush in the countryside. He looked, and the people were coming out of the city, so he arose against them and struck them down.
Then Abimelech and the units that were with him rushed forward and took their stand at the entrance of the city gate. The other two units rushed against all who were in the countryside and struck them down.
So Abimelech fought against the city that entire day, captured it, and killed the people who were in it. Then he tore down the city and sowed it with salt.
When all the lords of the Tower of Shechem heard, they entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith.
Then it was reported to Abimelech that all the lords of the Tower of Shechem had gathered together.
So Abimelech and all the people who were with him went up to Mount Zalmon. Abimelech took his ax in his hand and cut a branch from the trees. He picked up the branch, put it on his shoulder, and said to the people who were with him, "Hurry and do what you have seen me do."
Each person also cut his own branch and followed Abimelech. They put the branches against the inner chamber and set it on fire around the people, and all the people in the Tower of Shechem died-- about 1,000 men and women.
Abimelech went to Thebez, camped against it, and captured it.
There was a strong tower inside the city, and all the men, women, and lords of the city fled there. They locked themselves in and went up to the roof of the tower.
When Abimelech came to attack the tower, he approached its entrance to set it on fire.
But a woman threw the upper portion of a millstone on Abimelech's head and fractured his skull.
He quickly called his armor-bearer and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, or they'll say about me, 'A woman killed him.' " So his armor-bearer thrust him through, and he died.
When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went home.
In this way, the evil that Abimelech had done against his father, by killing his 70 brothers, God turned back on him.
And God also returned all the evil of the men of Shechem on their heads. So the curse of Jotham son of Jerubbaal came on them.