Judges 6 Expanded Bible (EXB)
The Midianites Attack Israel
6 Again the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] did ·what the Lord said was wrong [L evil in the eyes/sight of the Lord]. So for seven years the Lord ·handed them over to [L gave them into the hand of] Midian. 2 Because the ·Midianites were very powerful and were cruel to [L hand of Midian was so strong/oppressive against] Israel, the Israelites made ·hiding places [shelters; dens] in the mountains, in caves, and in ·safe places [strongholds]. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and other ·peoples [L sons] from the east would come and attack them. 4 They ·camped in the land [L encamped against them] and destroyed the crops that the Israelites had planted as far away as Gaza. They left ·nothing [no sustenance/living thing] for Israel to eat, and no sheep, cattle, or donkeys. 5 The Midianites came with their tents and their ·animals [livestock] ·like swarms of [as numerous as] locusts to ·ruin [ravage; lay waste] the land. There were so many people and camels they could not be counted. 6 Israel ·became very poor [or was weakened; L was brought low] because of the Midianites, so they cried out to the Lord.
7 When the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] cried out to the Lord ·against [or because of] the Midianites, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to them. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you out of Egypt, the ·land [L house] of slavery. 9 I ·saved [rescued; T delivered] you from the [L hand of the] Egyptians and from all those who ·were against [oppressed] you. I ·forced [drove] ·the Canaanites [L them] out of their land and gave it to you. 10 Then I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God. Do not ·worship [fear; reverence] the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you did not ·obey me [L listen to my voice].”
The Angel of the Lord Visits Gideon
11 The angel of the Lord [C angelic spokesperson for God, sometimes identified with the Lord himself; 2:1; Gen. 16:7; Ex. 14:19; 23:20] came and sat down under the oak tree at Ophrah that belonged to Joash, ·one of the Abiezrite people [L the Abiezrite]. Gideon, Joash’s son, was ·separating some wheat from the chaff [threshing/L beating out wheat] in a winepress to keep the wheat from the Midianites [C in a pit hidden from sight]. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, ·mighty [courageous] warrior!”
13 Then Gideon said, “·Sir [My lord], if the Lord is with us, why ·are we having so much trouble [L has all this happened to us]? Where are the ·miracles [wonderful deeds] our ancestors told us about? They said, “Didn’t the Lord bring us up out of Egypt? But now the Lord has ·left [abandoned] us and has ·handed us over to the Midianites [L given us into the hand of Midian].”
14 The Lord turned to Gideon and said, “Go with your strength and ·save [rescue; T deliver] Israel from the ·Midianites [L hand of Midian]. ·I am the one who is sending you. [L Am I not sending you?]”
15 But Gideon answered, “Lord, how can I ·save [rescue; T deliver] Israel? My ·family group [clan] is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the ·least important [or youngest] member of my family.”
16 The Lord answered him, “I will be with you. ·It will seem as if the Midianites you are fighting are only one man [or You will strike down the whole Midian army; L You will strike/defeat Midian as one man].”
17 Then Gideon said to the Lord, “If ·you are pleased with me [L I have found favor in your eyes], give me ·proof [a sign] that it is really you talking with me. 18 Please ·wait here [L do not leave] until I come back to you. Let me bring my offering and set it in front of you.”
And the Lord said, “I will ·wait [stay] until you return.”
19 So Gideon went in and ·cooked [prepared] a young goat, and with ·twenty quarts [L an ephah] of flour, made ·bread without yeast [unleavened bread]. Then he put the meat into a basket and the broth into a pot. He brought them out and ·gave [presented; offered] them to ·the angel [L him] under the oak tree.
20 The angel of God [6:11] said to Gideon, “Put the meat and the ·bread without yeast [unleavened bread] on that rock over there. Then pour the broth on them.” And Gideon did as he was told. 21 The angel of the Lord touched the meat and the bread with the end of ·the stick that was in his hand [L his staff]. Then fire jumped up from the rock and completely burned up the meat and the bread! And the angel of the Lord disappeared! 22 Then Gideon ·understood [realized; saw] he had been talking to the angel of the Lord. So Gideon cried out, “[Oh no; Alas; L Aha] ·Lord God [Sovereign Lord]! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”
23 But the Lord said to Gideon, “·Calm down [L Peace to you]! Don’t be afraid! You will not die!”
24 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord Is Peace. ·It still [L To this day it] stands at Ophrah, ·where the Abiezrites live [L of the Abiezrite].
Gideon Tears Down the Altar of Baal
25 That same night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take the bull that belongs to your father and a second bull seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the ·Asherah idol [or Asherah pole; L Asherah; C a Canaanite fertility goddess; 3:7] beside it. 26 Then build an altar to the Lord your God ·with its stones in the right order [or in the proper manner] on this ·high ground [stronghold]. ·Kill and burn a [Sacrifice as a burnt offering the] second bull on this altar, using the wood from the Asherah idol.”
27 So Gideon got ten of his servants and did what the Lord had told him to do. But Gideon was afraid that his family and the men of the city might see him, so he did it at night, not in the daytime.
28 When the men of the city got up the next morning, ·they saw that [L look; T behold] the altar for Baal ·had been destroyed [L was cut down] and that the ·Asherah idol [Asherah pole; L Asherah; v. 25] beside it had been cut down! They also saw the altar Gideon had built and the second bull that had been sacrificed on it. 29 The men of the city asked each other, “Who did this?”
After they ·asked many questions [made a careful investigation], someone told them, “Gideon son of Joash did this.”
30 So the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring your son out. He has pulled down the altar of Baal and cut down the ·Asherah idol [Asherah pole; L Asherah] beside it. He must die!”
31 But Joash said to ·the angry crowd around [L all those who stood against] him, “·Are you going to take Baal’s side [or Are you pleading Baal’s case; or Does Baal need you to defend him]? Are you going to ·defend [save; rescue; T deliver] him? Anyone who ·takes Baal’s side [or pleads his case; or thinks Baal needs defending] will be killed by morning! If Baal is a god, let him fight for himself. It’s his altar that has been pulled down.” 32 So on that day Gideon got the name Jerub-Baal, which means “let Baal ·fight against him [or plead his own case; or defend himself],” because Gideon pulled down Baal’s altar.
Gideon Defeats Midian
33 All the Midianites, the Amalekites, and other ·peoples from [L sons of] the east ·joined together [assembled; formed an alliance] and came across the Jordan River and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of the Lord ·entered [empowered; came upon; clothed] Gideon, and he blew a trumpet to call the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers to all of Manasseh, calling them to follow him. He also sent messengers to the people of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali. So they also went up to meet Gideon and his men.
36 Then Gideon said to God, “·You said you would help me save Israel [L If you are about to deliver Israel by my hand, as you said…]. 37 [L Look; T Behold] I will put ·some wool [a wool fleece] on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the ·wool [fleece] but all of the ground is dry, then I will know that you will ·use me to save Israel [L save Israel by my hand], as you said.” 38 And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning and squeezed the ·wool [fleece], he got a full bowl of water from it.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Don’t ·be angry with [L let your anger burn against] me if I ask just one more thing. Please let me make one more test. Let only the ·wool [fleece] be dry while the ground around it gets wet with dew.” 40 That night God did that very thing. Just the ·wool [fleece] was dry, but the ground around it was wet with dew.