Judges 8 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Zebah and Zalmunna
8 The men of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you ask us to help you when you went out to fight against Midian?” In anger they challenged Gideon.
2 But he answered them, “What I’ve done isn’t anything compared to what you have done. Ephraim’s grapes have been gathered. Isn’t what is left over better than all the grapes that have been gathered from Abiezer’s vines? 3 God handed Oreb and Zeeb over to you. They were Midianite leaders. So what was I able to do compared to what you did?” After Gideon had said that, they didn’t feel angry with him anymore.
4 Gideon and his 300 men were very tired. But they kept on chasing their enemies. They came to the Jordan River and went across it. 5 Gideon said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread. They are worn out. And I’m still chasing Zebah and Zalmunna. They are the kings of Midian.”
6 But the officials of Sukkoth objected. They said, “Have you already killed Zebah and Zalmunna? Have you cut their hands off and brought them back to prove it? If you haven’t, why should we give bread to your troops?”
7 Gideon replied, “The Lord will hand Zebah and Zalmunna over to me. When he does, I’ll tear your skin with thorns from desert bushes.”
8 From there Gideon went up to Peniel. He asked its men for the same thing. But they answered as the men of Sukkoth had. 9 So he said to the men of Peniel, “I’ll be back after I’ve won the battle. Then I’ll tear down this tower.”
10 Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor. They had an army of about 15,000 men. That’s all that were left of the armies of the tribes from the east. About 120,000 men who carried swords had died in battle. 11 Gideon went up the trail the people of the desert had made. It ran east of Nobah and Jogbehah. He attacked the army by surprise. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna ran away. They were the two kings of Midian. Gideon chased them and captured them. He destroyed their whole army.
13 Then Gideon, the son of Joash, returned from the battle. He came back through the Pass of Heres. 14 He caught a young man from Sukkoth. He asked him about the elders of the town. The young man wrote down for him the names of Sukkoth’s 77 officials. 15 Then Gideon came and said to the men of Sukkoth, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. You made fun of me because of them. You said, ‘Have you already killed Zebah and Zalmunna? Have you cut their hands off and brought them back to prove it? If you haven’t, why should we give bread to your tired men?’ ” 16 Gideon went and got the elders of the town. Then he taught the men of Sukkoth a lesson. He tore their skin with thorns from desert bushes. 17 He also pulled down the tower at Peniel. He killed the men in the town.
18 Then he spoke to Zebah and Zalmunna. He asked, “What were the men like that you killed at Tabor?”
“Men like you,” they answered. “Each one walked as if he were a prince.”
19 Gideon replied, “Those were my brothers. They were the sons of my own mother. You can be sure that the Lord lives. And you can be just as sure that if you had spared their lives, I wouldn’t kill you.” 20 Then Gideon turned to his oldest son Jether. He said, “Kill them!” But Jether didn’t pull out his sword. He was only a boy. So he was afraid.
21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come on. Do it yourself. ‘The older the man, the stronger he is.’ ” So Gideon stepped forward and killed them. Then he took the gold chains off the necks of their camels.
Gideon's Linen Apron
22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us. We want you, your son and your grandson to be our rulers. You have saved us from the power of Midian.”
23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you. My son won’t rule over you either. The Lord will rule over you.” 24 He continued, “I do ask one thing. I want each of you to give me an earring. I’m talking about the earrings you took from your enemies.” It was the practice of the people in the family line of Ishmael to wear gold earrings.
25 The Israelites said, “We’ll be glad to give them to you.” So they spread out a piece of clothing. Each of them threw a ring on it from what he had taken. 26 The weight of the gold rings Gideon asked for was 43 pounds. That didn’t include the moon-shaped necklaces the kings of Midian had worn. It didn’t include their other necklaces or their purple clothes. And it didn’t include the gold chains that had been on the necks of their camels. 27 Gideon made an object out of all the gold. It looked like the linen apron the high priest of Israel wore. Gideon placed it in Ophrah. That was his hometown. All the Israelites worshiped it there. They weren’t faithful to the Lord. So the gold object became a trap to Gideon and his family.
28 Israel brought Midian under their control. Midian wasn’t able to attack Israel anymore. So the land was at peace for 40 years. The peace lasted as long as Gideon was living.
29 Jerub-Baal, the son of Joash, went back home to live. Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon. 30 He had 70 sons of his own. That’s because he had many wives. 31 And he had a concubine who lived in Shechem. She also had a son by him. Gideon named that son Abimelek. 32 Gideon, the son of Joash, died when he was very old. He was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah. Ophrah was in the territory that belonged to the family line of Abiezer.
33 As soon as Gideon had died, the Israelites began serving and worshiping gods that were named Baal. Israel wasn’t faithful to the Lord. They worshiped Baal-Berith as their god. 34 They forgot what the Lord their God had done for them. He had saved them from the power of their enemies all around them. 35 Jerub-Baal had done many good things for the Israelites. But they weren’t faithful to his family. Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon.
Judges 8 New International Version (NIV)
Zebah and Zalmunna
8 Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they challenged him vigorously.
2 But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer? 3 God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.
4 Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. 5 He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”
6 But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?”
7 Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”
8 From there he went up to Peniel[a] and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had. 9 So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. 11 Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting army. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.
13 Gideon son of Joash then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres. 14 He caught a young man of Sukkoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Sukkoth, the elders of the town. 15 Then Gideon came and said to the men of Sukkoth, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, ‘Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?’” 16 He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sukkoth a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briers. 17 He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.
18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?”
“Men like you,” they answered, “each one with the bearing of a prince.”
19 Gideon replied, “Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the Lord lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.” 20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, “Kill them!” But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.
21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.’” So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels’ necks.
22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”
23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” 24 And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)
25 They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. 26 The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels,[b] not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.
29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god 34 and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.