Day 128 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. Gideon battles the Midianites with 300 warriors. Jesus establishes his authority.
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8 So Gideon sent the other men of Israel home. He kept the 300 men with him. Those 300 men kept the supplies and the trumpets of the other men who went home.
The Midianites were camped in the valley below Gideon’s camp. 9 During the night the LORD spoke to Gideon and said, “Get up. I will let you defeat the Midianite army. Go down to their camp. 10 If you are afraid to go alone, take your servant Purah with you. Go into the camp of the Midianites. 11 Listen to what they are saying. After that, you will not be afraid to attack them.”
So Gideon and his servant Purah went down to the edge of the enemy camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other people from the east were camped in that valley. There were so many people that they seemed like a swarm of locusts. It seemed as if they had as many camels as there are grains of sand on the seashore.
13 Gideon came to the enemy camp, and he heard a man talking. That man was telling his friend about a dream.
He said, “I dreamed that a round loaf of bread came rolling into the camp of the Midianites. That loaf of bread hit the tent so hard that the tent turned over and fell flat.”
14 The man’s friend knew the meaning of the dream. He said, “Your dream can only have one meaning. Your dream is about that man from Israel. It is about Gideon son of Joash. It means that God will let Gideon defeat the whole army of Midian.”
15 After he heard the men talking about the dream and what it meant, Gideon bowed down in worship to God. Then Gideon went back to the camp of the Israelites and called out to the people, “Get up! The LORD will help us de- feat the Midianites.” 16 Then Gideon divided the 300 men into three groups. He gave each man a trumpet and an empty jar with a burning torch inside it. 17 Then Gideon told the men, “Watch me and do what I do. Follow me to the edge of the enemy camp. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly what I do. 18 You men surround the enemy camp. I and all the men with me will blow our trumpets. When we blow our trumpets, you blow your trumpets too. Then shout these words: ‘For the LORD and for Gideon!’”
19 So Gideon and the 100 men with him went to the edge of the enemy camp. They arrived there just after the enemy changed guards. It was during the middle watch of the night. Gideon and his men blew their trumpets and smashed their jars. 20 Then all three groups of Gideon’s men blew their trumpets and smashed their jars. The men held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands. As they blew their trumpets, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and a sword for Gideon!”
21 Gideon’s men stayed where they were. But inside the camp, the men of Midian began shouting and running away. 22 When Gideon’s 300 men blew their trumpets, the LORD caused the men of Midian to kill each other with their swords. The enemy army ran away to the city of Beth Shittah, which is towards the city of Zererah. They ran as far as the border of the city of Abel Meho- lah, which is near the city of Tabbath.
23 Then soldiers from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher and all of Manasseh were told to chase the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers through all the hill country of Ephraim. The messengers said, “Come down and attack the Midianites. Take control of the river as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan River. Do this before the Midianites get there.”
So they called all the men from the tribe of Ephraim. They took control of the river as far as Beth Barah. 25 The men of Ephraim caught two of the Midianite leaders named Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at a place named the Rock of Oreb and Zeeb at a place named the Winepress of Zeeb. They continued chasing the Midianites, but first, they cut off the heads of Oreb and Zeeb and took the heads to Gideon. Gideon was at the place where people cross the Jordan River.
The men of Ephraim were angry with Gideon. When they found him, they asked, “Why did you treat us this way? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight against the Midianites?”
2 But Gideon answered the men of Ephraim, “I have not done as well as you. You people of Ephraim have a much better harvest than my family, the Abiezers. At harvest time you leave more grapes in the vineyard than my family gathers!
Isn’t that true? 3 In the same way, you have a better harvest now. God allowed you to capture Oreb and Zeeb, the leaders of Midian. How can I compare my success with what you did?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, they were not as angry as they had been.
Gideon Captures Two Kings of Midian
4 Then Gideon and his 300 men came to the Jordan River and went across to the other side, but they were tired and hungry.* 5 Gideon said to the men of the city of Succoth, “Give my soldiers something to eat. They are very tired. We are still chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.”
6 But the leaders of the city of Succoth said to Gideon, “Why should we give your soldiers something to eat? You haven’t caught Zebah and Zalmunna yet.”
7 Then Gideon said, “The LORD will help me capture Zebah and Zalmunna. And since you would not give us any food, I will come back and beat you with thorns and briers from the desert.”
8 Gideon left the city of Succoth and went to the city of Penuel. He asked the men of Penuel for food, just as he had asked the men of Succoth. But the men of Penuel gave Gideon the same answer that the men of Succoth had given. 9 So Gideon said to the men of Penuel, “After I win the victory, I will come back here and pull this tower down.”
10 Zebah and Zalmunna and their army were in the city of Karkor. Their army had 15,000 soldiers in it. These soldiers were all who were left of the army of the people of the east. 120,000 strong soldiers of that army had already been killed. 11 Gideon and his men used Tent Dwellers’ Road, which is east of the cities of Nobah and Jogbehah, and at- tacked the enemy at Karkor. The enemy army did not expect the attack. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of the Midianites, ran away. But Gideon chased and caught them. Gideon and his men defeated the enemy army.
13 Then Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle. He and his men returned by going through a mountain pass called the Pass of Heres. 14 Gideon captured a young man from the city of Succoth. He asked the young man some questions. The young man wrote down some names for Gideon. The young man wrote down the names of the leaders and officials of the city of Succoth. He gave Gideon the names of 77 men.
15 When Gideon came to the city of Succoth, he said to the men of that city, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. You made fun of me by saying, ‘Why should we give food to your tired soldiers? You have not caught Zebah and Zalmunna yet.’” 16 Gideon took the leaders of the city of Succoth and beat them with thorns and briers from the desert. 17 Gideon also pulled down the tower in the city of Penuel and killed the men living in that city.
18 Then Gideon said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “You killed some men on Mount Tabor. What were the men like?”
Zebah and Zalmunna answered, “They were like you. Each one of them seemed like a prince.”
19 Gideon said, “Those men were my brothers, my mother’s sons! As the LORD lives, if you had not killed them, I would not kill you now.”
20 Then Gideon turned to Jether, his oldest son, and said, “Kill these kings.” But Jether was only a boy and was afraid, so he would not take out his sword.
21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said to Gideon, “Come on, kill us yourself. You are a man and strong enough to do the job.” So Gideon got up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna. Then he took the decorations shaped like a half-moon off their camels’ necks.
Gideon Makes an Ephod
22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “You saved us from the Midianites, so now rule over us. We want you, your son, and your grandson to rule over us.”
23 But Gideon told the Israelites, “The LORD will be your ruler. I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you.”
24 Some of the people who the men of Israel defeated were Ishmaelites. And the Ishmaelite men wore gold earrings. So Gideon said to the Israelites, “I want you to do this one thing for me. I want each of you to give me a gold earring from the things you took in the battle.”
25 The Israelites said to Gideon, “We will gladly give you what you want.” So they put a coat down on the ground, and each man threw an earring onto the coat. 26 When the earrings were gathered up, they weighed about 20 kilograms.* This did not include the other gifts the Israelites gave to Gideon. They also gave him jewelry shaped like the moon and jewelry shaped like teardrops. And they gave him purple robes. The kings of the Midianites had worn these things. They also gave him the chains from the camels of the Midianite kings.
27 Gideon used the gold to make an ephod, which he put in his hometown, the town called Ophrah. All the Israelites became unfaithful to God by worshipping the ephod. It became a trap that caused Gideon and his family to sin.
The Death of Gideon
28 The Midianites were forced to be under the rule of the Israelites. The Midianites did not cause trouble any more. And the land was at peace for 40 years, as long as Gideon was alive.
29 Gideon* son of Joash went home.
30 Gideon had 70 sons of his own. He had so many sons because he had many wives. 31 He had a slave woman who lived in the city of Shechem. He had a son by her. He named that son Abimelech.
32 So Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age. He was buried in the tomb that Joash, his father, owned. That tomb is in the city of Ophrah, where the family of Abiezer lives. 33 As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites again became unfaithful to God by worshipping Baal. They made Baal Berith† their god. 34 The LORD their God had saved them from all their enemies living around them. But they forgot all about him. 35 And they were not grateful to the family of Gideon, who had done so many good things for them.
Proof of Jesus’ Authority
31 “If I tell people about myself, they cannot be sure that what I say is true. 32 But there is someone else who tells people about me, and I know that what he says about me is true.
33 “You sent men to John, and he told you what is true. 34 I don’t need anyone to tell people about me, but I remind you of what John said so that you can be saved. 35 John was like a lamp that burned and gave light, and you were happy to enjoy his light for a while.
36 “But I have a proof about myself that is greater than anything John said. The things I do are my proof. These are what my Father gave me to do. They show that the Father sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has given proof about me himself. But you have never heard his voice. You have never seen what he looks like. 38 The Father’s teach- ing does not live in you, because you don’t believe in the one the Father sent. 39 You carefully study the Scriptures. You think that they give you eternal life. These same Scriptures tell about me! 40 But you refuse to come to me to have that life.
41 “I don’t want praise from you or any other human. 42 But I know you—I know that you have no love for God. 43 I have come from my Father and speak for him, but you don’t accept me. But when other people come speaking only for themselves, you accept them. 44 You like to have praise from each other. But you never try to get the praise that comes from the only God. So how can you believe? 45 Don’t think that I will be the one to stand before the Father and accuse you. Moses is the one to accuse you. And he is the one you hoped would save you. 46 If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. 47 But you don’t believe what he wrote, so you can’t believe what I say.”
19 People who do what is right are on their way to life,
but those who always want to do wrong are on their way to death.
20 The LORD hates those who love to do evil,
but he is pleased with those who try to do right.
21 The truth is, evil people will be punished,
and good people will be set free.
22 A beautiful woman without good sense
is like a gold ring in a pig’s nose.
23 What good people want brings more good,
but what evil people want brings more trouble.
24 Some people give freely and gain more;
others refuse to give and end up with less.
25 Give freely, and you will profit.
Help others, and you will gain more for yourself.
26 People curse a greedy man who refuses to sell his grain,
but they bless a man who sells his grain to feed others.
27 People are pleased with those who try to do good,
but those who look for trouble will find it.
28 Those who trust in their riches will fall like dead leaves,
but good people will blossom.
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