The Book of Judges

Chapter 8

Gideon pacifies the Ephraimites, 1-3. Succoth and Penuel refuse to deliver Gideon's army, 4-9. Zebah and Zalmunna are taken, 10-12. Succoth and Penuel are destroyed, 13-16. Gideon revenges his brothers' death on Zebah and Zalmunna, 17-21. He refuses government, 22, 23. His ephod is the cause of idolatry, 24-27. Midian subdued, 28. Gideon's children and death, 29-32. The Israelites' idolatry and ingratitude, 33-35.

1 And the men of Ephraim said to him, "Why have you treated us like this, not calling for us when you went to fight with the Midianites?" And they chided with him sharply. 2 And he said to them, "What have I done now in comparison of you? Is the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim not better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3 God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what was I able to do in comparison of you?" Then, when he had said that, their anger toward him abated.

4 And Gideon came to the Jordan and passed over—he and the three hundred men who were with him—faint, yet pursuing them. 5 And he said to the men of Succoth, "Give, I pray you, loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are faint, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian." 6 And the princes of Succoth said, "Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand that we should give bread to your army?" 7 And Gideon said, "Therefore, when the LORD has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." 8 And he went up from there to Penuel and spoke to them likewise. And the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him. 9 And he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, "When I come back in peace, I will break down this tower."

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the hosts of the children of the east, for there fell one hundred and twenty thousand men who drew sword. 11 And Gideon went up by the way of those who dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah and smote the host, for the host was secure. 12 And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and completely defeated all the host.

13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun had risen, 14 And caught a young man of the men of Succoth and questioned him. And he described to him the princes of Succoth and its elders, even seventy-seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth, and said, "Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom you upbraided me, saying, 'Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand that we should give bread to your men who are weary?'" 16 And he took the elders of the city, and he took thorns and briers of the wilderness and with them taught the men of Succoth a lesson. 17 And he beat down the tower of Penuel and slew the men of the city.

18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What manner of men were they whom you slew at Tabor?" And they answered, "As you are, so were they. Each one resembled the child of a king." 19 And he said, "They were my brothers, even the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not slay you." 20 And he said to Jether his first-born, "Arise, and slay them." But the youth did not draw his sword, for he feared, because he was yet a youth. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Rise, and fall upon us. For as the man is, so is his strength." And Gideon arose, slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us—you, your son, and your son's son also—for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian." 23 And Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you. The LORD shall rule over you." 24 And Gideon said to them, "I would desire a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings of his plunder." (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 And they answered, "We will willingly give them." And they spread a garment, and each cast into it the earrings of his plunder. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold, besides ornaments, collars, and purple clothing that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels' necks. 27 And Gideon made of it an ephod and put it in his city, even in Ophrah. And all Israel went astray after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his house.

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, so that they raised their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

29 And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. 30 And Gideon had seventy sons of his body begotten, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem, she also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age and was buried in the sepulcher of Joash his father in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

33 And it came to pass as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned back and went astray after Baalim and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side, 35 Neither did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shown to Israel.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Judges, Chapter 8[➚]


[v.27] - "snare" - Reference, Deuteronomy 7:16, 25.