19 May. Judges 8:4-28

19 May.  Gideon is asked to become King of Israel

“When Gideon and his 300 men came to the Jordan River, they were tired, but they chased the enemy across to the other side. Gideon said to the men of Succoth, ‘Please give my soldiers some bread because they are very tired. I am chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.’”

“But the leaders of Succoth said, ‘Why should we give your soldiers bread? You haven’t caught Zebah and Zalmunna yet.’ Then Gideon said, ‘The LORD will surrender Zebah and Zalmunna to me. After that, I will whip your skins with thorns and briers from the desert.’”

“Gideon left Succoth and went to the city of Peniel and asked them for food. But the people of Peniel gave him the same answer as the people of Succoth. So Gideon said to the men of Peniel, ‘After I win the victory, I will return and pull down this tower.’”

“Zebah and Zalmunna and their army were in the city of Karkor. About 15,000 men were left of the armies of the people of the east. About 120,000 soldiers had been killed. Gideon went up the road of those who live in tents east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and he attacked the enemy army when they did not expect it.”

“Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian, ran away, but Gideon chased and captured them and frightened away their army. Then Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres. Gideon captured a young man from Succoth and asked him some questions. So the young man wrote down for Gideon the names of 77 officers and elders of Succoth.”

“When Gideon came to Succoth, he said to the people of that city, ‘Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. You made fun of me by saying, ‘Why should we give bread to your tired men? You have not caught Zebah and Zalmunna yet.’ So Gideon took the elders of the city and punished them with thorns and briers from the desert. He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the people in that city…”

“The people of Israel said to Gideon, ‘You saved us from the Midianites. Now, we want you and your son and your grandson to rule over us.’ But Gideon told them, ‘The LORD will be your ruler. I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you.’”

“He said, ‘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 fighting… Gideon used the gold to make a holy robe, which he put in his home town of Ophrah. But all the Israelites were unfaithful to God and worshipped it, so it became a trap for Gideon and his family.’”

“So Midian was under the rule of Israel; they did not cause trouble any more. And the land had peace for 40 years, as long as Gideon was alive.”

          (Judges 8:4-28)



After the defeat of the Midianites at Mount Gilboa, Gideon pursued the enemy to Succoth and Penuel (Peniel) (see 7 on the map on 10 May). Both Israelite towns refused to give his men food.

Gideon caught up with the Midianite kings Zebah and Zalmunna at Karkor and captured them (see 8 on the map). He then returned across the Heres Pass and punished the people of Succoth and Penuel for refusing to feed his men.

On returning victorious to Ophrah, Gideon killed the Midianite kings and confiscated their wealth. Israel became rich with the spoils of war, and Gideon became the hero of the day. Many Israelites recognised his success in bringing together the Israelite tribes to fight their common enemy.

So the Israelites asked Gideon to be their king – they wanted a strong warrior leader like all the other surrounding nations. But Gideon refused, saying “The LORD will be your ruler” (Judges 8:23).

During Gideon’s lifetime, Israel enjoyed a time of peace for forty years. But the people quickly forgot that the LORD had delivered them from the Midianites, and soon the worship of riches and other gods became prominent again in Israel.

The photo (by Ilana Shkolnik) shows the Jezreel Valley near Mount Gilboa, where the Midianites were defeated.

You can read more about Gideon @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/28-the-israelites-face-continuing-opposition/gideon-defeats-the-midianites

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