¶ AND the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD;
and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Midianites seven years.
And the hand of the Midianites prevailed against Israel, in that they fled from before the Midianites;
and the children of Israel made for themselves dens in the mountains, and caves, and sheepfolds.
And whenever Israel had sown, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the Rakimites came up and encamped against them;
And they destroyed the produce of the whole land as far as the entrance of Gaza, and left no food for Israel to raise either oxen or sheep or asses.
For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came like locusts in multitude;
for both they and their camels were without number;
and they entered into the land to destroy it.
And Israel trembled exceedingly from before the Midianites;
¶ And the children of Israel cried to the LORD because of the Midianites,
And the LORD sent a prophet to the children of Israel, and he said to them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all your oppressors, and destroyed them from before you and gave you their land;
And I said to you, I am the LORD your God;
you shall not worship the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell;
but you have not obeyed my voice.
¶ And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was at Ophrah, the town of Joash the father of Azri;
and his son Gideon was beating out wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
And the angel of the LORD appeared and said to him, The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor.
And Gideon said to him, I beseech you, O my lord, if the LORD be with us, why then have all these misfortunes befallen us?
And where are all his wonders of which our fathers have told us, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?
But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hand of the Midianites.
And the LORD turned to him, and said, Go with this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites;
behold, I have sent you.
And he said to him, I beseech thee, O my LORD, with what shall I save Israel?
Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s family.
And the LORD said to him, I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man.
And he said to him, If now I have found mercy in thy sight, then show me a sign that I may know that thou speakest with me.
Do not depart from here until I come to thee and bring out my meal and set it before thee.
And he said, I will tarry until you come again.
So Gideon went in and prepared a kid and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour;
the meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak and presented it.
And the angel of the LORD said to him, Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and lay them on the rock, and pour out the broth over it.
And he did so.
Then the angel of the LORD .put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes;
and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes.
Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight.
And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God!
for I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.
And the LORD said to him, Peace be unto you;
fear not;
you shall not die.
Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it Mariah-shalama;
and to this day it still stands in Ophrah, the town of the father of Azri.
¶ And it came to pass on that day, the LORD said to him, Take your father’s bullock, and the second bullock seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal, the idol of your father, and cut down the grove that is by it;
And build an altar to the LORD your God upon the top of this rock, in an orderly manner, and take the second bullock, and offer it upon it as a burnt offering with the wood of the grove which you shall cut down.
Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said to him;
and because he was afraid of doing it by day, because of his father’s household and the men of the town, he did it by night.
And when the men of the town arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was pulled down and the grove which was beside it was destroyed and the second bullock was offered upon another altar which had been built.
And they said one to another, Who has done this thing?
And when they had asked and enquired, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.
Then the men of the town said to Joash, Bring out your son, that he may die;
because he has pulled down the altar of Baal and has cut down the grove that was by it.
And Joash said to all who stood against him, Will you plead for Baal?
Or will you try to save him?
Whosoever pleads for him shall be put to death while it is yet morning;
if he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been thrown down.
Therefore on that day he called Gideon Nedo-baal, saying, Let Baal judge him, because he has thrown down his altar.
Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the Rakimites were gathered together, and went over and encamped in the valley of Jezreel.
But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet;
and Jezreel shouted his approval.
And he sent his messengers throughout all Manasseh;
and they also blew trumpets and followed him;
and he sent his messengers to Asher and to Zebulun and to Naphtali;
and they came up to meet them.
And Gideon said to God, If thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as thou hast said,
Behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor;
and if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that thou wilt save Israel by my hand, as thou hast said.
And it was so;
and he rose early the next day and pressed the fleece and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.
And Gideon said to God, Let not thy anger kindle against me, and I will speak but this once;
let me prove thee again but this once with the fleece;
let now only the fleece be dry, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
And God did so that night;
for only the fleece was dry, and there was dew on all the ground.