Judges 8:1-21 (JDV)
Judges 8:1 The men of Ephraim asked him, “Why have you done this to us, not calling us when you went to fight against the Midianites?” And they argued violently with him.
Judges 8:2 So he said to them, “What have I done now compared to you? Is not the gleaning of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer?
Judges 8:3 God handed over to you Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian. What was I able to do compared to you?” When he said this, their breath against him relaxed.
Judges 8:4 Gideon and the three hundred men came to the Jordan and crossed it. They were exhausted but still in pursuit.
Judges 8:5 He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give some loaves of bread to the troops under my command, because they are exhausted, because I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”
Judges 8:6 But the princes of Succoth asked, “Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your grasp that we should give bread to your army?”
Judges 8:7 Gideon replied, “Very well, when Yahveh has handed Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, I will tear your flesh with thorns and briers from the wilderness!”
Judges 8:8 He went from there to Penuel and asked the same thing from them. The men of Penuel answered just as the men of Succoth had answered.
Judges 8:9 He also told the men of Penuel, “When I return safely, I will tear down this tower!”
Judges 8:10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and with them was their army of about fifteen thousand men, who were all those left of the entire army of the Qedemites. Those who had been killed were one hundred twenty thousand armed men.
Judges 8:11 Gideon traveled on the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked their army while the army felt confident.
Judges 8:12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them. He captured these two kings of Midian and routed the entire army.
Judges 8:13 Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the Ascent of Heres.
Judges 8:14 He captured a youth from the men of Succoth and interrogated him. The youth wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven leaders and elders of Succoth.
Judges 8:15 Then he went to the men of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. You taunted me about them, saying, ‘Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your power that we should give bread to your exhausted men? ‘”
Judges 8:16 So he took the elders of the city, and he took some thorns and briers from the wilderness, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them.
Judges 8:17 He also tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
Judges 8:18 He asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?” “They were like you,” they said. “Each resembled the son of a king.”
Judges 8:19 So he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother! As Yahveh lives, if you had let them live, I would not kill you.”
Judges 8:20 Then he said to Jether, his firstborn, “Get up and kill them.” The youth did not draw his sword, because he was afraid because he was still a youth.
Judges 8:21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Get up and strike us down yourself, because a man is judged by his strength.” So Gideon got up, killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.
In both the confrontation with the Ephraimites, and Succoth and Penuel — the heart of the conflict with Gideon was pride. Neither of these wanted to admit that God was using Gideon and was on his side. Often we choose to be adversaries of people because we are jealous of what they have accomplished. In this case, Gideon’s victories were due to God’s support. It does not make sense to be offended when God is at work. It does not make sense to withhold our support from those whom God is supporting.
LORD, help us to overcome our pride and wholeheartedly support those who you are using to accomplish your will.