Judges 61Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, who delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years. 2And they were greatly oppressed by them. And they made for themselves hollows and caves in the mountains, and very fortified places for defense. 3And when Israel had planted, Midian and Amalek, and the rest of the eastern nations ascended, 4and pitching their tents among them, they laid waste to all that was planted, as far as the entrance to Gaza. And they left behind nothing at all to sustain life in Israel, neither sheep, nor oxen, nor donkeys. 5For they and all their flocks arrived with their tents, and they filled all places like locusts, an innumerable multitude of men and camels, devastating whatever they touched. 6And Israel was humbled greatly in the sight of Midian. 7And he cried out to the Lord, requesting assistance against the Midianites. 8And he sent to them a man who was a prophet, and he said: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘I caused you to ascend from Egypt, and I led you away from the house of servitude. 9And I freed you from the hand of the Egyptians and from all of the enemies who were afflicting you. And I cast them out at your arrival, and I delivered their land to you. 10And I said: I am the Lord your God. You shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live. But you were not willing to listen to my voice.’ ” 11Then an Angel of the Lord arrived, and he sat under an oak tree, which was at Ophrah, and which belonged to Joash, the father of the family of Ezri. And while his son Gideon was threshing and cleaning the grain at the winepress, so that he might flee from Midian, 12the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and he said: “The Lord is with you, most valiant of men.” 13And Gideon said to him: “I beg you, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why have these things happened to us? Where are his miracles, which our fathers described when they said, ‘The Lord led us away from Egypt.’ But now the Lord has forsaken us, and he has delivered us into the hand of Midian.” 14And the Lord looked down upon him, and he said: “Go forth with this, your strength, and you shall free Israel from the hand of Midian. Know that I have sent you.” 15And responding, he said: “I beg you, my lord, with what shall I free Israel? Behold, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in the house of my father.” 16And the Lord said to him: “I will be with you. And so, you shall cut down Midian as if one man.” 17And he said: “If I have found grace before you, give me a sign that it is you who is speaking to me. 18And may you not withdraw from here, until I return to you, carrying a sacrifice and offering it to you.” And he responded, “I will wait for your return.” 19And so Gideon entered, and he boiled a goat, and he made unleavened bread from a measure of flour. And setting the flesh in a basket, and putting the broth of the flesh in a pot, he took it all under the oak tree, and he offered it to him. 20And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Take the flesh and the unleavened bread, and place them on that rock, and pour out the broth upon it.” And when he had done so, 21the Angel of the Lord extended the end of a staff, which he was holding in his hand, and he touched the flesh and the unleavened loaves. And a fire ascended from the rock, and it consumed the flesh and the unleavened loaves. Then the Angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22And Gideon, realizing that it had been the Angel of the Lord, said: “Alas, my Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.” 23And the Lord said to him: “Peace be with you. Do not be afraid; you shall not die.” 24Therefore, Gideon built an altar to the Lord there, and he called it, the Peace of the Lord, even to the present day. And while he was still at Ophrah, which is of the family of Ezri, 25that night, the Lord said to him: “Take a bull of your father’s, and another bull of seven years, and you shall destroy the altar of Baal, which is your father’s. And you shall cut down the sacred grove which is around the altar. 26And you shall build an altar to the Lord your God, at the summit of this rock, on which you placed the sacrifice before. And you shall take the second bull, and you shall offer a holocaust upon a pile of the wood, which you shall cut down from the grove.” 27Therefore, Gideon, taking ten men from his servants, did just as the Lord had instructed him. But fearing his father’s household, and the men of that city, he was not willing to do it by day. Instead, he completed everything by night. 28And when the men of that town had risen up in the morning, they saw the altar of Baal destroyed, and the sacred grove cut down, and the second bull set upon the altar, which then had been built. 29And they said one to another, “Who has done this?” And when they inquired everywhere as to the author of the deed, it was said, “Gideon, the son of Joash, did all these things.” 30And they said to Joash: “Bring forward your son here, so that he may die. For he has destroyed the altar of Baal, and he has cut down the sacred grove.” 31But he responded to them: “Could you be the avengers of Baal, so that you fight on his behalf? Whoever is his adversary, let him die before the light arrives tomorrow; if he is a god, let him vindicate himself against him who has overturned his altar.” 32From that day, Gideon was called Jerubbaal, because Joash had said, “Let Baal avenge himself against him who has overturned his altar.” 33And so, all of Midian, and Amalek, and the eastern peoples were gathered together. And crossing the Jordan, they encamped in the valley of Jezreel. 34But the Spirit of the Lord entered Gideon, who, sounding the trumpet, summoned the house of Abiezer so that he might follow him. 35And he sent messengers into all of Manasseh, who also followed him, and other messengers into Asher, and Zebulun, and Naphtali, who went to meet him. 36And Gideon said to God: “If you will save Israel by my hand, just as you have said: 37I will set this wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there will be dew only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that by my hand, as you have said, you will free Israel.” 38And so it was done. And rising in the night, wringing out the fleece, he filled a vessel with the dew. 39And again he said to God: “Let not your fury be enkindled against me, if I test once more, seeking a sign in the fleece. I pray that only the fleece may be dry, and all the ground may be wet with dew.” 40And that night, God did as he had requested. And it was dry only on the fleece, and there was dew on all the ground.
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