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Judges 7, 8, 9

Gideon Surprises and Routs the Midianites

7Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the troops that were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was north of them, below* the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

2 The Lord said to Gideon, ‘The troops with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand. Israel would only take the credit away from me, saying, “My own hand has delivered me.” 3Now therefore proclaim this in the hearing of the troops, “Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home.” ’ Thus Gideon sifted them out;* twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained.

4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, ‘The troops are still too many; take them down to the water and I will sift them out for you there. When I say, “This one shall go with you”, he shall go with you; and when I say, “This one shall not go with you”, he shall not go.’ 5So he brought the troops down to the water; and the Lord said to Gideon, ‘All those who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, you shall put to one side; all those who kneel down to drink, putting their hands to their mouths,* you shall put to the other side.’ 6The number of those that lapped was three hundred; but all the rest of the troops knelt down to drink water. 7Then the Lord said to Gideon, ‘With the three hundred that lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the others go to their homes.’ 8So he took the jars of the troops from their hands,* and their trumpets; and he sent all the rest of Israel back to their own tents, but retained the three hundred. The camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

9 That same night the Lord said to him, ‘Get up, attack the camp; for I have given it into your hand. 10But if you fear to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah; 11and you shall hear what they say, and afterwards your hands shall be strengthened to attack the camp.’ Then he went down with his servant Purah to the outposts of the armed men that were in the camp. 12The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the east lay along the valley as thick as locusts; and their camels were without number, countless as the sand on the seashore. 13When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling a dream to his comrade; and he said, ‘I had a dream, and in it a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell; it turned upside down, and the tent collapsed.’ 14And his comrade answered, ‘This is no other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel; into his hand God has given Midian and all the army.’

15 When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshipped; and he returned to the camp of Israel, and said, ‘Get up; for the Lord has given the army of Midian into your hand.’ 16After he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and put trumpets into the hands of all of them, and empty jars, with torches inside the jars, 17he said to them, ‘Look at me, and do the same; when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets around the whole camp, and shout, “For the Lord and for Gideon!”

19 So Gideon and the hundred who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. 20So the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars, holding in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow; and they cried, ‘A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!’ 21Every man stood in his place all around the camp, and all the men in camp ran; they cried out and fled. 22When they blew the three hundred trumpets, the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah towards Zererah,* as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23And the men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and from Asher and from all Manasseh, and they pursued after the Midianites.

24 Then Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, ‘Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters against them, as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan.’ So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they seized the waters as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan. 25They captured the two captains of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the wine press of Zeeb, as they pursued the Midianites. They brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

Gideon’s Triumph and Vengeance

8Then the Ephraimites said to him, ‘What have you done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against the Midianites?’ And they upbraided him violently. 2So he said to them, ‘What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3God has given into your hands the captains of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; what have I been able to do in comparison with you?’ When he said this, their anger against him subsided.

4 Then Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the three hundred who were with him, exhausted and famished.* 5So he said to the people of Succoth, ‘Please give some loaves of bread to my followers, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.’ 6But the officials of Succoth said, ‘Do you already have in your possession the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna, that we should give bread to your army?’ 7Gideon replied, ‘Well then, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will trample your flesh on the thorns of the wilderness and on briers.’ 8From there he went up to Penuel, and made the same request of them; and the people of Penuel answered him as the people of Succoth had answered. 9So he said to the people of Penuel, ‘When I come back victorious, I will break down this tower.’

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their army, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the east; for one hundred and twenty thousand men bearing arms had fallen. 11So Gideon went up by the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the army; for the army was off its guard. 12Zebah and Zalmunna fled; and he pursued them and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and threw all the army into a panic.

13 When Gideon son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres, 14he caught a young man, one of the people of Succoth, and questioned him; and he listed for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven people. 15Then he came to the people of Succoth, and said, ‘Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, “Do you already have in your possession the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna, that we should give bread to your troops who are exhausted?” 16So he took the elders of the city and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them he trampled* the people of Succoth. 17He also broke down the tower of Penuel, and killed the men of the city.

18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, ‘What about the men whom you killed at Tabor?’ They answered, ‘As you are, so were they, every one of them; they resembled the sons of a king.’ 19And he replied, ‘They were my brothers, the sons of my mother; as the Lord lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.’ 20So he said to Jether his firstborn, ‘Go, kill them!’ But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a boy. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, ‘You come and kill us; for as the man is, so is his strength.’ So Gideon proceeded to kill Zebah and Zalmunna; and he took the crescents that were on the necks of their camels.

Gideon’s Idolatry

22 Then the Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also; for you have delivered us out of the hand of Midian.’ 23Gideon said to them, ‘I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.’ 24Then Gideon said to them, ‘Let me make a request of you; each of you give me an ear-ring he has taken as booty.’ (For the enemy* had golden ear-rings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25‘We will willingly give them,’ they answered. So they spread a garment, and each threw into it an ear-ring he had taken as booty. 26The weight of the golden ear-rings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold (apart from the crescents and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and the collars that were on the necks of their camels). 27Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his town, in Ophrah; and all Israel prostituted themselves to it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family. 28So Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they lifted up their heads no more. So the land had rest for forty years in the days of Gideon.

Death of Gideon

29 Jerubbaal son of Joash went to live in his own house. 30Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32Then Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites relapsed and prostituted themselves with the Baals, making Baal-berith their god. 34The Israelites did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35and they did not exhibit loyalty to the house of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.

Abimelech Attempts to Establish a Monarchy

9Now Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s kinsfolk and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother’s family, 2‘Say in the hearing of all the lords of Shechem, “Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?” Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.’ 3So his mother’s kinsfolk spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the lords of Shechem; and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, ‘He is our brother.’ 4They gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the temple of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5He went to his father’s house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone; but Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, survived, for he hid himself. 6Then all the lords of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar* at Shechem.

The Parable of the Trees

7 When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and cried aloud and said to them, ‘Listen to me, you lords of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.
8 The trees once went out
   to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree,
   “Reign over us.”
9 The olive tree answered them,
   “Shall I stop producing my rich oil
     by which gods and mortals are honoured,
     and go to sway over the trees?”
10 Then the trees said to the fig tree,
   “You come and reign over us.”
11 But the fig tree answered them,
   “Shall I stop producing my sweetness
     and my delicious fruit,
     and go to sway over the trees?”
12 Then the trees said to the vine,
   “You come and reign over us.”
13 But the vine said to them,
   “Shall I stop producing my wine
     that cheers gods and mortals,
     and go to sway over the trees?”
14 So all the trees said to the bramble,
   “You come and reign over us.”
15 And the bramble said to the trees,
   “If in good faith you are anointing me king over you,
     then come and take refuge in my shade;
   but if not, let fire come out of the bramble
     and devour the cedars of Lebanon.”

16 ‘Now therefore, if you acted in good faith and honour when you made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as his actions deserved— 17for my father fought for you, and risked his life, and rescued you from the hand of Midian; 18but you have risen up against my father’s house this day, and have killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his slave-woman, king over the lords of Shechem, because he is your kinsman— 19if, I say, you have acted in good faith and honour towards Jerubbaal and towards his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you; 20but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the lords of Shechem, and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the lords of Shechem, and from Beth-millo, and devour Abimelech.’ 21Then Jotham ran away and fled, going to Beer, where he remained for fear of his brother Abimelech.

The Downfall of Abimelech

22 Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. 23But God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem; and the lords of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech. 24This happened so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be avenged* and their blood be laid on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the lords of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. 25So, out of hostility to him, the lords of Shechem set ambushes on the mountain tops. They robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was reported to Abimelech.

26 When Gaal son of Ebed moved into Shechem with his kinsfolk, the lords of Shechem put confidence in him. 27They went out into the field and gathered the grapes from their vineyards, trod them, and celebrated. Then they went into the temple of their god, ate and drank, and ridiculed Abimelech. 28Gaal son of Ebed said, ‘Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem, that we should serve him? Did not the son of Jerubbaal and Zebul his officer serve the men of Hamor father of Shechem? Why then should we serve him? 29If only this people were under my command! Then I would remove Abimelech; I would say* to him, “Increase your army, and come out.”

30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31He sent messengers to Abimelech at Arumah,* saying, ‘Look, Gaal son of Ebed and his kinsfolk have come to Shechem, and they are stirring up* the city against you. 32Now therefore, go by night, you and the troops that are with you, and lie in wait in the fields. 33Then early in the morning, as soon as the sun rises, get up and rush on the city; and when he and the troops that are with him come out against you, you may deal with them as best you can.’

34 So Abimelech and all the troops with him got up by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four companies. 35When Gaal son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, Abimelech and the troops with him rose from the ambush. 36And when Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, ‘Look, people are coming down from the mountain tops!’ And Zebul said to him, ‘The shadows on the mountains look like people to you.’ 37Gaal spoke again and said, ‘Look, people are coming down from Tabbur-erez, and one company is coming from the direction of Elon-meonenim.’* 38Then Zebul said to him, ‘Where is your boast* now, you who said, “Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?” Are not these the troops you made light of? Go out now and fight with them.’ 39So Gaal went out at the head of the lords of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him. Many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate. 41So Abimelech resided at Arumah; and Zebul drove out Gaal and his kinsfolk, so that they could not live on at Shechem.

42 On the following day the people went out into the fields. When Abimelech was told, 43he took his troops and divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the fields. When he looked and saw the people coming out of the city, he rose against them and killed them. 44Abimelech and the company that was* with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two companies rushed on all who were in the fields and killed them. 45Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city, and killed the people that were in it; and he razed the city and sowed it with salt.

46 When all the lords of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the temple of El-berith. 47Abimelech was told that all the lords of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48So Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the troops that were with him. Abimelech took an axe in his hand, cut down a bundle of brushwood, and took it up and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to the troops with him, ‘What you have seen me do, do quickly, as I have done.’ 49So every one of the troops cut down a bundle and following Abimelech put it against the stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. 51But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the lords of the city fled to it and shut themselves in; and they went to the roof of the tower. 52Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and came near to the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. 53But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, and crushed his skull. 54Immediately he called to the young man who carried his armour and said to him, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, so people will not say about me, “A woman killed him.” ’ So the young man thrust him through, and he died. 55When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went home. 56Thus God repaid Abimelech for the crime he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers; 57and God also made all the wickedness of the people of Shechem fall back on their heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham son of Jerubbaal.

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Psalm 75

Thanksgiving for God’s Wondrous Deeds

To the leader: Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.
1 We give thanks to you, O God;
   we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.


2 At the set time that I appoint
   I will judge with equity.
3 When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
   it is I who keep its pillars steady.
          Selah
4 I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast’,
   and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
5 do not lift up your horn on high,
   or speak with insolent neck.’


6 For not from the east or from the west
   and not from the wilderness comes lifting up;
7 but it is God who executes judgement,
   putting down one and lifting up another.
8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
   with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
   and all the wicked of the earth
   shall drain it down to the dregs.
9 But I will rejoice* for ever;
   I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.


10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
   but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

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John 9

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

9As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We* must work the works of him who sent me* while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ 9Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ 10But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ 11He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’ 12They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ 16Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’

18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ 20His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus* to be the Messiah* would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’

24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.’ 25He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ 26They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ 27He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ 28Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ 30The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ 34They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out.

Spiritual Blindness

35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’* 36He answered, ‘And who is he, sir?* Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ 37Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ 38He said, ‘Lord,* I believe.’ And he worshipped him. 39Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ 41Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains.

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10 February 2011

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.7 10 February 2011.