The People of Midian Oppress Israel
1 Then the sons of Israel did evil before the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years,†
2 and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. The sons of Israel made dens for themselves in the mountains and caves, and strongholds away from the presence of the Midianites.
3 So it was, whenever the sons of Israel had sown, Midianites would come up, and the Amalekites and the sons of the East would come up with them.†
4 Then they encamped against them and destroyed the fruits of the earth until they came to Gaza, and left no substance of life in the land of Israel, not even an ox or a donkey among the herds.
5 For they came up with their livestock and their tents, and appeared just as numerous as locusts; they and their camels were without number; and they came into the land of Israel and destroyed it.
6 And Israel was exceedingly destitute before the face of the Midianites, and the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord
7 because of the presence of the Midianites.
8 And the Lord sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, who said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘I am He who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of your bondage;
9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land.
10 And I said to you, I am the Lord your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But you did not obey My voice.’ ”
11 Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree in Ephrathah which belonged to Joash the father of Esdri, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress in order to hide from the presence of the Midianites.†
12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, mighty one of the armies!”
13 Gideon said to Him, “It is I, my Lord? If the Lord is with us, why then have these evils come upon us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has driven us out and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
14 Then the Angel of the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with this strength of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Indeed, I have sent you.”
15 And Gideon said to Him, “Be gracious with me, my Lord, for how can I save Israel? My thousand is weakened in Manasseh, and I am the smallest in my father’s house.”†
16 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “The Lord will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
17 Then Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found mercy in Your sight, then You shall do everything for me today that You have told me.
18 Do not leave here, I pray, until I come to You and I will bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I am. I will wait until you come back.”†
19 So Gideon went in and prepared a goat kid, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and approached.†
20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so.
21 Then the Angel of the Lord stretched out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.
22 Now Gideon perceived this was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, “O Lord, my Lord! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.”
23 Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”
24 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it the Peace of the Lord. To this day it is still in Ephratha of the father of Esdri.
25 Now that same night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, and the second calf of seven years old, and tear down your father’s altar to Baal, and destroy the sacred grove beside it.†
26 Build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this stronghold in the proper arrangement, and take the second calf and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the sacred grove which you cut down.”
27 So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.
28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, the altar of Baal was torn down; and the sacred grove beside it was destroyed, and they saw the second bull being offered on the altar which had been built.
29 And one man said to his neighbor, “Who did this?” Then they inquired and learned that Gideon the son of Joash had done it.
30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son and let him die, because he tore down the altar of Baal, and because he destroyed the sacred grove beside it.”
31 But Joash said to all the men who stood against him, “Are you now going to plead for Baal? Do you want to save him? Let the one who wants to plead for Baal be put to death by morning! If he is a god, because his altar is torn down, let him plead for himself!”
32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, “Let Baal plead against him, for it is his altar that is torn down.”†
33 Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the sons of the East, gathered together and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel.
34 But the Spirit of the Lord empowered Gideon, and he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were terrified behind him.
35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh and to Asher, and to Zebulun, and Naphtali; and he went up to meet them.
The Dewy Fleece
36 So Gideon said to God, “If You save Israel by my hand as You said,
37 then look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You said.”
38 And it was so. And he rose early the next morning and wrung the fleece and from the fleece dropped enough dew to fill a pan full of water.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Indeed, I pray, do not let Your anger be aroused at me, and I will speak but once; I will yet make one more trial with the fleece. This time, let it be dry on the fleece, but let there be dew all over the ground.”
40 And that night God made it so; on the fleece it was completely dry, but there was dew all over the ground.
1 An ode of a psalm for the sons of Korah; for the End, for the Mahalath to respond; understanding for Heman the Israelite. †
2 O Lord God of my salvation, I cry day and night before You.
3 Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my supplication, O Lord.
4 For my soul is filled with sorrows, And my soul draws near to Hades;
5 I am counted among those who go down into the pit; I am like a helpless man, free among the dead,
6 Like slain men thrown down and sleeping in a grave, Whom You remember no more, But they are removed from Your hand.
7 They laid me in the lowest pit, In dark places and in the shadow of death.
8 Your wrath rested upon me, And You brought all Your billows over me. (Pause)
9 You removed my acquaintances far from me; They made me an abomination among themselves; I was betrayed, and did not go forth.
10 My eyes weakened from poverty; O Lord, I cry to You the whole day long; I spread out my hands to You.
11 Will You work wonders for the dead? Or will physicians raise them up, and acknowledge You?
12 Shall anyone in the grave describe Your mercy And Your truth in destruction?
13 Shall Your wonders be known in darkness, And Your righteousness in a forgotten land?
14 But I cry to You, O Lord, And in the morning my prayer shall come near to You.
15 Why, O Lord, do You reject my soul, And turn away Your face from me?
16 I am poor and in troubles from my youth; But having been exalted, I was humbled and brought into despair.
17 Your fierce anger passed over me, And Your terrors greatly troubled me;
18 They compassed me like water all the day long; They surrounded me at once.
19 You removed far from me neighbor and friend, And my acquaintances because of my misery.
Proverbs of Solomon 18
11 The substance of a rich man is a strong city, And its glory casts a great shadow.
12 Before its destruction, the heart of a man exalts itself, And before its glory, it humbles itself.
13 He who replies to a word before he hears it Lacks discernment, and this is a reproach to him.
14 A servant with discernment calms the anger of a man, But who can support a discouraged man?†
15 A heart of discernment gains perception, And the ears of the wise seek understanding.†
16 The gift of a man enlarges him And seats him beside princes.
17 When a prosecutor speaks first, he seems righteous, But when the defendant examines his case, he is reproved.
1 In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.
3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!†
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
8 “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God.
9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
10 “And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.†
11 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say.
12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Against Greed and Anxiety
13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”†
14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”
15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.
17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’
18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’
20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’†
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.†
23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.
24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?
25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?
27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?
29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.
30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.
31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.†
33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.
34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.