Category Archives: Protector / Deliverer

Praise the Lord For Restoration and Prosperity

Let us remember to praise the LORD as he provides restoration and prosperity. It is at times to easy to run to him in difficult times and then forget him when he delivers us from them.

Psalm 147

Praise for Jerusalem’s Restoration and Prosperity.

1Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.

      2The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.

      3He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

      4He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.

      5Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite.

      6The LORD supports the afflicted;
He brings down the wicked to the ground.

      7Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
Sing praises to our God on the lyre,

      8Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

      9He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens which cry.

      10He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.

      11The LORD favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.

      12Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!

      13For He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
He has blessed your sons within you.

      14He makes peace in your borders;
He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat.

      15He sends forth His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.

      16He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes.

      17He casts forth His ice as fragments;
Who can stand before His cold?

      18He sends forth His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.

      19He declares His words to Jacob,
His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.

      20He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

How Blessed Are the People Whose God Is The LORD!

I really appreciate the example David sets in his psalms. He prays to the LORD and asks for help, yes, but he first focuses on praising and recognizing YHWH for who he is and what he has done. He does not simply jump into a list of requests or demands. He comes before YHWH with humility and thankfulness and focuses first on the greatness of our God.

Psalms 144

Prayer for Rescue and Prosperity.

A Psalm of David.

     1Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle;

      2My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My stronghold and my deliverer,
My shield and He in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.

      3O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You think of him?

      4Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.

      5Bow Your heavens, O LORD, and come down;
Touch the mountains, that they may smoke.

      6Flash forth lightning and scatter them;
Send out Your arrows and confuse them.

      7Stretch forth Your hand from on high;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters,
Out of the hand of aliens

      8Whose mouths speak deceit,
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

      9I will sing a new song to You, O God;
Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

      10Who gives salvation to kings,
Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword.

      11Rescue me and deliver me out of the hand of aliens,
Whose mouth speaks deceit
And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

      12Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants,
And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;

      13Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce,
And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;

      14Let our cattle bear
Without mishap and without loss,
Let there be no outcry in our streets!

      15How blessed are the people who are so situated;
How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Come Openly And Honestly To The LORD In Times Of Trouble

We do not need “special” or “long” prayers in order to cry out to YHWH when we are experiencing trouble. Simply cry out for help and submit yourself to him in an open and honest way. Of course, let us also remember to submit to him and maintain relationship with him when times are good as well. We should not ignore him and then come to him only when we are in trouble.

Psalm 142

Prayer for Help in Trouble.

Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.

     1I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD;
I make supplication with my voice to the LORD.

      2I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.

      3When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.

      4Look to the right and see;
For there is no one who regards me;
There is no escape for me;
No one cares for my soul.

      5I cried out to You, O LORD;
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.

      6“Give heed to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are too strong for me.

      7“Bring my soul out of prison,
So that I may give thanks to Your name;
The righteous will surround me,
For You will deal bountifully with me.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Sometimes Difficulties Keep On Coming When You Think You Are Done

Have you ever experienced a situation where someone would not help you when you needed it to accomplish something difficult, but then, when you accomplished it without them, they suddenly get angry at you for not including them? What a frustrating situation.

In Judges 12 we see an extreme version of that. YHWH delivers the sons of Ammon to Jephthah and rather than celebrate and honor the LORD and the victory, the men of Ephraim come out to fight them because they did not get invited to participate in the victory. Wow. With friends like these, who needs enemies, right?

Trust in YHWH to bring you victory even when things seem tough and there seem to continuously be difficulties you don’t expect. Hopefully, we won’t find ourselves often having to go to war, but sometimes in a small way it may seem that way if we are overwhelmed with strife and conflict or lots of things that seem to be going wrong.

Judges 12

Jephthah and His Successors

      1Then the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you.” 2Jephthah said to them, “I and my people were at great strife with the sons of Ammon; when I called you, you did not deliver me from their hand. 3“When I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the sons of Ammon, and the LORD gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” 4Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim; and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, O Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” 5The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. And it happened when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6then they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth.’” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim.

      7Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

      8Now Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel after him. 9He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters whom he gave in marriage outside the family, and he brought in thirty daughters from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.

      11Now Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel after him; and he judged Israel ten years. 12Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

      13Now Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel after him. 14He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys; and he judged Israel eight years. 15Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

It would seem that since there is no mention of the people turning  away from YHWH or going to war that perhaps they remained faithful to YHWH during these successive reigns of these judges.  We often see that peace follows a struggle for a time in Judges. We can ask the LORD for that as well in our lives.. that is for peace after a time of struggle. But let us remember to praise him in the peace as earnestly as we call out for help in the struggles.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Being Real and Open In Our Relationship With The Father

The prayers of David in Psalms are truly worth dwelling on and praying in application to our lives today. He was indeed a man after God’s own heart and we can learn from his relationship with YHWH. He had a genuine and open dialog with YHWH, which is perfect since YHWH knows everything already, including how we feel.  Let us not feel like we have to “fool” YHWH by putting on pretenses, but rather be real with him about what is going on in our lives. Ask him for help. Praise him. Thank him.

Psalm 141

An Evening Prayer for Sanctification and Protection.

A Psalm of David.

     1O LORD, I call upon You; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to You!

      2May my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

      3Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.

      4Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice deeds of wickedness
With men who do iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

      5Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me;
It is oil upon the head;
Do not let my head refuse it,
For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.

      6Their judges are thrown down by the sides of the rock,
And they hear my words, for they are pleasant.

      7As when one plows and breaks open the earth,
Our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

      8For my eyes are toward You, O GOD, the Lord;
In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.

      9Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me,
And from the snares of those who do iniquity.

      10Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I pass by safely.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

YHWH Will Choose Whom He Will Choose

I find it amazing to continue to remind myself in reading scripture how often the people that YHWH chooses to use are different than those that man would choose based on the criteria we use to judge. I believe he does this purposefully to show that it is him who brings victory rather than ourselves. Take care not to discount someone based on their personal history or background but instead seek the LORD and test what they bring against the truth of the Bible.

I find it further very interesting that Jephthah took an approach to reason with the aggressors before just picking up and going to war. He tried to resolve the matter peacefully. Ultimately, he calls upon the LORD and achieves victory, but with some complications that we will discuss in the next article when we address the end of Judges 11.

 

Judges 11:1-28

Jephthah the Ninth Judge

     1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2Gilead’s wife bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless fellows gathered themselves about Jephthah, and they went out with him.

      4It came about after a while that the sons of Ammon fought against Israel. 5When the sons of Ammon fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; 6and they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief that we may fight against the sons of Ammon.” 7Then Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?” 8The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “For this reason we have now returned to you, that you may go with us and fight with the sons of Ammon and become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back to fight against the sons of Ammon and the LORD gives them up to me, will I become your head?” 10The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The LORD is witness between us; surely we will do as you have said.” 11Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD at Mizpah.

      12Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon, saying, “What is between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13The king of the sons of Ammon said to the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and the Jordan; therefore, return them peaceably now.” 14But Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the sons of Ammon, 15and they said to him, “Thus says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab nor the land of the sons of Ammon. 16‘For when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh, 17then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let us pass through your land,” but the king of Edom would not listen. And they also sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh. 18‘Then they went through the wilderness and around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and came to the east side of the land of Moab, and they camped beyond the Arnon; but they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19‘And Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, “Please let us pass through your land to our place.” 20‘But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered all his people and camped in Jahaz and fought with Israel. 21‘The LORD, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22‘So they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan. 23‘Since now the LORD, the God of Israel, drove out the Amorites from before His people Israel, are you then to possess it? 24‘Do you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever the LORD our God has driven out before us, we will possess it. 25‘Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive with Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26‘While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? 27‘I therefore have not sinned against you, but you are doing me wrong by making war against me; may the LORD, the Judge, judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon.’” 28But the king of the sons of Ammon disregarded the message which Jephthah sent him.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Prayer for Protection Against The Wicked

We may or may not have wicked people coming against us in the same way that David did, but we can come before the LORD and ask for his protection and deliverance from all that we face.

Psalms 140

Prayer for Protection against the Wicked.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

     1Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men;
Preserve me from violent men

      2Who devise evil things in their hearts;
They continually stir up wars.

      3They sharpen their tongues as a serpent;
Poison of a viper is under their lips.

Selah.

      4Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
Preserve me from violent men
Who have purposed to trip up my feet.

      5The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set snares for me.

Selah.

      6I said to the LORD, “You are my God;
Give ear, O LORD, to the voice of my supplications.

      7“O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have covered my head in the day of battle.

      8“Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked;
Do not promote his evil device, that they not be exalted.

Selah.

      9“As for the head of those who surround me,
May the mischief of their lips cover them.

      10“May burning coals fall upon them;
May they be cast into the fire,
Into deep pits from which they cannot rise.

      11“May a slanderer not be established in the earth;
May evil hunt the violent man speedily.”

      12I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted
And justice for the poor.

      13Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name;
The upright will dwell in Your presence.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Do Not Turn Your Back on YHWH After He Delivers You

Human nature has not changed. We can learn from the past and apply these learnings to our own life and to the path our nation follows. Judges provides an excellent, at times accelerated, demonstration of how people can be fickle with regards to YHWH. When there is a significant burden or crisis, they turn toward him. Then, over time, they become complacent… especially over a few generations. Then he allows consequences for their disobedience and rebellion, and then they want to repent to get his help.

If we put ourselves in his place, we would be frustrated and disgusted how quickly people forget that we helped and delivered them as we watch them go worship rocks and sticks. Yet we expect YHWH to just somehow smile at us as we ignore and reject him and then smile again when we come back and ask for help again and again. He is merciful and patient, but he also experiences righteous anger. Let us not take for granted that he provides, that he rescues, that he delivers us. Let us not grow complacent after he does and let us not wander away from him in good times.

Judges 10

Oppression of Philistines and Ammonites

      1Now after Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. 2He judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir.

      3After him, Jair the Gileadite arose and judged Israel twenty-two years. 4He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities in the land of Gilead that are called Havvoth-jair to this day. 5And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

      6Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him. 7The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the sons of Ammon. 8They afflicted and crushed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they afflicted all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in Gilead in the land of the Amorites. 9The sons of Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed.

      10Then the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, “We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and served the Baals.” 11The LORD said to the sons of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? 12“Also when the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hands. 13“Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer deliver you. 14“Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress.” 15The sons of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please deliver us this day.” 16So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD; and He could bear the misery of Israel no longer.

      17Then the sons of Ammon were summoned and they camped in Gilead. And the sons of Israel gathered together and camped in Mizpah. 18The people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Let Us Give Thanks to YHWH With All Our Heart

Let us give thanks and sing praises to YHWH. Let us bow down before him and submit our lives to him. Reflect on his lovingkindness toward his people.

Psalms 138

Thanksgiving for the LORD’S Favor.

A Psalm of David.

     1I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.

      2I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

      3On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

      4All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD,
When they have heard the words of Your mouth.

      5And they will sing of the ways of the LORD,
For great is the glory of the LORD.

      6For though the LORD is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar.

      7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.

      8The LORD will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Follow Through To Complete The Victory

Judges 8 is an action packed chapter. It follows the victory of Gideon that is so well known in which with trumpets, pitchers, and torches  and only 300 men (and YHWH of course) Israel routes Midian. The action does not stop, much like what we experience in life in general. There are some periods where things move quickly and can get complicated. We need to deal with them as they come and in some cases follow up later to get proper closure. We see also the importance of Gideon following through on the initial wins to complete the full victory. He does not leave loose ends that may come back to unravel the victory later. Sometimes finishing is very challenging and we are tempted to stop and call it “good enough”. We should take care to follow through to the end.

Gideon has just routed the Midianites and of course everyone cheers him, right? Nope. The men of Ephraim are angry with him. He must deal with them. No worries, right? Now they will get lots of support to finish the battle against Midian? Nope. The men of Succoth and Penuel refuse to help for fear Gideon does not complete the victory and they suffer at the hands of Midian again.

Even those who suffer at the hands of the wicked will not always rise up to help you defeat it. We must rely on YHWH rather than men. I suppose there is room for robust discussion on Gideon’s response to the people of Succoth and Penuel. Whether or not you agree with his approach, there is not rebuke in scripture for what actions he took, as there is clearly called out not very long after in verse 27. It is reasonable to conclude that if his treatment of the people was wrong here in the same chapter it might likewise be called out. This is likely a difficult chain of thought for most of us given the mindset of our vastly different culture some thousands of years later.

Gideon experiences a high point in refusing to become ruler over Israel like a king. He insists that YHWH remain ruler over them. This is awesome. Then, just as he wraps up all this difficulty and is about to enter into peace for 40 years, he stumbles. He takes gold and makes it into an ephod which then becomes a snare to Israel, Gideon, and his household. It is almost as if he let his guard down. We do not learn his motives in doing so. Perhaps he intended it for good. None the less, perhaps we need learn to be vigilant even as YHWH delivers victory that we not step into or create snares for ourselves and our families or people. Sometimes it is in the embracing of victory in which we fall into sin.

Judges 8:1-27

Zebah and Zalmunna Routed

      1Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they contended with him vigorously. 2But 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? 3“God has given the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hands; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.

      4Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing. 5He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6The leaders of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?” 7Gideon said, “All right, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will thrash your bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” 8He went up from there to Penuel and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9So he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I return safely, I will tear down this tower.”

      10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about 15,000 men, all who were left of the entire army of the sons of the east; for the fallen were 120,000 swordsmen. 11Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the camp when the camp was unsuspecting. 12When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole army.

      13Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14And he captured a youth from Succoth and questioned him. Then the youth wrote down for him the princes of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15He came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’” 16He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he disciplined the men of Succoth with them. 17He tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

      18Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” And they said, “They were like you, each one resembling the son of a king.” 19He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them.” But the youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. 21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself, and fall on us; for as the man, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments which were on their camels’ necks.

      22Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.” 24Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25They said, “We will surely give them.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. 26The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks. 27Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.

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