1. The Israelites treated Yahweh badly, and Yahweh gave them into the hands of the Midianites for seven years,
2. and the hand of the Midianites lay heavily on them. Because of Midian, the Israelites made for themselves passages in the mountains, caves and shelters.
3. When the Israelites had sown, Midian would come with Amalek and with the people of the East. They would come up against the Israelites,
4. encamp in the lands of the Israelites and destroy all the fields as far as the entrance to Gaza. They would leave no provisions or sheep or ox or ass,
5. for they would come up like locusts in number, bringing with them their livestock and their tents. They and their camels were many and they invaded and plundered the land.
6. In this way, Midian subdued Israel and brought upon it so great a misery that the Israelites cried to Yahweh.
7. When the Israelites cried to Yahweh because of Midian,
8. Yahweh sent them a prophet who said to them, "This is the word of Yahweh, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery.
9. I freed you from the hands of the Egyptians and from all your oppressors. I drove out before you the inhabitants of these lands, and gave their lands to you,
10. and I said to you, 'I am Yahweh, your God. Disregard the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.' But you did not listen to me."
11. The Angel of Yahweh came and sat under the sacred tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, of the family of Abiezer. Gideon, the son of Joash, was threshing the wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.
12. The Angel of Yahweh said to him, "Yahweh be with you, valiant warrior."
13. Gideon answered, "Please, my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why is all this happening to us? Where are the wonders which our fathers recounted to us? Did they not say that Yahweh led them up from Egypt? Why has he abandoned us now and given us into the hands of the Midianites?"
14. Yahweh then turned to him and said, "Go, and with your courage, save Israel from the Midianites. It is I who send you."
15. Gideon answered: "Pardon me, Lord, but how can I save Israel? My family is the lowliest in my tribe and I am the least in the family of my father."
16. Yahweh said to him, "I will be with you and you shall defeat the people of Midian with one single stroke."
17. Gideon said to him, "Please give me a sign that it is indeed you who speak.
18. Do not leave until I return with an offering and present it to you." Yahweh responded, "I am going to wait for you here."
19. Gideon went and prepared a young goat, took a measure of flour and baked unleavened bread. He put the broth in a pot and the meat in a basket, and went to present them to the Angel under the tree.
20. Then the Angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the bread; put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them." Gideon did so.
21. At that moment, the Angel of Yahweh extended the staff he was holding and touched the meat and the bread. Suddenly, fire blazed from the rock. The fire consumed the meat and the bread, and the Angel of Yahweh disappeared.
22. Gideon realized that he was the Angel of Yahweh and said, "Alas, O Lord Yahweh! I have seen the Angel of Yahweh face to face."
23. But Yahweh said to him, "Peace be with you. Do not fear for you shall not die."
24. Gideon built an altar to Yahweh in that place and called it Yahweh-Peace. To this day, it is still in Ophrah of Abiezer.
25. That same night Yahweh said to Gideon, "Take with you ten of your father's servants and a seven-year-old bull. Destroy your father's altar to Baal and cut the sacred pillar beside it.
26. Then build an altar to Yahweh on this knoll and sacrifice the bull to me, burning it with the wood from the sacred pillar."
27. So, Gideon, with the help of his ten servants, did what Yahweh had commanded. But because he feared his family and the people of the town, he did it by night.
28. On the following day, the towns-people saw the altar of Baal broken into pieces and the sacred pillar cut down. They also saw that a bull had been sacrificed on the new altar.
29. So they asked one another and, as they investigated, found out that it was Gideon who had done it,
30. and they went to Joash and said, "Hand your son over to us for he must die; he destroyed the altar of Baal and cut down the sacred pillar."
31. But Joash said to the angry crowd, "Are you going to defend Baal and save him? If he is god, let him defend himself when someone destroys his altar."
32. On that day they gave Gideon the name Jerubaal which means: "Let Baal defend himself against Gideon, for Gideon destroyed his altar."
33. All Midian, Amalek and the people of the East joined forces, crossed the Jordan and invaded the plains of Jezreel.
34. Then the spirit of Yahweh clothed Gideon with strength; he blew the trumpet and summoned the men of Abiezer.
35. He sent messengers throughout the whole territory of Manasseh and they joined him. The people of Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali also went out to meet them.
36. Gideon said to God, "If indeed you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, grant me this favor.
37. I am going to spread this woolen fleece on the threshing ground. If the dew falls only on the fleece while all the ground remains dry, then I shall know that you are to save Israel by my hand, as you have promised."
38. So it was: Gideon rose at day-break, squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew, filling a cup with water.
39. Gideon again spoke to God and said to him, "Don't be angry with me if I dare to speak to you again. Allow me to make another test with the fleece: let it be dry only on the fleece and let dew come on all the ground."
40. That night, Yahweh did so. The fleece remained dry and dew covered all the ground.