Gideon destroys Baal's altar
25 On the same night, the Lord said to Gideon, ‘Take your father's bull from among his animals. Also take a second bull, one that is seven years old. Use them to pull down your father's altar to Baal. Also cut down the Asherah pole that is there. 26 Then build an altar in their place to give honour to the Lord your God. Build it in the proper way, on top of that hill. Then use the wood from the Asherah pole to burn the second bull as a burnt offering to me.’
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants, and he did what the Lord had said. He was afraid of the people in his father's family and the men of the town. So he did this at night, not in the day.
28 Early the next morning, the men of the town saw that someone had destroyed Baal's altar. They saw that someone had cut down the Asherah pole. They saw that someone had burned the second bull as a sacrifice on a new altar.
29 They asked each other, ‘Who has done this?’ They asked many people until someone told them, ‘Joash's son Gideon has done this.’
30 Then the men of the town said to Joash, ‘Bring Gideon out of your house. We must punish him with death. He has destroyed Baal's altar, and he has cut down the Asherah pole that was beside it.’
31 Joash said to the angry men who were against him, ‘Are you trying to save Baal because he is in trouble? Why should you do that? Anyone who tries to help Baal will die before tomorrow arrives. If Baal really is a god, he should fight for himself. It is his altar that someone has pulled down!’
32 So after that, people called Gideon ‘Jerub-Baal’. That was because Joash had said, ‘Baal should fight for himself. He himself should punish the person who pulled down his altar.’
33 At that time, the Midianites, Amalekites and people of the east made an agreement to fight together. They crossed the Jordan River and they made their camp in the Jezreel valley. 34 Then the Lord's Spirit came to Gideon with power. Gideon made a loud noise with a trumpet. He called the men of Abiezer's clan to follow him. 35 He sent men to take a message to Manasseh's tribe. He told them to send their men to join him. He also told the men of the tribes of Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali to come and join him too. They all came to meet with Gideon.
36 Gideon said to God, ‘I want to know that you will do what you have promised to me. If you will really use me to rescue Israel, please show me that it is true. 37 I will do this: I will put the wool of a sheep's skin out on the stone floor. During the night, please cause the dew to make it wet. If it is wet but the ground around it is dry, I will know that it is true. You will use me to rescue Israel, as you have promised.’
38 That is what happened. When Gideon got up the next morning, the wool was wet. Gideon squeezed water out of it. It was enough to fill a bowl!
39 Then Gideon said to God. ‘Please do not be angry with me. Let me ask you to do one more thing. I will put out the sheep's wool again to see what happens. This time please make the ground wet with dew, but keep only the wool dry.’ 40 That night God did what Gideon had asked. The sheep's wool was dry, but the ground around it was wet with dew.