Judges 8:4-21

Zebah and Zalmunna

4 Gideon and his 300 men were weak and tired. But they went across the Jordan and they continued to chase the Midianites. 5 Gideon said to the men of Succoth, ‘Please give my soldiers some food to eat. They are very tired. We are chasing the kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, to catch them.’ 6 The city leaders of Succoth said, ‘You have not yet caught Zebah and Zalmunna. We will not give you any food until you have done that.’ 7 Gideon replied, ‘Because you say that, I will return here. When the Lord has put Zebah and Zalmunna under my power, I will come back to punish you. I will beat you with thorn branches that will tear your skin to pieces!’

8 Gideon continued his journey to Peniel. He asked their people for food too. But they gave him the same answer as the men of Succoth. 9 Gideon also warned the men of Peniel, ‘When I have won the fight against my enemies, I will return. Then I will destroy your strong tower.’

10 Zebah and Zalmunna had 15,000 men with them in Karkor. They were the only men left of their great army from the east. 120,000 of their soldiers had died in the battle. 11 Gideon went along a road near the desert. It was east of Nobah and Jogbehah. He attacked the enemy's army by surprise. 12 The two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, ran away. Gideon chased after them and he caught them. The whole Midianite ran away in fear.

13 Then Gideon left the place of the battle to return home. He went along the road across Heres hills. 14 He caught a young man who came from Succoth. He asked him about the leaders of Succoth. The young man wrote down the names of 77 leaders and officers of the city. 15 Gideon went to Succoth with Zebah and Zalmunna. He said to the leaders, ‘Now I have brought these kings to you! You insulted me! You said, “We will not give your tired men any food until you have caught Zebah and Zalmunna.” ’

16 Then Gideon took hold of Succoth's leaders. He beat them with thorn branches to punish them. 17 He also went to Peniel and he destroyed their tower. He killed the men of that city.

18 Then Gideon said to Zebah and Zalmunna, ‘Tell me about the men that you killed at Tabor. What kind of men were they?’ The kings answered, ‘They were like you. They looked like the sons of kings.’ 19 Gideon said, ‘Those were my brothers, my own mother's sons. If you had not killed my brothers, I would not kill you. I promise you that, as surely as the Lord lives.’

20 Gideon said to his oldest son, Jether, ‘Kill them now!’ But Jether was only a boy. He was too afraid to do anything. 21 Zebah and Zalmunna said to Gideon, ‘Kill us yourself! Let us see if you are brave enough to do that!’

So Gideon did kill them. He took away the silver images from the necks of their camels.