Study Guide

Book of Judges Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

Gideon Ushers In A Golden Age

  • Gideon's army continues to pursue the fleeing Midianites, led by their kings Zebah and Zalmunna.
  • They pass through the towns of Succoth and Penuel, and both refuse to give food to Gideon's army. This is rude, and Gideon promises he'll make them pay when he's done with Zebah and Zalmunna.
  • His army defeats Midian and captures Z&Z.
  • On their way back, Gideon captures a young man from Succoth, who identifies the elders and princes of the city that were so inhospitable before.
  • Gideon beats them with thorns and briars. That'll teach them!
  • He also returns to Penuel and breaks down their tower and kills the men of the city. Seriously—don't mess with Gideon.
  • While interrogating Z&Z, Gideon finds out that they killed his brethren in Tabor. Their life expectancy suddenly plummets dramatically.
  • Gideon tells his oldest son, Jether, to kill these fools. Jether is still just a boy, though, and he doesn't want to.
  • Z&Z say, "You know what, Gid? Why don't you do the honors? You're stronger anyway" (see KJV 8:21).
  • So he does, and he takes the ornaments from their camels' necks because, hey, free camel jewelry.
  • Israel asks Gideon to be their king, and his sons after him, because he's delivered them from Midian.
  • Gideon refuses, and tells them that the Lord will be their king.
  • He asks his men to give him all of the gold they've captured from the Midianites, which they willingly do.
  • With all that gold, Gideon makes an ephod, which is basically the ultimate in high-priestly bling.
  • However, scholars think there must have been tons of gold left over after that, and Gideon may have made a golden monument, too, which Israel would later worship.
  • After this, Israel enjoyed peace for—yup, you guessed it—40 years.
  • Those years were good to Gideon. He had many wives and concubines, who gave him 70-some-odd sons, including Abimelech (more on him later).
  • Gideon "died in a good old age, and was buried" (KJV 8:32). You know what that means…
  • It's time for Israel to forget about God again. Heck—after he dies—they're not even very nice to Gideon's family anymore. The Israelites are pretty big on the whole out-of-sight-out-of-mind way of doing things.

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