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Judges 8

1And the men of Efraim said to him, “Why did you do that to us—not calling us when you went to fight the Midianites?” And they rebuked him severely.

אוַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו אִישׁ אֶפְרַיִם מָה־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ לְבִלְתִּי קְרֹאות לָנוּ כִּי הָלַכְתָּ לְהִלָּחֵם בְּמִדְיָן וַיְרִיבוּן אִתּוֹ בְּחָזְקָה׃

2But he answered them, “After all, what have I accomplished compared to you? Why, Efraim's gleanings are better than Abiezer's vintage!

va-YO-mer a-lay-HEM meh a-SEE-tee a-TAH ka-KHEM ha-LO TOV o-l'-LOT ef-RA-yim miv-TZEER a-vee-E-zer

בוַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם מֶה־עָשִׂיתִי עַתָּה כָּכֶם הֲלוֹא טוֹב עֹלְלוֹת אֶפְרַיִם מִבְצִיר אֲבִיעֶזֶר׃

 8:2   But he answered them, “After all, what have I accomplished”

Prime Minister Menachem Begin (1913-1992)

Though he has done nothing wrong, Gidon nevertheless attempts to pacify the men of Efraim who are angry with him, because he recognizes the essential need to avoid civil war. Infighting among the People of Israel always brings disastrous results, such as the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash, which, according to the Talmud (Yoma 9b), was destroyed because of baseless hatred. On a number of occasions during the twentieth-century struggle for Jewish independence in the Land of Israel, the main Jewish defense group Haganah fought against the rival group Irgun, which used more extreme measures against the British authorities. Although it may have been against his own narrow interests, the Irgun’s leader, Menachem Begin, refused to escalate the violence, saying that civil war must be avoided at all costs. Begin later became Israel’s sixth Prime Minister.

3Hashem has delivered the Midianite generals Oreb and Zeeb into your hands, and what was I able to do compared to you?” And when he spoke in this fashion, their anger against him abated.

גבְּיֶדְכֶם נָתַן אֱלֹהִים אֶת־שָׂרֵי מִדְיָן אֶת־עֹרֵב וְאֶת־זְאֵב וּמַה־יָּכֹלְתִּי עֲשׂוֹת כָּכֶם אָז רָפְתָה רוּחָם מֵעָלָיו בְּדַבְּרוֹ הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה׃

4Gidon came to the Yarden and crossed it. The three hundred men with him were famished, but still in pursuit.

דוַיָּבֹא גִדְעוֹן הַיַּרְדֵּנָה עֹבֵר הוּא וּשְׁלֹשׁ־מֵאוֹת הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ עֲיֵפִים וְרֹדְפִים׃

5He said to the people of Succoth, “Please give some loaves of bread to the men who are following me, for they are famished, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”

הוַיֹּאמֶר לְאַנְשֵׁי סֻכּוֹת תְּנוּ־נָא כִּכְּרוֹת לֶחֶם לָעָם אֲשֶׁר בְּרַגְלָי כִּי־עֲיֵפִים הֵם וְאָנֹכִי רֹדֵף אַחֲרֵי זֶבַח וְצַלְמֻנָּע מַלְכֵי מִדְיָן׃

6But the officials of Succoth replied, “Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your troops?”

ווַיֹּאמֶר שָׂרֵי סֻכּוֹת הֲכַף זֶבַח וְצַלְמֻנָּע עַתָּה בְּיָדֶךָ כִּי־נִתֵּן לִצְבָאֲךָ לָחֶם׃

7“I swear,” declared Gidon, “when Hashem delivers Zebah and Zalmunna into my hands, I'll thresh your bodies upon desert thorns and briers!”

זוַיֹּאמֶר גִּדְעוֹן לָכֵן בְּתֵת יְהֹוָה אֶת־זֶבַח וְאֶת־צַלְמֻנָּע בְּיָדִי וְדַשְׁתִּי אֶת־בְּשַׂרְכֶם אֶת־קוֹצֵי הַמִּדְבָּר וְאֶת־הַבַּרְקֳנִים׃

8From there he went up to Penuel and made the same request of them; but the people of Penuel gave him the same reply as the people of Succoth.

חוַיַּעַל מִשָּׁם פְּנוּאֵל וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם כָּזֹאת וַיַּעֲנוּ אוֹתוֹ אַנְשֵׁי פְנוּאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר עָנוּ אַנְשֵׁי סֻכּוֹת׃

9So he also threatened the people of Penuel: “When I come back safe, I'll tear down this tower!”

טוַיֹּאמֶר גַּם־לְאַנְשֵׁי פְנוּאֵל לֵאמֹר בְּשׁוּבִי בְשָׁלוֹם אֶתֹּץ אֶת־הַמִּגְדָּל הַזֶּה׃

10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were at Karkor with their army of about 15,000; these were all that remained of the entire host of the Kedemites, for the slain numbered 120,000 fighting men.

יוְזֶבַח וְצַלְמֻנָּע בַּקַּרְקֹר וּמַחֲנֵיהֶם עִמָּם כַּחֲמֵשֶׁת עָשָׂר אֶלֶף כֹּל הַנּוֹתָרִים מִכֹּל מַחֲנֵה בְנֵי־קֶדֶם וְהַנֹּפְלִים מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף אִישׁ שֹׁלֵף חָרֶב׃

11Gidon marched up the road of the tent dwellers, up to east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and routed the camp, which was off guard.

יאוַיַּעַל גִּדְעוֹן דֶּרֶךְ הַשְּׁכוּנֵי בָאֳהָלִים מִקֶּדֶם לְנֹבַח וְיָגְבֳּהָה וַיַּךְ אֶת־הַמַּחֲנֶה וְהַמַּחֲנֶה הָיָה בֶטַח׃

12Zebah and Zalmunna took to flight, with Gidon in pursuit. He captured Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, and threw the whole army into panic.

יבוַיָּנוּסוּ זֶבַח וְצַלְמֻנָּע וַיִּרְדֹּף אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּלְכֹּד אֶת־שְׁנֵי מַלְכֵי מִדְיָן אֶת־זֶבַח וְאֶת־צַלְמֻנָּע וְכָל־הַמַּחֲנֶה הֶחֱרִיד׃

13On his way back from the battle at the Ascent of Heres, Gidon son of Yoash

יגוַיָּשָׁב גִּדְעוֹן בֶּן־יוֹאָשׁ מִן־הַמִּלְחָמָה מִלְמַעֲלֵה הֶחָרֶס׃

14captured a boy from among the people of Succoth and interrogated him. The latter drew up for him a list of the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven in number.

ידוַיִּלְכָּד־נַעַר מֵאַנְשֵׁי סֻכּוֹת וַיִּשְׁאָלֵהוּ וַיִּכְתֹּב אֵלָיו אֶת־שָׂרֵי סֻכּוֹת וְאֶת־זְקֵנֶיהָ שִׁבְעִים וְשִׁבְעָה אִישׁ׃

15Then he came to the people of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you mocked me, saying, ‘Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give your famished men bread?'”

טווַיָּבֹא אֶל־אַנְשֵׁי סֻכּוֹת וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה זֶבַח וְצַלְמֻנָּע אֲשֶׁר חֵרַפְתֶּם אוֹתִי לֵאמֹר הֲכַף זֶבַח וְצַלְמֻנָּע עַתָּה בְּיָדֶךָ כִּי נִתֵּן לַאֲנָשֶׁיךָ הַיְּעֵפִים לָחֶם׃

16And he took the elders of the city and, [bringing] desert thorns and briers, he punished the people of Succoth with them.

טזוַיִּקַּח אֶת־זִקְנֵי הָעִיר וְאֶת־קוֹצֵי הַמִּדְבָּר וְאֶת־הַבַּרְקֳנִים וַיֹּדַע בָּהֶם אֵת אַנְשֵׁי סֻכּוֹת׃

17As for Penuel, he tore down its tower and killed the townspeople.

יזוְאֶת־מִגְדַּל פְּנוּאֵל נָתָץ וַיַּהֲרֹג אֶת־אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר׃

18Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “Those men you killed at Tavor, what were they like?” “They looked just like you,” they replied, “like sons of a king.”

יחוַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־זֶבַח וְאֶל־צַלְמֻנָּע אֵיפֹה הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר הֲרַגְתֶּם בְּתָבוֹר וַיֹּאמרוּ כָּמוֹךָ כְמוֹהֶם אֶחָד כְּתֹאַר בְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ׃

19“They were my brothers,” he declared, “the sons of my mother. As Hashem lives, if you had spared them, I would not kill you.”

יטוַיֹּאמַר אַחַי בְּנֵי־אִמִּי הֵם חַי־יְהֹוָה לוּ הַחֲיִתֶם אוֹתָם לֹא הָרַגְתִּי אֶתְכֶם׃

20And he commanded his oldest son Jether, “Go kill them!” But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was timid, being still a boy.

כוַיֹּאמֶר לְיֶתֶר בְּכוֹרוֹ קוּם הֲרֹג אוֹתָם וְלֹא־שָׁלַף הַנַּעַר חַרְבּוֹ כִּי יָרֵא כִּי עוֹדֶנּוּ נָעַר׃

21Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, you slay us; for strength comes with manhood.” So Gidon went over and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescents that were on the necks of their camels.

כאוַיֹּאמֶר זֶבַח וְצַלְמֻנָּע קוּם אַתָּה וּפְגַע־בָּנוּ כִּי כָאִישׁ גְּבוּרָתוֹ וַיָּקָם גִּדְעוֹן וַיַּהֲרֹג אֶת־זֶבַח וְאֶת־צַלְמֻנָּע וַיִּקַּח אֶת־הַשַּׂהֲרֹנִים אֲשֶׁר בְּצַוְּארֵי גְמַלֵּיהֶם׃

22Then the men of Yisrael said to Gidon, “Rule over us—you, your son, and your grandson as well; for you have saved us from the Midianites.”

כבוַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־גִּדְעוֹן מְשָׁל־בָּנוּ גַּם־אַתָּה גַּם־בִּנְךָ גַּם בֶּן־בְּנֶךָ כִּי הוֹשַׁעְתָּנוּ מִיַּד מִדְיָן׃

23But Gidon replied, “I will not rule over you myself, nor shall my son rule over you; Hashem alone shall rule over you.”

כגוַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם גִּדְעוֹן לֹא־אֶמְשֹׁל אֲנִי בָּכֶם וְלֹא־יִמְשֹׁל בְּנִי בָּכֶם יְהֹוָה יִמְשֹׁל בָּכֶם׃

24And Gidon said to them, “I have a request to make of you: Each of you give me the earring he received as booty.” (They had golden earrings, for they were Ishmaelites.)

כדוַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם גִּדְעוֹן אֶשְׁאֲלָה מִכֶּם שְׁאֵלָה וּתְנוּ־לִי אִישׁ נֶזֶם שְׁלָלוֹ כִּי־נִזְמֵי זָהָב לָהֶם כִּי יִשְׁמְעֵאלִים הֵם׃

25“Certainly!” they replied. And they spread out a cloth, and everyone threw onto it the earring he had received as booty.

כהוַיֹּאמְרוּ נָתוֹן נִתֵּן וַיִּפְרְשׂוּ אֶת־הַשִּׂמְלָה וַיַּשְׁלִיכוּ שָׁמָּה אִישׁ נֶזֶם שְׁלָלוֹ׃

26The weight of the golden earrings that he had requested came to 1,700 shekalim of gold; this was in addition to the crescents and the pendants and the purple robes worn by the kings of Midian and in addition to the collars on the necks of their camels.

כווַיְהִי מִשְׁקַל נִזְמֵי הַזָּהָב אֲשֶׁר שָׁאָל אֶלֶף וּשְׁבַע־מֵאוֹת זָהָב לְבַד מִן־הַשַּׂהֲרֹנִים וְהַנְּטִפוֹת וּבִגְדֵי הָאַרְגָּמָן שֶׁעַל מַלְכֵי מִדְיָן וּלְבַד מִן־הָעֲנָקוֹת אֲשֶׁר בְּצַוְּארֵי גְמַלֵּיהֶם׃

27Gidon made an ephod of this gold and set it up in his own town of Ophrah. There all Yisrael went astray after it, and it became a snare to Gidon and his household.

כזוַיַּעַשׂ אוֹתוֹ גִדְעוֹן לְאֵפוֹד וַיַּצֵּג אוֹתוֹ בְעִירוֹ בְּעָפְרָה וַיִּזְנוּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל אַחֲרָיו שָׁם וַיְהִי לְגִדְעוֹן וּלְבֵיתוֹ לְמוֹקֵשׁ׃

28Thus Midian submitted to the Israelites and did not raise its head again; and the land was tranquil for forty years in Gidon's time.

כחוַיִּכָּנַע מִדְיָן לִפְנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא יָסְפוּ לָשֵׂאת רֹאשָׁם וַתִּשְׁקֹט הָאָרֶץ אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה בִּימֵי גִדְעוֹן׃

29So Yerubaal son of Yoash retired to his own house.

כטוַיֵּלֶךְ יְרֻבַּעַל בֶּן־יוֹאָשׁ וַיֵּשֶׁב בְּבֵיתוֹ׃

30Gidon had seventy sons of his own issue, for he had many wives.

לוּלְגִדְעוֹן הָיוּ שִׁבְעִים בָּנִים יֹצְאֵי יְרֵכוֹ כִּי־נָשִׁים רַבּוֹת הָיוּ לוֹ׃

31A son was also born to him by his concubine in Shechem, and he named him Avimelech.

לאוּפִילַגְשׁוֹ אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁכֶם יָלְדָה־לּוֹ גַם־הִיא בֵּן וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־שְׁמוֹ אֲבִימֶלֶךְ׃

32Gidon son of Yoash died at a ripe old age, and was buried in the tomb of his father Yoash at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

לבוַיָּמָת גִּדְעוֹן בֶּן־יוֹאָשׁ בְּשֵׂיבָה טוֹבָה וַיִּקָּבֵר בְּקֶבֶר יוֹאָשׁ אָבִיו בְּעָפְרָה אֲבִי הָעֶזְרִי׃

33After Gidon died, the Israelites again went astray after the Baalim, and they adopted Baal-berith as a god.

לגוַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר מֵת גִּדְעוֹן וַיָּשׁוּבוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּזְנוּ אַחֲרֵי הַבְּעָלִים וַיָּשִׂימוּ לָהֶם בַּעַל בְּרִית לֵאלֹהִים׃

34The Israelites gave no thought to Hashem their God, who saved them from all the enemies around them.

לדוְלֹא זָכְרוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם הַמַּצִּיל אוֹתָם מִיַּד כָּל־אֹיְבֵיהֶם מִסָּבִיב׃

35Nor did they show loyalty to the house of Yerubaal-Gidon in return for all the good that he had done for Yisrael.

להוְלֹא־עָשׂוּ חֶסֶד עִם־בֵּית יְרֻבַּעַל גִּדְעוֹן כְּכָל־הַטּוֹבָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃