Israel Sins Again
6 The people of Israel did what the Lord considered evil. So the Lord handed them over to Midian for seven years. 2 Midian’s power was too strong for Israel. The Israelites made hiding places in the mountains, caves, and mountain strongholds to protect themselves from Midian. 3 Whenever Israel planted crops, Midian, Amalek, and Kedem came and damaged the crops. 4 The enemy used to camp on the land and destroy the crops all the way to Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to live on—not one sheep, cow, or donkey. 5 Like swarms of locusts, they came with their livestock and their tents. They and their camels could not be counted. They came into the land only to ruin it. 6 So the Israelites became very poor because of Midian and cried out to the Lord for help.
7 When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help because of what the Midianites had done to them, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to them. He said, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says:
I brought you out of Egypt.
I took you away from slavery.
9 I rescued you from the power of the Egyptians
and from the power of those who oppressed you.
I forced people out of your way.
I gave you their land.
10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God.
You must never fear the gods of the Amorites
in whose land you will live.’
But you have not obeyed me.”
Gideon Is Chosen to Be a Judge
11 The Messenger of the Lord came and sat under the oak tree in Ophrah that belonged to Joash from Abiezer’s family. Joash’s son Gideon was beating out wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 The Messenger of the Lord appeared to Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, brave man.”
13 Gideon responded, “Excuse me, sir! But if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles our ancestors have told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and has handed us over to Midian.”
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “You will rescue Israel from Midian with the strength you have. I am sending you.”
15 Gideon said to him, “Excuse me, sir! How can I rescue Israel? Look at my whole family. It’s the weakest one in Manasseh. And me? I’m the least important member of my family.”
16 The Lord replied, “I will be with you. You will defeat Midian as if it were only one man.”
17 Gideon said to him, “If you find me acceptable, give me a sign that it is really you speaking to me. 18 Don’t leave until I come back. I want to bring my gift and set it in front of you.”
“I will stay until you come back,” he said.
19 Then Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread made with 18 quarts of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. Then he went out and presented them to the Messenger of the Lord under the oak tree.
20 The Messenger of the Lord told him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” Gideon did so. 21 Then the Messenger of the Lord touched the meat and the bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared up from the rock and burned the meat and the bread. Then the Messenger of the Lord disappeared. 22 That’s when Gideon realized that this had been the Messenger of the Lord. So he said, “Lord God! I have seen the Messenger of the Lord face to face.”
23 The Lord said to him, “Calm down! Don’t be afraid. You will not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord. He called it The Lord Calms. To this day it is still in Ophrah, which belongs to Abiezer’s family.
Gideon Destroys an Altar Dedicated to Baal
25 That same night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take a bull from your father’s herd, a bull that is seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar dedicated to the god Baal and cut down the pole dedicated to the goddess Asherah that is next to it. 26 Then, in the proper way, build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this fortified place. Take this second bull and sacrifice it as a burnt offering on the wood from the Asherah pole that you have cut down.”
27 Gideon took ten of his servants and did what the Lord had told him to do. However, he didn’t do anything during the day. He was too afraid of his father’s family and the men of the city, so he did it at night. 28 When the men of the city got up early in the morning, they saw that the Baal altar had been torn down. The Asherah pole next to it had also been cut down. They saw that the second bull had been sacrificed as a burnt offering on the altar that had been built. 29 They asked each other, “Who did this?” While they were investigating the matter, someone said, “Gideon, son of Joash, did this.”
30 Then the men of the city told Joash, “Bring your son out. He must die. He has torn down the Baal altar and cut down the Asherah pole that was beside it.”
31 But Joash said to everyone standing around him, “You’re not going to defend Baal, are you? Do you think you should save him? Whoever defends him will be put to death in the morning. If he’s a god, let him defend himself when someone tears down his altar.” 32 So that day they nicknamed Gideon “Jerubbaal” [Let Baal Defend Himself], because they said, “When someone tears down Baal’s altar, let Baal defend himself.”
Gideon Summons an Army
33 All of Midian, Amalek, and Kedem combined their armies, crossed the Jordan River, and camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Lord’s Spirit gave Gideon strength. So Gideon blew the ram’s horn to summon Abiezer’s family to follow him. 35 He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh to summon the people to follow him. The tribes of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali were also summoned to follow him, and they went to meet the enemy in battle.
36 Then Gideon said to God, “You said that you would rescue Israel through me. 37 I’ll place some wool on the threshing floor.[a] If there is dew on the wool while all the ground is dry, then I’ll know that you will rescue Israel through me, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. The next morning Gideon got up early. He squeezed out a bowl full of water from the wool.
39 Then Gideon said to God, “Don’t be angry with me. But let me ask one more thing. Let me make one more test with the wool. Let the wool be dry while all the ground is covered with dew.” 40 During the night, God did what Gideon asked. The wool was dry, but all the ground was covered with dew.
- Judges 6:37 A threshing floor is an outdoor area where grain is separated from its husks.
54 So they arrested Jesus and led him away to the chief priest’s house.
Peter Denies Jesus(A)
Peter followed at a distance.
55 Some men had lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard. As they sat together, Peter sat among them. 56 A female servant saw him as he sat facing the glow of the fire. She stared at him and said, “This man was with Jesus.”
57 But Peter denied it by saying, “I don’t know him, woman.”
58 A little later someone else saw Peter and said, “You are one of them.”
But Peter said, “Not me!”
59 About an hour later another person insisted, “It’s obvious that this man was with him. He’s a Galilean!”
60 But Peter said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Just then, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 Then the Lord turned and looked directly at Peter. Peter remembered what the Lord had said: “Before a rooster crows today, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” 62 Then Peter went outside and cried bitterly.
The Trial in Front of the Jewish Council(B)
63 The men who were guarding Jesus made fun of him as they beat him. 64 They blindfolded him and said to him, “Tell us who hit you.” 65 They also insulted him in many other ways.
66 In the morning the council of the people’s leaders, the chief priests and the experts in Moses’ Teachings, gathered together. They brought Jesus in front of their highest court and asked him, 67 “Tell us, are you the Messiah?”
Jesus said to them, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. 68 And if I ask you, you won’t answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be in the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne.”
70 Then all of them said, “So you’re the Son of God?”
Jesus answered them, “You’re right to say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We’ve heard him say it ourselves.”
Pilate Questions Jesus(C)
23 Then the entire assembly stood up and took him to Pilate.
2 They began to accuse Jesus by saying, “We found that he stirs up trouble among our people: He keeps them from paying taxes to the emperor, and he says that he is Christ, a king.”
3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Yes, I am,” Jesus answered.
4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I can’t find this man guilty of any crime.”
Pilate Sends Jesus to Herod
5 The priests and the crowd became more forceful. They said, “He stirs up the people throughout Judea with his teachings. He started in Galilee and has come here.”
6 When Pilate heard that, he asked if the man was from Galilee. 7 When Pilate found out that he was, he sent Jesus to Herod. Herod ruled Galilee and was in Jerusalem at that time.
8 Herod was very pleased to see Jesus. For a long time he had wanted to see him. He had heard about Jesus and hoped to see him perform some kind of miracle. 9 Herod asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus wouldn’t answer him. 10 Meanwhile, the chief priests and the experts in Moses’ Teachings stood there and shouted their accusations against Jesus.
11 Herod and his soldiers treated Jesus with contempt and made fun of him. They put a colorful robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. 12 So Herod and Pilate became friends that day. They had been enemies before this.
1 Come, let’s sing joyfully to the Lord.
Let’s shout happily to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let’s come into his presence with a song of thanksgiving.
Let’s shout happily to him with psalms.
3 The Lord is a great God and a great king above all gods.
4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth,
and the mountain peaks are his.
5 The sea is his.
He made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let’s worship and bow down.
Let’s kneel in front of the Lord, our maker,
7 because he is our God
and we are the people in his care,
the flock that he leads.
If only you would listen to him today!
8 “Do not be stubborn like my people were at Meribah,
like the time at Massah in the desert.
9 Your ancestors challenged me and tested me there,
although they had seen what I had done.
10 For 40 years I was disgusted with those people.
So I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts continue to stray.
They have not learned my ways.’
11 That is why I angrily took this solemn oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest!’”
1 Sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord! Praise his name!
Day after day announce that the Lord saves his people.
3 Tell people about his glory.
Tell all the nations about his miracles.
4 The Lord is great!
He should be highly praised.
He should be feared more than all other gods
5 because all the gods of the nations are idols.
The Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are in his presence.
Strength and beauty are in his holy place.
7 Give to the Lord, you families of the nations.
Give to the Lord glory and power.
8 Give to the Lord the glory he deserves.
Bring an offering, and come into his courtyards.
9 Worship the Lord in his holy splendor.
Tremble in his presence, all the earth!
10 Say to the nations, “The Lord rules as king!”
The earth stands firm; it cannot be moved.
He will judge people fairly.
11 Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad.
Let the sea and everything in it roar like thunder.
12 Let the fields and everything in them rejoice.
Then all the trees in the forest will sing joyfully
13 in the Lord’s presence because he is coming.
He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness
and its people with his truth.
5 A trustworthy witness does not lie,
but a dishonest witness breathes lies.
6 A mocker searches for wisdom without finding it,
but knowledge comes easily to a person who has understanding.