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Judges 8:22-27

Gideon Rejects a Crown but Makes an Ephod

8:22 The men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us – you, your son, and your grandson. For you have delivered us from Midian’s power.” 1  8:23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” 8:24 Gideon continued, 2  “I would like to make one request. Each of you give me an earring from the plunder you have taken.” 3  (The Midianites 4  had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites.) 8:25 They said, “We are happy to give you earrings.” 5  So they 6  spread out a garment, and each one threw an earring from his plunder onto it. 8:26 The total weight of the gold earrings he requested came to seventeen hundred gold shekels. 7  This was in addition to the crescent-shaped ornaments, jewelry, 8  purple clothing worn by the Midianite kings, and the necklaces on the camels. 9  8:27 Gideon used all this to make 10  an ephod, 11  which he put in his hometown of Ophrah. All the Israelites 12  prostituted themselves to it by worshiping it 13  there. It became a snare to Gideon and his family.

1 tn Heb “hand.”

2 tn Heb “said to them.”

3 tn Heb “Give to me, each one, an earring from his plunder.”

4 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Midianites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “We will indeed give.”

6 tc In the LXX the subject of this verb is singular, referring to Gideon rather than to the Israelites.

7 sn Seventeen hundred gold shekels would be about 42.7 pounds (19.4 kilograms) of gold.

8 tn Or “pendants.”

9 tn Heb “the ornaments which were on the necks of their camels.”

10 tn Heb “made it into.”

11 sn In Exod 28:4-6 and several other texts an ephod is described as a priestly or cultic garment. In some cases an ephod is used to obtain a divine oracle (1 Sam 23:9; 30:7). Here the ephod is made of gold and is described as being quite heavy (70-75 lbs?). Some identify it as an idol, but it was more likely a cultic object fashioned in the form of a garment which was used for oracular purposes. For discussion of the ephod in the OT, see C. F. Burney, Judges, 236-43, and R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 349-52.

12 tn Heb “Israel” (a collective singular).

13 tn The words “by worshiping it” are supplied in the translation for clarity.

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