Judges 8:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 8:1, NIV: Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, 'Why have you treated us like this? Why didn't you call us when you went to fight Midian?' And they challenged him vigorously.

Judges 8:1, ESV: Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they accused him fiercely.

Judges 8:1, KJV: And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.

Judges 8:1, NASB: Then the men of Ephraim said to Gideon, 'What is this thing that you have done to us, not calling upon us when you went to fight against Midian?' And they quarreled with him vehemently.

Judges 8:1, NLT: Then the people of Ephraim asked Gideon, 'Why have you treated us this way? Why didn't you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?' And they argued heatedly with Gideon.

Judges 8:1, CSB: The men of Ephraim said to him, "Why have you done this to us, not calling us when you went to fight against the Midianites? " And they argued with him violently.

What does Judges 8:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Empowered by God, Gideon (Judges 6:11) and the Israelites (Judges 7:15) routed the Midianites occupying the land (Judges 6:1–6). They had then chased them down, intent on wiping them out before they escaped across the Jordan River to the east and disappeared into the wilderness.

Unable to catch the fleeing Midianites from behind, Gideon sent messengers. They were to recruit people of Ephraim to cut off the fleeing enemy at the fords of the Jordan. The Ephraimites were successful—though some Midianites continued to escape—and brought the heads of two of the princes of Midian to Gideon (Judges 7:23–25).

Instead of celebrating their part in this great victory with Gideon, the men of Ephraim are upset. They immediately confront Gideon about not calling them to participate in the initial battle against Midian. They know that men of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh were summoned right away. The Ephraimites feel insulted by Gideon's snub.

Commentators suggest the Ephraimites may have believed Gideon was trying to keep the spoils of the battle away from them. Or, that they were being excluded from any lands that might be awarded after the battle. It's also possible they simply wanted to be part of any fight to vanquish the enemy that had dominated Israel for so long.