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Judges 8:25

ESV And they answered, "We will willingly give them." And they spread a cloak, and every man threw in it the earrings of his spoil.
NIV They answered, "We’ll be glad to give them." So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it.
NASB And they said, 'We will certainly give them to you.' So they spread out a garment, and every one of them tossed an earring there from his plunder.
CSB They said, "We agree to give them." So they spread out a cloak, and everyone threw an earring from his plunder on it.
NLT Gladly!' they replied. They spread out a cloak, and each one threw in a gold earring he had gathered from the plunder.
KJV And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey.
NKJV So they answered, “We will gladly give them.” And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder.

What does Judges 8:25 mean?

Gideon sensibly turned down his countrymen's request that he become their ruler (Judges 8:22–23). Instead, he insisted the Lord would rule them (Joshua 24:15–18). However, there is no indication that Gideon reminded the people of God's role in the victory (Judges 7:2). Instead, he asked those who had battled against the Midianites to give him earrings, as a tribute payment for his leadership. This is the kind of thing expected from a ruler. Gideon seems to be giving the people mixed messages about whether he is assuming command over the nation.

One of the benefits of war in many eras, including this one, was collecting "spoils" from the enemy. This is catch-all term includes things captured or recovered by individual soldiers through battle. The Midianites may have been especially well outfitted, meaning that the Israelites may have collected small fortunes in the aftermath of the battles. They don't seem to hesitate even for a moment to surrender enemy earrings to Gideon. Each man pays this tribute, of sorts, by tossing the earrings he has collected onto a pile on top of a cloak spread out on the ground. This shows their respect and loyalty towards Gideon.
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