Judges 8:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 8:26, NIV: The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels' necks.

Judges 8:26, ESV: And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars that were around the necks of their camels.

Judges 8:26, KJV: And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks.

Judges 8:26, NASB: The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, apart from the crescent amulets, the ear pendants, and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and apart from the neck chains that were on their camels’ necks.

Judges 8:26, NLT: The weight of the gold earrings was forty-three pounds, not including the royal ornaments and pendants, the purple clothing worn by the kings of Midian, or the chains around the necks of their camels.

Judges 8:26, CSB: The weight of the gold earrings he requested was forty-three pounds of gold, in addition to the crescent ornaments and ear pendants, the purple garments on the kings of Midian, and the chains on the necks of their camels.

What does Judges 8:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The men of Israel asked Gideon to be their ruler. He has refused, insisting that the Lord should be their ruler (Judges 8:22–23). However, just as a king might do after a victory, Gideon has asked for gold earrings collected from the enemy as the spoils of war (Judges 8:24–25). It's a savvy request. The Midianites were part of a larger people group that wore such earrings. It likely wasn't a big sacrifice for each man to give a single captured earring to Gideon—especially since these were recovered, not drawn from the people's personal wealth.

Taken together, however, the tribute of earrings adds up to 1,700 shekels of gold. Historians believe a Hebrew shekel was between 2/5 and 2/3 of an ounce, or about 11.5 grams. 1,700 shekels would come to as much as 71 pounds, or 19.6 kilograms, of gold. This would be a considerable sum: enough to make a solid gold bar roughly the size of a liter or quart container.

In addition, Gideon had taken the possessions of Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian. These included the crescent ornaments from the necks of their camels. Those were probably in the form of a moon god. He would also have taken the kings' pendants, royal purple garments, and additional collars from their camels' necks. Even further would have been whatever goods and valuables were with the kings when they were captured.

Gideon has suddenly become quite a wealthy man. His use of this gold, however, will go badly for himself and his people.