Judges 8:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 8:3, NIV: God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?' At this, their resentment against him subsided.

Judges 8:3, ESV: God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger against him subsided when he said this.

Judges 8:3, KJV: God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.

Judges 8:3, NASB: God has handed over to you the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?' Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.

Judges 8:3, NLT: God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army. What have I accomplished compared to that?' When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon's answer, their anger subsided.

Judges 8:3, CSB: God handed over to you Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian. What was I able to do compared to you? " When he said this, their anger against him subsided.

What does Judges 8:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Gideon is working to appease the men of Ephraim. They have confronted him for not calling them to participate in the initial attack against the Midianites (Judges 7:23–25). Instead of explaining how God had propelled him to take the lead in the attack, and only allowing 300 fighters, Gideon instead praised and flattered the Ephraimites (Judges 8:1–2).

He continues to do so here, describing how God allowed them to capture and kill the two escaping princes of Midian: Oreb and Zeeb. Gideon avoids describing his own special relationship with the Lord. Nor does he expound on the Lord's promise to give Midian into Gideon's hands. Instead, he describes God's favor as being with Ephraim.

Finally, Gideon uses a question to imply the men of Ephraim have done something much more impressive than he has. He diminishes himself and builds them up to cool their anger. It works—even if some would characterize Gideon's words as patronizing or pure flattery. Either way, the Ephraimites stop being angry with Gideon.

Gideon will not always show the same diplomatic humility. The men of Ephraim responded to God's call—their angst was over not being called on earlier. Gideon's reaction will be much more aggressive when others refuse to help catch the remaining Midianites.