Judges 8:33 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 8:33, NIV: No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god

Judges 8:33, ESV: As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.

Judges 8:33, KJV: And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god.

Judges 8:33, NASB: Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again committed infidelity with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god.

Judges 8:33, NLT: As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping the images of Baal, making Baal-berith their god.

Judges 8:33, CSB: When Gideon died, the Israelites turned and prostituted themselves by worshiping the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.

What does Judges 8:33 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After forty years of peace in Israel, Gideon has died (Judges 8:32). As is the case with many of the judges, the loss of Israel's latest deliverer frees the people to immediately return to worshiping the false gods of the land of Canaan (Judges 2:11–19). Although Gideon led the people to worship the golden ephod he had created (Judges 8:27), he must also have restrained the people from returning to worship of the gods of the land. These false gods were referred to using the term baal, which broadly refers to a "lord."

Here, again, the writer uses the Old Testament metaphor of infidelity when speaking of idolatry. The Hebrew term zanah refers to fornication and prostitution. The imagery is of something debased, vile, shameful, and wicked. The disgust that God applies to idolatry is reflected in the pungent English word "whoring." Israel once again became unfaithful to their God, parallel to someone being sexually unfaithful to a spouse. Even more embarrassing, idolatry made the people comparable to a prostitute: serving other gods in search of personal profit.

This time, the focus of Israel's worship is a god called Baal-berith, which may mean "Master of the covenant." This betrayal of the Lord God might have been especially outrageous: the text suggests Israel made that false god their only god. They literally replaced the Lord with this version of Baal (Exodus 20:1–6). The worship of Baal-berith may have been centered in the Canaanite town of Shechem (Judges 8:30–31). It is there where much of the following chapter will take place.