Judges 8:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 8:7, NIV: Then Gideon replied, 'Just for that, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.'

Judges 8:7, ESV: So Gideon said, “Well then, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.”

Judges 8:7, KJV: And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

Judges 8:7, NASB: So Gideon said, 'For this answer, when the LORD has handed over to me Zebah and Zalmunna, I will thrash your bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.'

Judges 8:7, NLT: So Gideon said, 'After the LORD gives me victory over Zebah and Zalmunna, I will return and tear your flesh with the thorns and briers from the wilderness.'

Judges 8:7, CSB: Gideon replied, "Very well, when the Lord has handed Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, I will tear your flesh with thorns and briers from the wilderness! "

What does Judges 8:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Gideon's 300 fighting men need food. They've been chasing down the remnant of the Midianite army led by two kings called Zebah and Zalmunna, but they're exhausted. If they're going to keep going, they need to eat (Judges 8:4–6).

In a town called Succoth, near the Jordan river, Gideon has asked fellow Israelites for food. Surprisingly, the people of Succoth flatly refused to help Gideon's men. Their excuse is that Gideon has not yet caught and killed the Midianite kings. The implication is fear: the people are afraid of what the Midianites might do to them if Gideon loses.

The cold rejection, at a crucial moment, makes Gideon angry. His fellow countrymen are unwilling to help defeat their oppressors (Judges 6:1–5). Rather than retaliate immediately, or take supplies by force, he promises to hold Succoth accountable for their refusal to help. Once the Lord has given him the capture of Zebah and Zalmunna, Gideon will return to their town and bring pain. His description suggests a whip or switch made from the sharp, piercing thorns growing wild on the plants in the wilderness. He fully intends to flog the people of Succoth for their refusal to help.

Commentators debate whether this part of Gideon's campaign was driven by God's will. The text neither affirms nor denies that God's Spirit was still with Gideon. Nor does it indicate if his decision to punish these people was from God. Gideon is confident that Yahweh will give him the victory, but Yahweh is not heard from. A similar scene will shortly repeat in the next town.