Judges 8:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 8:9, NIV: So he said to the men of Peniel, 'When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.'

Judges 8:9, ESV: And he said to the men of Penuel, “When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.”

Judges 8:9, KJV: And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.

Judges 8:9, NASB: So he said also to the men of Penuel, 'When I return safely, I will tear down this tower.'

Judges 8:9, NLT: So he said to the people of Peniel, 'After I return in victory, I will tear down this tower.'

Judges 8:9, CSB: He also told the men of Penuel, "When I return safely, I will tear down this tower! "

What does Judges 8:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The people of two Israelite towns—Succoth and Penuel—have refused to give bread to Gideon's exhausted 300-man fighting force. Gideon's troops need food so they can continue to pursue escaping Midianites. The retreating enemy is led by two kings known as Zebah and Zalmunna (Judges 8:4–6, 8). In doing so, both towns showed more fear of the Midianites than loyalty to their fellow Israelites.

Gideon promised the people of Succoth that he would return once God gave the enemy kings into his hands; he will return to demonstrate that they should have feared him (Judges 8:7). He declared his intention to flog the people of Succoth with thorny briers and wilderness plants.

Here, he tells the men of Penuel that he will break down their tower once he returns victorious. Gideon's implication is that Israel will be at peace as soon as Midian is defeated—but not the people of Penuel. They will be left unguarded and unprotected by their defensive tower. During this era, towers were used to allow people both to see an enemy approaching and to hold a higher position in a conflict.

Gideon seems to be changed since his timid initial responses to God (Judges 6:15, 17, 36–40). Now he promises harsh retribution on those who do not stand with him. Commentators debate whether he is acting out of personal anger or continuing to represent the Lord through these displays of strict discipline.