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Zebah (Hebrew:זֶ֫בַח Zeḇaḥ, "sacrifice") and Zalmunna (Hebrew:צַלְמֻנָּע Ṣalmunnā‘, "shade denied") were two Midianite kings who led the vast host of Midian to invade the land of Israel.


Gideon's Oath[]

Gideon and his 300 valiant men, after a successful victory against the Midianites, were greeted by the anger of the Ephraimites, asking him why they were not called out to in war against Midian. They were indignant and let him know it[1]. Gideon, in his righteousness replies with a just statement, "What have I done compared to you? Why, even the gleanings of Ephraim are superior to the vintage of Abiezer. God gave you Midian's commanders, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I done compared with you?". When they heard these rightful words it cooled their temper[2].

After the discussion, Gideon and his men went over to Jordan and went over, he and his ment exhausted, remained pursuing and determined[3]. He, desperate for food for energy, asked the men of Succoth for loaves of bread, ready to smite the two kings of Midian. The officials of Succoth, unpleasantly replied with rejection; their ground for denying, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands that we should give bread to your army?”[4].

Gideon, enraged, made an oath:

"Because of this, when the Lord gives Zebah and Zalmunna into my hands, I will tear your bodies with desert thorns and briers.[5]"

Gideon, moved on to the men of Peniel with the same manner of speech, but to no avail, he also pronounced an oath:

"When I return safely, I will tear down this tower.[6]"

The Two Kings Captured[]

The two kings and the host of Midian were in Karkor (Peniel), there were 15,000 survivors of the Kedemite army (120,000 men had fallen)[7]. Gideon went up on the route of the tent dwellers east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the camp while the army was off guard. Zebah and Zalmunna fled from Gideon, unfortunately they were captured; the entire army was afraid[8].

After Gideon fulfilled his oath to the men of Succoth and of Peniel, he questions them about what kind of men they slaughtered in Tabor. They said that they were peculiar to him, each one looked like a royal heir[9].

Grieved of the deaths of the men he replied, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if you had allowed them to live, I would not kill you[10].”


Gideon wanted his firstborn son, Jether, to experience the way of killing Israel's enemies, all men that experienced war had to go through. Since he was just a boy, he did not draw his sword against the two kings.

Zebah and Zalmunna, encourages Gideon to kill them instead for "a man is judges by his own strength". After Gideon smote them he took the crescent-shaped ornaments that were on the necks of their camels[11].


  1. Judges 8:1 (Link)
  2. Judges 8:2-3 (Link)
  3. Judges 8:4 (Link)
  4. Judges 8:5-6 (Link)
  5. Judges 8:7 (Link)
  6. Judges 8:8-9 (Link)
  7. Judges 8:10 (Link)
  8. Judges 8:11-12 (Link)
  9. Judges 8:18 (Link)
  10. Judges 8:19 (Link)
  11. Judges 8:20-21 (Link)