Eventually Midianite and Amalekite bands created strongholds in the mountains from which they would raid Hebrew cities and towns, stealing crops and livestock, burning fields and houses. This went on for years, crippling Israel with hunger and loss. Around this time a new prophet arose to remind everyone that all this misery was really their own fault for straying from the God that led them out of Egypt, and if they wanted relief they better start praying and obeying.
So God heard the plaints and sent an angel down who went and sat near where a young man named Gideon was threshing grain in a wine press to hide it from the raiders. After awhile, the angel was all, hey there, big guy, God is with you. Gideon was all, what God? If there’s a God why has It forsaken us to the Midianites? Where are Its miracles? Then the angel was all, why don’t you do something about it, tough guy? Why don’t you save Israel? Gideon was all, what?! What can I do? I’m a poor kid from the poorest clan in Manasseh. The angel was all, with God, you can do anything. Gideon was all, if you’re from God, prove it. Stay right here while I go get you some food and we’ll talk some more.
So Gideon cooked up a young goat and some bread and brought it out to the angel. The angel told him to set it on a rock, then touched it with his staff and–poof–the food and the angel disappeared in a flash of fire.
Gideon was all, oh fuck! I’ve just seen an angel! Am I going to die? But then God started whispering to Gideon that what Gideon needed to do was to tear down his father’s altar to Baal and to build a new altar to God on the same spot and then burn two of this father’s bulls on it using the wood from the Asherah tree that also needed to go.
So that night, Gideon took some guys and did all God commanded. Next morning, it was quickly detected that Gideon was the one responsible for the desecration and destruction. The townspeople went to Joash, Gideon’s father, and demanded that he hand over his son to face justice. But Joash took his son’s side and told them that if Baal was real, then It would punish Gideon Itself, but that they’d be dead men if they attempted to seize his son.
Since Baal didn’t strike down Gideon, the townspeople stopped believing in It and started calling Gideon Jerubaal–or Baal Fighter.
Some time later, when the Midianite and Amalekite forces amassed to raid the Hebrew harvest, Gideon decided it was enough and not only rallied his own townsfolk behind him, but convinced the rest of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali to join him.
Before leading the forces into battle, Gideon asked God for another sign to reassure him he would win. He laid a fleece on the floor and told God that if it was God’s will that he fight and win, then the next morning, the fleece would be wet but everything around it dry. And lo, the next day, the fleece was soaking, but the floor dry. But Gideon was all, that’s great God, but could you do it again, so I can be sure? So the miracle was repeated again the next day.