And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem (Genesis 35:4).


And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:2-4).


And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey. And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks. And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house (Judges 8:24-27).

In all three cases, the collecting of earrings is associated with idolatry. Jacob collects earrings as part of an attempt to get rid of the worship of “strange gods,” but Aaron and Gideon used the earrings to create idols! Aaron made his famous golden calf, and Gideon made an ephod — that is, a replica of the priestly garment originally worn by Aaron.


There are other links between Jacob and Gideon.

Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30).

Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.” And the Lord said unto him, “Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die” (Judges 6:22-23).

Jacob was given the new name Israel — meaning “he who contends with El.”

Gideon was given the new name Jerubbaal — meaning “he who contends with Baal.”

In the English-speaking world, the two names most commonly associated with Bibles are James (a form of Jacob) and Gideon.