1Early in the morning Jerub-Baal (also called Gideon) and all his men set up
their camp at the spring of Harod. The Midianites were camped north of them in
the valley at the bottom of the hill called Moreh. 2Then the LORD said to
Gideon, “You have too many men to defeat the Midianites. I don’t want the
Israelites to brag that they saved themselves. 3So now, announce to the people,
‘Anyone who is afraid may leave Mount Gilead and go back home.’” So twenty-
two thousand men returned home, but ten thousand remained.
4Then the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take the
men down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say, ‘This man will
go with you, he will go. But if I say, ‘That one will not go with you,’ he will not
5So Gideon led the men down to the water. There the LORD said to him,
“Separate them into those who drink water by lapping it up like a dog and those
who bend down to drink.” 6There were three hundred men who used their hands
to bring water to their mouths, lapping it as a dog does. All the rest got down on
their knees to drink.
7Then the LORD said to Gideon, “Using the three hundred men who lapped
the water, I will save you and hand Midian over to you. Let all the others go
home.” 8So Gideon sent the rest of Israel to their homes. But he kept three
hundred men and took the jars and the trumpets of those who left.
Now the camp of Midian was in the valley below Gideon. 9That night the
LORD said to Gideon, “Get up. Go down and attack the camp of the Midianites,
because I will give them to you. 10But if you are afraid to go down, take your
servant Purah with you. 11When you come to the camp of Midian, you will hear
what they are saying. Then you will not be afraid to attack the camp.”
Gideon Is Encouraged
So Gideon and his servant Purah went down to the edge of the enemy camp.
12The Midianites, the Amalekites, and all the peoples from the east were camped
in that valley. There were so many of them they seemed like locusts. Their
camels could not be counted because they were as many as the grains of sand on
13When Gideon came to the enemy camp, he heard a man telling his friend
about a dream. He was saying, “I dreamed that a loaf of barley bread rolled into
the camp of Midian. It hit the tent so hard that the tent turned over and fell flat!”
14The man’s friend said, “Your dream is about the sword of Gideon son of
Joash, a man of Israel. God will hand Midian and the whole army over to him!”
15When Gideon heard about the dream and what it meant, he worshiped God.
Then Gideon went back to the camp of Israel and called out to them, “Get up!
The LORD has handed the army of Midian over to you!” 16Gideon divided the
three hundred men into three groups. He gave each man a trumpet and an empty
jar with a burning torch inside.
17Gideon told the men, “Watch me and do what I do. When I get to the edge
of the camp, do what I do. 18Surround the enemy camp. When I and everyone
with me blow our trumpets, you blow your trumpets, too. Then shout, ‘For the
LORD and for Gideon!’”
Midian Is Defeated
19So Gideon and the one hundred men with him came to the edge of the
enemy camp just after they had changed guards. It was during the middle watch
of the night. Then Gideon and his men blew their trumpets and smashed their
jars. 20All three groups of Gideon’s men blew their trumpets and smashed their
jars. They held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right
hands. Then they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21Each of
Gideon’s men stayed in his place around the camp, but the Midianites began
shouting and running to escape.
22When Gideon’s three hundred men blew their trumpets, the LORD made all
the Midianites fight each other with their swords! The enemy army ran away to
the city of Beth Shittah toward Zererah. They ran as far as the border of Abel
Meholah, near the city of Tabbath. 23Then men of Israel from Naphtali, Asher,
and all of Manasseh were called out to chase the Midianites. 24Gideon sent
messengers through all the mountains of Ephraim, saying, “Come down and
attack the Midianites. Take control of the Jordan River as far as Beth Barah
before the Midianites can get to it.”
So they called out all the men of Ephraim, who took control of the Jordan
River as far as Beth Barah. 25The men of Ephraim captured two princes of
Midian named Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at
the winepress of Zeeb, and they continued chasing the Midianites. They brought
the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was east of the Jordan River.
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
Title: Disciples Study Bible
Christian Ethics, War and Peace—Gideon’s victory stirs every generation of
believers to realize that their ultimate strength for life comes from God. A people
using their resources to their limits and being steadfast in the application of them
can find victory in all of life’s fights. Courage and perseverance mixed with faith
in God led to the demise of the Midianites. The victory was ultimately God’s
doing in that neither Gideon nor his men ever had to strike a blow.
Revelation, Dreams—Those who follow God seek particular signs of His
presence and action in their lives. Gideon found assurance of that presence by
overhearing the dream of an enemy soldier. Dreams are one of God’s favorite
means to speak to His people (Ge 20:3, 6; 31:10; 37:6; 41:11; 42:9; Nu 12:6; 1
Sa 28:6). Here we see He can speak to His people through the dream of an
unbeliever. Hearing the dream gave Gideon and his army courage to carry out
Prayer, Worship—”Worshiped” (Hebrew ) here implies
that Gideon bowed in humility and reverence. Learning God’s presence and will
leads us to prayer and worship.
God, Power—God made His sovereign power very clear here. By His
instructions to Gideon to pare down his followers to what may have been a
ridiculous little handful of people, God emphasized to Gideon, and to all Israel,
that it is not human strength or human ingenuity that would give them victory.
Only the power of God’s hand could bring them victory. Compare 1 Sa 17:4-8,
38-39; Zec 4:6; Jn 6:1-13. God’s power often takes the seemingly insignificant resources at hand to perform His mighty works.