Gideon’s 300 Chosen Men
2 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are too many people with you for Me to hand over Midian to them, otherwise Israel will boast [about themselves] against Me, saying, ‘My own [a]power has rescued me.’ 3 So now, proclaim in the hearing of the people, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men returned [home], but ten thousand remained.
4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many people; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels down to drink.” 6 Now the number of those who lapped [the water], putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men, but all the rest of the people kneeled down to drink water. 7 And the Lord told Gideon, “With the three hundred men who lapped I will rescue you, and will hand over the Midianites to you. Let all the other people go, each man to his home.” 8 So the three hundred men took people’s provisions [for the journey] and their trumpets [made of rams’ horns] in their hands. And Gideon sent [away] all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but kept the three hundred men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
9 Now on that same night the Lord said to Gideon, “Arise, go down against their camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down [by yourself], go with Purah your servant down to the camp, 11 and you will hear what they say; and afterward [b]you will have the courage to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the [c]outposts of the army that was in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying [camped] in the valley, as countless as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 13 When Gideon arrived, [d]there was a man telling a dream to his friend. And he said, “Listen carefully, I had a dream: there was a loaf of [e]barley bread tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” 14 And his friend replied, “This [dream] is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. God has given Midian and the entire camp into his hand.”
15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down in worship. Then he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hand.” 16 He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. 17 And he said to them, “Look at me, then do likewise. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet (ram’s horn), then all around the camp you also blow the trumpets and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”
Confusion of the Enemy
19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the [f]middle watch, when the guards had just been changed, and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 When three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow, and they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Then each stood in his place around the camp; and the entire [Midianite] army ran, crying out as they fled. 22 When Gideon’s men blew the three hundred trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one [Midianite] against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23 The men of Israel were summoned together from [the tribes of] Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.
24 Then Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of [the tribe of] Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and take [control of] the waters before them [thereby cutting off the Midianites], as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan [River].” So all the men of Ephraim were assembled together and they took control of the waters, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 Then the men of Ephraim took the two leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb, and pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan.
- Judges 7:2 Lit hand.
- Judges 7:11 Lit your hands will be strengthened.
- Judges 7:11 Lit end of the battle lines.
- Judges 7:13 Lit behold.
- Judges 7:13 Barley was the cheapest grain, and in the dream it probably represented the fact that Gideon’s force was small and unimpressive.
- Judges 7:19 At this time of night (10 p.m.) most of the men in the camp would be sleeping.