7 Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon—his other name) and his army got an early start and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them, down in the valley beside the hill of Moreh.
2 The Lord then said to Gideon, “There are too many of you! I can’t let all of you fight the Midianites, for then the people of Israel will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength! 3 Send home any of your men who are timid and frightened.”
So twenty-two thousand of them left, and only ten thousand remained who were willing to fight.
4 But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring and I’ll show you which ones shall go with you and which ones shall not.”
5-6 So Gideon assembled them at the water. There the Lord told him, “Divide them into two groups decided by the way they drink. In Group 1 will be all the men who cup the water in their hands to get it to their mouths and lap it like dogs. In Group 2 will be those who kneel, with their mouths in the stream.”
Only three hundred of the men drank from their hands; all the others drank with their mouths to the stream.
7 “I’ll conquer the Midianites with these three hundred!” the Lord told Gideon. “Send all the others home!”
8-9 So after Gideon had collected all the clay jars and trumpets they had among them, he sent them home, leaving only three hundred men with him.
During the night, with the Midianites camped in the valley just below, the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up! Take your troops and attack the Midianites, for I will cause you to defeat them! 10 But if you are afraid, first go down to the camp alone—take along your servant Purah if you like— 11 and listen to what they are saying down there! You will be greatly encouraged and be eager to attack!”
So he took Purah and crept down through the darkness to the outposts of the enemy camp. 12-13 The vast armies of Midian, Amalek, and the other nations of the Mideast were crowded across the valley like locusts—yes, like the sand upon the seashore—and there were too many camels even to count! Gideon crept up to one of the tents just as a man inside had wakened from a nightmare and was telling his tent-mate about it.
“I had this strange dream,” he was saying, “and there was this huge loaf of barley bread that came tumbling down into our camp. It hit our tent and knocked it flat!”
14 The other soldier replied, “Your dream can mean only one thing! Gideon, the son of Joash, the Israeli, is going to come and massacre all the allied forces of Midian!”
15 When Gideon heard the dream and the interpretation, all he could do was just stand there worshiping God! Then he returned to his men and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord is going to use you to conquer all the vast armies of Midian!”
16 He divided the three hundred men into three groups and gave each man a trumpet and a clay jar with a torch in it. 17 Then he explained his plan. “When we arrive at the outer guardposts of the camp,” he told them, “do just as I do. 18 As soon as I and the men in my group blow our trumpets, you blow yours on all sides of the camp and shout, ‘We fight for God and for Gideon!’”
19-20 It was just after midnight and the change of guards when Gideon and the hundred men with him crept to the outer edge of the camp of Midian.
Suddenly they blew their trumpets and broke their clay jars so that their torches blazed into the night. Then the other two hundred of his men did the same, blowing the trumpets in their right hands, and holding the flaming torches in their left hands, all shouting, “For the Lord and for Gideon!”[a]
21 Then they just stood and watched as the whole vast enemy army began rushing around in a panic, shouting and running away. 22 For in the confusion the Lord caused the enemy troops to begin fighting and killing each other from one end of the camp to the other, and they fled into the night to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah, and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.
23 Then Gideon sent for the troops of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh and told them to come and chase and destroy the fleeing army of Midian. 24 Gideon also sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim summoning troops who seized the fords of the Jordan River at Beth-barah, thus preventing the Midianites from escaping by going across. 25 Oreb and Zeeb, the two generals of Midian, were captured. Oreb was killed at the rock now known by his name, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb, as it is now called; and the Israelis took the heads of Oreb and Zeeb across the Jordan to Gideon.
- Judges 7:19 “For the Lord and for Gideon!” literally, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon.”