Gideon Defeats Midian
1 Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the troops with him got up early and camped above En Harod. Midian’s camp was north of him at the hill of Moreh in the valley.
2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men with you for me to hand Midian over to you. Israel might brag and say, ‘We saved ourselves.’ 3 Announce to the troops, ‘Whoever is scared or frightened should leave Mount Gilead and go back home.’” So 22,000 men went back home, and 10,000 were left.
4 The Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say to you, ‘This one will go with you,’ he must go with you. And if I say to you, ‘This one won’t go with you,’ he must not go.”
5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. The Lord said to him, “Separate those who lap water with their tongues like dogs from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred men lapped water with their hands to their mouths. All the rest of the men knelt down to drink water. 7 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped water I will save you and hand Midian over to you. All the other men should go home.” 8 So Gideon sent the other men of Israel home, but the 300 men who stayed kept all the supplies and rams’ horns.
The camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
9 That night the Lord said to Gideon, “Attack! Go into the camp! I will hand it over to you. 10 But if you’re afraid to go, take your servant Purah to the camp with you. 11 Listen to what people are saying. After that, you will have the courage to go into the camp and attack it.”
So Gideon and his servant Purah went to the edge of the camp. 12 Midian, Amalek, and all of Kedem were spread out in the valley like a swarm of locusts. There were so many camels that they could not be counted. They were as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore.
13 When Gideon got there, he heard a man telling his friend a dream. The man said, “I had a strange dream. There was a loaf of barley bread rolling around in the camp of Midian. When it got to the command post, the loaf of bread hit that tent so hard that the tent collapsed, turned upside down, and fell flat.”
14 His friend replied, “That can only be the sword of Gideon, son of Joash, from Israel. God is going to hand Midian and the whole camp over to him.”
15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped the Lord. Then he went back to the camp of Israel and said, “Attack! The Lord will hand Midian’s camp over to you.”
16 Gideon divided the 300 men into three companies. He gave them each rams’ horns and jars with torches inside. 17 He said to them, “Watch me, and do what I do. When I come to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and those with me blow our rams’ horns, then the rest of you around the camp do the same and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’ ”
19 Gideon and his 100 men came to the edge of the camp. It was the beginning of the midnight watch just at the change of the guards. They blew their rams’ horns and smashed the jars they were holding in their hands. 20 The three companies also blew their rams’ horns and broke their jars. They held the torches in their left hands and the rams’ horns in their right hands so that they could blow them. They shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 While each man kept his position around the camp, everyone in the Midianite camp began to run away, screaming as they fled. 22 The 300 men kept on blowing their rams’ horns, and the Lord caused the whole camp of Midian to fight among themselves. They fled as far as Beth Shittah, toward Zererah, and as far as the bank of the stream at Abel Meholah near Tabbath.
23 The men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh to help pursue the troops of Midian. 24 Gideon also sent messengers to the whole mountain region of Ephraim with this message, “Go into battle against Midian. Capture the watering holes as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan River.” All the men of Ephraim were also summoned to help. They captured the watering holes as far as Beth Barah and the Jordan River. 25 They also captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two Midianite commanders. They killed Oreb at the Rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the Winepress of Zeeb and kept on pursuing Midian. Then they brought the severed heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side of the Jordan River.