God Selects Gideon’s Army
1Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and everyone who was with him, got up early and camped beside the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them, below the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, # Lit them or else Israel might brag: # Lit brag against Me ‘I did it myself.’ 3Now announce in the presence of the people: ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” # Gn 31:21,23,25; Dt 3:12 So 22,000 of the people turned back, but 10,000 remained.
4Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many people. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say to you, ‘This one can go with you,’ he can go. But if I say about anyone, ‘This one cannot go with you,’ he cannot go.” 5So he brought the people down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon, “Separate everyone who laps water with his tongue like a dog. Do the same with everyone who kneels to drink.” 6The number of those who lapped with their hands to their mouths was 300 men, and all the rest of the people knelt to drink water. 7The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you # Dt 20:4; Jr 42:11; Ezk 36:29; 37:23; Zch 8:13 with the 300 men who lapped and hand the Midianites over to you. But everyone else is to go home.” 8So Gideon sent all the Israelites to their tents but kept the 300, who took # Lit took in their hands the people’s provisions and their trumpets. The camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
Gideon Spies on the Midianite Camp
9That night the Lord said to him, “Get up and go into the camp, for I have given it into your hand. # Dt 2:30; Jdg 4:7; 20:28; 2Sm 5:19; 1Kg 20:13 10But if you are afraid to go to the camp, go with Purah your servant. 11Listen to what they say, and then you will be strengthened to go to the camp.” So he went with Purah his servant to the outpost of the troops # Lit of those who were arranged in companies of 50 who were in the camp.
12Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the Qedemites had settled down in the valley like a swarm of locusts, and their camels were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore. 13When Gideon arrived, there was a man telling his friend about a dream. He said, “Listen, I had a dream: # Gn 37:5-6,8-10; 40:5,8-9,16; 41; 42:9; Nm 12:6; Dn 1:17 a loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp, struck a tent, and it fell. The loaf turned the tent upside down so that it collapsed.”
14His friend answered: “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him.”
Gideon Attacks the Midianites
15When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to Israel’s camp and said, “Get up, for the Lord has handed the Midianite camp over to you.” 16Then he divided the 300 men into three companies and gave each of the men a trumpet in one hand and an empty pitcher with a torch inside it in the other.
17“Watch me,” he said, # Lit said to them “and do the same. When I come to the outpost of the camp, do as I do. 18When I and everyone with me blow our trumpets, you are also to blow your trumpets all around the camp. Then you will say, ‘For Yahweh and for Gideon! ’ ”
19Gideon and the 100 men who were with him went to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch after the sentries had been stationed. They blew their trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. 20The three companies blew their trumpets and shattered their pitchers. They held their torches in their left hands, their trumpets # Lit trumpets to blow in their right hands, and shouted, “A sword for Yahweh and for Gideon! ” 21Each Israelite took his position around the camp, and the entire Midianite army fled, and cried out as they ran. 22When Gideon’s men blew their 300 trumpets, the Lord set the swords of each man in the army against each other. # 1Sm 14:20 They fled to Beth-shittah in the direction of Zererah as far as the border of Abel-meholah # 1Kg 4:12; 19:16 near Tabbath. 23Then the men of Israel were called from Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, and they pursued the Midianites.
The Men of Ephraim Join the Battle
24Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim with this message: “Come down to intercept the Midianites and take control of the watercourses ahead of them as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim # Jdg 8:3; Ps 83:11; Is 10:26 were called out, and they took control of the watercourses as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25They captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian; they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb, while they were pursuing the Midianites. They brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan.