Gideon Defeats the Midianites
1So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2The lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. 3Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain# Hebrew may leave Mount Gilead. The identity of Mount Gilead is uncertain in this context. It is perhaps used here as another name for Mount Gilboa. and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.
4But the lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” 5When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” 6Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.
7The lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” 8So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him.
The Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon. 9That night the lord said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! 10But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. 11Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”
So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp. 12The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count! 13Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”
14His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”
15When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the lord.# As in Greek version; Hebrew reads he bowed. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” 16He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it.
17Then he said to them, “Keep your eyes on me. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do. 18As soon as I and those with me blow the rams’ horns, blow your horns, too, all around the entire camp, and shout, ‘For the lord and for Gideon!’”
19It was just after midnight,# Hebrew at the beginning of the second watch. after the changing of the guard, when Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the Midianite camp. Suddenly, they blew the rams’ horns and broke their clay jars. 20Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for the lord and for Gideon!”
21Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. 22When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the lord caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.
23Then Gideon sent for the warriors of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, who joined in chasing the army of Midian. 24Gideon also sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down to attack the Midianites. Cut them off at the shallow crossings of the Jordan River at Beth-barah.”
So all the men of Ephraim did as they were told. 25They captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two Midianite commanders, killing Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. And they continued to chase the Midianites. Afterward the Israelites brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan River.