1713.) Judges 7

“Gideon Attacking” — Marie Odile de LaForcade, 1991.

Judges 7 (New International Version)

Gideon Defeats the Midianites

1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, 3 announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

4 But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.”

6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.”

Now the Israelite army was less than 1% of its original size and the proportion was 400 Midianite soldiers to each Israelite soldier. Gideon could only trust in God because there was nothing else to trust!

8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

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Music:

What must Gideon be thinking??!! From 32,000 men, to 10,000 men, to 300 men — how on earth can he go up against the Midianites, who lie in the valley “thick as locusts,” we will soon read. Life with God! What an adventure! What are you up against? “Glory, honor, power, and strength belong to the Lord,” and through the Lord, to you.

HERE  is “The Battle Belongs to the Lord,” sung by the Maranatha Singers.

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Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 9 During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

Only the very poor ate barley bread. The vision meant that the camp of the Midianites would be knocked over by a humble nobody.

14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

How many Hebrew soldiers does it take to defeat a superior army of Midianites and Amalekites?

300. One to throw the barley loaf and 299 to watch it roll into camp!

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.

17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ ”

“The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon” — by Sir Stanley Spencer, 1921 (Tate Collection, London)

19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

The Midianite soldiers awoke to an explosion of noise, light, and movement coming down on them from all directions. No wonder they thought they were being attacked by an army even bigger than they were.

22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.”

So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they took the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.

. . . and Gideon was so thrilled with the victory that he went up and down the whole land, putting Bibles in every hotel room!

The Gideons International was founded in Wisconsin in 1899. Since most of the early members were traveling men, they decided to furnish a Bible in every hotel room of the nation. Now, The Gideons have members in more than 180 countries around the globe, and print Scriptures in more than 80 languages. More than 1.3 billion Bibles and New Testaments have been placed by The Gideons so far, in hotels and motels, schools and universities, medical offices and hospitals, convalescent homes and domestic violence shelters, police and fire stations, jails and prisons . . .

My parents were long-time members of The Gideons. I remember them sharing stories at the dinner table of people who had encountered a loving, forgiving God in the pages of a Gideon Bible, and had their lives changed for all eternity. These stories were fascinating to me! What a great God we serve, who cares about each and every one of us, even (or especially) in our darkest moments!

If you would like to hear a couple stories of lives wonderfully changed by the fact that someone placed a Bible in a public place, or handed out a Bible or New Testament and asked God to put it into the right hands — click HERE.

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
LaForcade.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/7-landron_gedeon_a_l_assaut.jpg
Reggie, the RV dog, lapping water.    http://www.barksentry.com/blog/uploaded_images/ReggieLappingWater_092649-733428.jpg
round loaf of barley bread.    http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/wp-content/uploads/barley-bread-loaf.jpg
Spencer.    http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=13683&searchid=4860&tabview=image
Gideon Bible.    http://mommylife.net/archives/Hotel_Bible.jpg
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