Judges 7

1 Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people who were with him, rose up early, and encamped beside the spring of Harod. Midian’s camp was on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel brag against me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. 4 The LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. It shall be, that those whom I tell you, ‘This shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and whoever I tell you, ‘This shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” 5 So he brought down the people to the water; and the LORD said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps of the water with his tongue, like a dog laps, you shall set him by himself; likewise everyone who bows down on his knees to drink.” 6 The number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people bowed down on their knees to drink water. 7 The LORD said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, each to his own place.” 8 So the people took food in their hand, and their trumpets; and he sent all the men of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the three hundred men; and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley. 9 That same night, the LORD said to him, “Arise, go down into the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp. 11 You will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened to go down into the camp.” Then went he down with Purah his servant to the outermost part of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is on the seashore for multitude. 13 When Gideon had come, behold, there was a man telling a dream to his fellow. He said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream; and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14 His fellow answered, “This is nothing other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. God has delivered Midian into his hand, with all the army.” 15 It was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and its interpretation, that he worshiped. Then he returned into the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise; for the LORD has delivered the army of Midian into your hand!” 16 He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all them trumpets, and empty pitchers, with torches within the pitchers. 17 He said to them, “Watch me, and do likewise. Behold, when I come to the outermost part of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so you shall do. 18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon!’” 19 So Gideon, and the hundred men who were with him, came to the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch. Then they blew the trumpets, and broke in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets, broke the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands with which to blow; and they shouted, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!” 21 They each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran; and they shouted, and put them to flight. 22 They blew the three hundred trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth Shittah towards Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath. 23 The men of Israel were gathered together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued Midian. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against Midian, and take before them the waters, as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan!” So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together, and took the waters as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan. 25 They took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at Oreb’s rock, and Zeeb they killed at Zeeb’s wine press; and pursued Midian. Then they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–8

God provides that the praise of victory may be wholly to himself, by appointing only three hundred men to be employed. Activity and prudence go with dependence upon God for help in our lawful undertakings. When the Lord sees that men would overlook him, and through unbelief, would shrink from perilous services, or that through pride they would vaunt themselves against him, he will set them aside, and do his work by other instruments. Pretences will be found by many, for deserting the cause and escaping the cross. But though a religious society may thus be made fewer in numbers, yet it will gain as to purity, and may expect an increased blessing from the Lord. God chooses to employ such as are not only well affected, but zealously affected in a good thing. They grudged not at the liberty of the others who were dismissed. In doing the duties required by God, we must not regard the forwardness or backwardness of others, nor what they do, but what God looks for at our hands. He is a rare person who can endure that others should excel him in gifts or blessings, or in liberty; so that we may say, it is by the special grace of God that we regard what God says to us, and not look to men what they do.

Verses 9–15

The dream seemed to have little meaning in it; but the interpretation evidently proved the whole to be from the Lord, and discovered that the name of Gideon had filled the Midianites with terror. Gideon took this as a sure pledge of success; without delay he worshipped and praised God, and returned with confidence to his three hundred men. Wherever we are, we may speak to God, and worship him. God must have the praise of that which encourages our faith. And his providence must be acknowledged in events, though small and seemingly accidental.

Verses 16–22

This method of defeating the Midianites may be alluded to, as exemplifying the destruction of the devil’s kingdom in the world, by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, the sounding that trumpet, and the holding forth that light out of earthen vessels, for such are the ministers of the gospel, 2Co 4:6, 7. God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, a barley-cake to overthrow the tents of Midian, that the excellency of the power might be of God only. The gospel is a sword, not in the hand, but in the mouth: the sword of the Lord and of Gideon; of God and Jesus Christ, of Him that sits on the throne and the Lamb. The wicked are often led to avenge the cause of God upon each other, under the power of their delusions, and the fury of their passions. See also how God often makes the enemies of the church instruments to destroy one another; it is a pity that the church’s friends should ever act like them.

Verses 23–25

Two chief commanders of the host of Midian were taken and slain by the men of Ephraim. It were to be wished that we all did as these did, and that where help is needed, that it were willingly and readily performed by another. And that if there were any excellent and profitable matter begun, we were willing to have fellow-labourers to the finishing and perfecting the same, and not, as often, hinder one another.

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