Judges Chapter 7

The Israelites were up against an army of Midianites, because the Lord had allowed them to fall into oppression for their wickedness. Gideon, had been called by the Lord, to lead the Israelites to victory. After having a confirmation of his calling, Gideon was prepared to answer the call. This chapter begins:

1 Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
2 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.
4 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
7 And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

The Lord instructed Gideon to reduce the number in the Israelite army, because they needed to know that the Lord was the reason they were preserved in this battle. He told him to tell the men that anyone who was fearful or afraid could leave. The Lord needed men of courage to stand against their enemy. 22,000 of the men went home and 10,000 were left. Again, the Lord said they had too many men in the army. The Lord told him to take the men to the water and they would be tested and the Lord would reveal who should remain there to fight. Gideon brought them to the water. Those who lapped the water like a dog were separated from those who bowed down to drink. Those who lapped from their hands were only 300 in number and they were those who would remain to fight. Everyone else returned home. The Lord told Gideon that Israel would be saved by these 300 men.

9 And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.
10 But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
11 And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.
12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
13 And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.
14 And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

When it was time, the Lord told Gideon he had delivered the Midianites into their hands. He said if Gideon was afraid, he was to go with his servant and hear what the enemy said. The Lord promised that by doing this, he would be strengthened, or have greater courage. Gideon went down and saw the great number of their army. He heard a man talking of his dream. It was that a small loaf of bread fell among the army of the Midianites and into a tent, which it caused to fall. He had interpreted to mean that God would deliver the Midianites into the hands of Gideon’s army.

15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.
16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
17 And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.
18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.

Gideon was strengthened by the mention of this dream and the interpretation of it. He returned to his army and called them to arise, because the Lord had delivered the Midianites into their hands. The 300 men were divided into companies and given trumpets and pitchers. When he blew his trumpet, they were to blow their own trumpets and say “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon”.

19 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.
21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.
22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.
23 And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.

At his signal, all the army, which were outside the Midianite camp, blew trumpets, broke pitches, held lights and yelled as Gideon had commanded. The host of Midian, were afraid, and ran away, started to fight one another, and were then pursued by Israel.

24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.
25 And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.

The Midianites were destroyed by Israel, and their two princes were slain.

I love this bible story, because it is a great example of the strength of the Lord. The Midianites were so great in number that they were like grasshoppers. More than double the number of Israelites had returned home because they were afraid to face them. On the other side, was Gideon with only 300 courageous men of the host of Israel. The Lord prepared for their victory, by allowing dreams to bring fear to the camp of Midianites. Then, in that moment of fear, the small band was able to scare the Midianites away and they did not even raise a sword to fight. The wisdom of men, would have laughed at this idea for winning a battle against such a great enemy, but the Lord is more wise and powerful than men. I am sure that the 300 men, had to go on complete faith in the Lord, just as Gideon did in order to lead them.

One of the signs of the last days, and the coming of the Savior again, is that their will be wars and rumors of wars. I’ve thought this phrase was interesting in the past, but with this story it has a greater impact. A man had a dream, and I imagine that his personal interpretation of the dream spread through the camp and brought fear into the hearts of many. Then, the army of Gideon needed only to pretend to be large and frightening. The already fearful hearts of the Midianites, had lost the courage necessary to win the fight. I think that this is something that rumors of wars can do to people. Just the idea that someone stronger might be preparing to fight, can bring paralyzing fear. That fear, could be the tool used to destroy enemies.

Greater still, is the power of fear that Satan will use to bring down our own personal courage to do what is right. We are in a war with the adversary, every day. It is becoming increasingly important to take a stand with God on our side, so that the evil voices of our common enemy, will not cause us to retreat and be destroyed. We do not want to be like the Midianites, who allowed fear to destroy their army. We should, however, desire to be like Gideon and his small army, who chose to listen to the Lord and had their courage strengthened because they continued in faith.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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