Gideon’s 300 soldiers make some noise
Gideon thins out his army1Early the next day, Jerubbaal, also known as Gideon, moved his militia to a new camp above Harod Springs. Midian raiders were camping in the valley north of them, beside the hill of Moreh.
2The LORD told Gideon, “You’ve got too many men for this battle. I’m not going to give Midian to you this way. Israel would take credit and say ‘We got the job done ourselves.’
3Tell your troops, “If what we’re about to do frightens you and you’d rather not be here, it’s okay to go home.” Most of the men left: 22,000 fighters. Ten thousand stayed with Gideon.
Gideon sneaks down to Midian’s camp4The LORD told Gideon, “You need to thin the army some more. Take them down to the spring and have them get a drink. While you’re there, I’ll point out which ones to keep and which to send home.”
5Gideon took his troops down to the spring. There, the LORD told him, “Separate your men into two groups, based on how they drink water from the spring. Some men will drink like dogs. They’ll kneel on the ground and put their faces in the water. Put those men in one group. The other men will use their hands to scoop the water into their mouths. Put them in the other group.”
6Three hundred men scooped the water up into their mouths. All the others dropped to their knees to drink face-down. 7The LORD told Gideon. “With these 300 men, I’m going to save Israel from the Midianites. Send everyone else back to their tents.”
8Gideon collected supplies from troops he dismissed, including the rams’ horns they brought. Then he ordered them back to their tents. But he kept the 300 men with him. Midian raiders were still camped in the valley below. 9That night, the LORD told Gideon. “Get up, it’s time to go. Attack the camp. You’re going to win this battle. I’ll see to it. 10But if you’re afraid to attack, sneak down to their camp. Take your servant Purah with you and scout it out. 11If you go, you’ll hear something encouraging when you get there. You’ll be ready to attack after that.” Gideon and Purah crept down to where Midian had posted guards at the edge of camp.
12Raiders from Midian and Amalek covered the valley like swarming locusts. They had more camels than anyone could count. It would be like counting sand grains on the seashore. 13Gideon got close enough to hear one man telling another about his dream. The man said, “I dreamed that a big loaf of barley bread rolled down into our camp. It hit my tent, rolled right into it, and knocked it down.”
14The other man said, “That can only mean one thing. Gideon, the Israelite son of Joash, is coming. And God is going to let him overrun our camp and kill us all.”
15That made Gideon’s day. When he heard the man tell his dream and other man interpret what it meant, Gideon bowed in reverence to God. When he got back to camp, he told the 300 men, “Get up. The LORD has already won this battle for us. So, let’s go get their army.”
Gideon’s 300 surround Midian’s camp16Gideon divided his 300 men into three companies. He equipped every soldier with rams’ horns, empty jars, and torches.
17He told the men, “When we reach the perimeter of their camp, keep an eye on me and follow my lead. Do exactly what I do and when I do it. 18When I blow the horn, everyone blows their horns. Then scream the battle cry: “For the LORD and for Gideon!”
19It was about midnight—the changing of the guards at the beginning of the second watch—when Gideon and his company of 100 men reached the perimeter. Guards of the second watch had just been posted when Gideon and his men blew their horns and smashed their jars. 20All three companies did the same. They blew their horns and smashed their jars. Then with their left hands they raised their lit torches. And with their right hands they held the horns they blew. Then they yelled, “Meet the sword of the LORD and Gideon!” 21Gideon’s men held their positions around Midian’s camp. Confusion and chaos erupted inside the camp. Men there screamed and ran for their lives.
22When Gideon’s 300 men blew their horns, raiders in the camp got so confused that they started fighting each other with swords. Their entire army ran away. They ran as far as Beth-shittah, in the direction of Zererah, and to Abel-meholah, near Tabbath. 23Gideon called for reinforcements to run them down. He called up the men from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh. Israel’s fighting men chased the raiders.
24Gideon then sent word to Israelites in the hills of Ephraim’s tribe. He said, “Come out of the hills and help us fight the Midianites. Take command of the shallow-water crossings of the Jordan River at Beth-barah. We’ll cut them off there. 25Men of Ephraim captured two enemy commanders and killed them both: Oreb and Zeeb. They executed Oreb at what became known as the Rock of Oreb. And they killed Zeeb at what they started calling Zeeb’s Winepress. Ephraim’s men brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who had traveled east of the Jordan River.
The camps were about 6 miles apart (10 km).
Soldiers used rams’ horns for signaling an attack, retreat, and other commands.
The time is an educated guess based on ancient military customs. There were often three watches of the night, with four hours in each watch: 8-midnight, midnight-4, 4-8 in the morning. If Gideon didn’t attack at exactly midnight, it was still most likely as dark as night can get.
These sites are unknown. But it’s probably a fair guess that the raiders were running back to where they came from, east of the Jordan River.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.