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Gideon and the Three Hundred Men

Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him got up early and set up their tents beside the well of Harod. The tents of Midian were north of them, by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands. Israel might say with pride, ‘Our own power has saved us.’ So say to all the people, ‘Whoever is afraid and shaking with fear may leave Mount Gilead and return home.’” So 22,000 people returned. But 10,000 stayed.

Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water. I will test them for you there. Whoever I say is to go with you will go. But whoever I say is not to go with you will not go.” So Gideon brought the people down to the water. The Lord said to Gideon, “Divide every man who drinks the water as dogs drink with their tongues from every man who gets down on his knees to drink.” There were 300 men who drank from their hand, putting their hand to their mouth. But all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. The Lord said to Gideon, “I will save you with the 300 men who drank from their hands. I will give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others return, every man to his home.” So the 300 men took the people’s food and their horns. Gideon sent all the other men of Israel to their tents. He kept only the 300 men. And the tents of Midian were below him in the valley.

That same night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up. Go down and fight against them at their tents. For I have given them into your hands. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go with your servant Purah down to their tents. 11 You will hear what they say. Then your hands will become strong enough to go down and fight against them.” So he went with his servant Purah down to the side of the tents where soldiers were keeping watch. 12 The Midianites and Amalekites and all the people of the east were lying in the valley. They were like locusts, there were so many. Their camels were too many to number. They were like sand beside the sea, there were so many. 13 When Gideon came, a man was telling a dream to his friend. The man said, “I had a dream. A loaf of barley bread was rolling toward the tents of Midian. It came to the tent and hit it so it fell down. It turned it up-side-down so the tent fell apart.” 14 His friend answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. God has given Midian and all the army into his hand.”

15 When Gideon heard the story of the dream and what it meant, he bowed down and worshiped God. Then he returned to the tents of Israel and said, “Get up! For the Lord has given the army of Midian into your hands.” 16 He divided the 300 men into three groups. He gave horns and empty pots with fire sticks inside to each of them. 17 And he said to them, “Watch me, and do what I do. When I come to the side of their tents, do as I do. 18 I and all those with me will blow the horns. Then you blow the horns all around the tents, and say, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”

19 So Gideon and the 100 men who were with him came to the side of the tents. It was late in the night. Different soldiers had just come to keep watch. Then the men blew the horns and broke the pots that were in their hands. 20 All three groups blew their horns and broke their pots. They held the sticks of fire in their left hands and horns to be blown in their right hands. And they called out, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Each man stood in his place around the tents. And all the Midianite army ran. They cried out and ran away. 22 When the 300 horns were blown, the Lord made every man fight the man next to him among the tents. And the army ran away as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah. They went as far as the land of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23 The men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, to go after Midian.

24 Gideon sent men through all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against Midian. Take the waters in front of them, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together. And they took the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 They took the two leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb. And they killed Zeeb at the place of Zeeb where the grapes are crushed. They went after Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from the other side of the Jordan.

Gideon Defeats the Midianites

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal(A) (that is, Gideon(B)) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod.(C) The camp of Midian(D) was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh.(E) The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength(F) has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.(G)’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many(H) men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out 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.”

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them(I) drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands.(J) Let all the others go home.”(K) So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. 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.(L) 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(M) and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts.(N) Their camels(O) could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.(P)

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.”

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

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped.(R) He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”(S) 16 Dividing the three hundred men(T) into three companies,(U) he placed trumpets(V) and empty jars(W) in the hands of all of them, with torches(X) 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,(Y) then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’”

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(Z) that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches(AA) in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword(AB) 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.(AC)

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

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

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