Israel was devastated as year after year, the people of the East came and stole their crops and flocks. The people were hiding, as was Gideon when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and called him to deliver the nation. As Gideon followed what the Lord said, he had some success and then he was confronted by the enemy in Judges 7:12 Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the people of the east were lying in the valley, like a great multitude of locusts; their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand that is on the shore of the sea. God helped Gideon select three hundred men who would, in God’s hands, rout and destroy an army numbered at one hundred and thirty-five thousand. Israel was free, and people looked at Gideon as if he had done this great thing and asked him to in Judges 8:22 “Rule over us”. Gideon refused in Judges 8:23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; Yahweh will rule over you.” This was always what the Lord had planned for them, as it says in Jeremiah 30:22 ‘And you will be to me a people, and I will be to you God.’ ”
I Will Deliver You With The Three Hundred Men
Behold I Had A Dream
Gideon has been busy proving God to be sure he will deliver Israel as he has said but now he sees the army gathered in the valley below in
Judges 7:12 Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and all the people of the east were lying in the valley, like a great multitude of locusts; their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand that is on the shore of the sea.
and the Lord says to him in
Judges 7:9 And that night Yahweh said to him, “Get up; go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand.
but God knows Gideon is still unsure so he says “if you are afraid, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, and you will hear what they say; and afterward you will have courage” in Judges 7:1-11.
Gideon doesn’t know it, but God has already been working among the army of the Midianites and Amalekites. Yes, this is a huge army, but they are all wondering about this enemy they will face and God gave one of them a dream in
Judges 7:13 When Gideon came, a man was recounting a dream to his friend, and he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a round loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came up to the tent, it struck it, and it fell and turned it upside down so that the tent fell.”
It doesn’t sound bad, a loaf of bread knocked the tent over, but the interpretation names Gideon and God, the God of Israel, in
Judges 7:14 His friend answered him and said, “This cannot be anything except the sword of Gideon son of Jehoash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and the entire camp into his hand.”
There has been talk throughout the army about the God of Israel and about Gideon and they are already saying “God has given Midian and the entire camp into his hand”.
Blow The Trumpet
The Lord tells Gideon he will deliver the whole army to him using three-hundred men. And now we see the strategy unfolding. Gideon divides the men into three groups and sends them to line up one hundred across in a line on three sides of the encampment. Each man carries a trumpet and a torch is hidden in a jar. Then he prepares them in
Judges 7:18 When I and all who are with me blow on the trumpet, you must also blow on the trumpets and surround the camp, and you must say, ‘To Yahweh and to Gideon!’ ”
They also wait though, until after the changing of the guard in the middle of the night. He waits until most of the army is hard asleep in
Judges 7:19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle night-watch, when they had just finished setting up the guards, and they blew on the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands.
Gideon and his men each stood in their place with trumpets and shouting and as the army awoke, startled, they turned on each other and fled for their lives in
Judges 7:22 When they blew the three hundred trumpets, Yahweh set the sword of each one against his neighbor throughout the whole camp, and the camp fled as far as Beth Shittah toward Zererah, up to Abel Meholah, the border by Tabbath.
Now that the enemy was on the run, Gideon sent messengers to the tribes around and they joined in chasing down the fleeing soldiers in
Judges 7:23 And the men of Israel were called from Naphtali, from Asher, and from all of Manasseh, and they pursued after Midian.
Please Give Us Loaves of Bread
He Routed The Entire Army
Yahweh Will Rule Over You
Gideon had not only rallied the men of Israel to fight their enemy, he led them to complete victory. The marauding army that had come year after year had been slain, “about fifteen thousand men remained from the entire army of the people of the east; those that fell in battle were one hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen.” in Judges 8:10. So, it isn’t surprising that in
Judges 8:22 The men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your sons, and your sons’ son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.
but Gideon knew that it wasn’t by his strength or ability that this victory was won, it was only by the leading and power of God on their behalf so Gideon says no, in
Judges 8:23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; Yahweh will rule over you.”
Gideon was right, Yahweh was to rule over Israel, but Gideon also made two mistakes. God used Judges in Israel to keep order and peace and Gideon did not take on the leadership position the people needed. And, he took for himself plunder, and the ephod he made became a symbol of power that turned the eyes of the people from the Lord in
Judges 8:27 Gideon made an ephod out of it, and he put it in his town in Ophrah, and all Israel prostituted themselves to it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
While “the land rested forty years” in Judges 8:27, the seeds were sown for rebellion to come through Gideon’s own children.
The Israelites Did Not Remember Yahweh Their God
- Judges 7:9–17 Behold I Had A Dream
- Judges 7:18–25 Blow The Trumpet
- Judges 8:20–28 Yahweh Will Rule Over You
- Judges 7:1-25
- Judges 8:1-35