New European Version: Old Testament

Deeper commentary on this chapter

Audio talks on this chapter:


Video presentations on this chapter:


Other material relevant to this chapter:

Gideon And Midian

Hear this chapter read:



About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

CHAPTER 7 Jun. 10 
Gideon Defeats the Midianites
Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people who were with him rose up early and encamped beside the spring of Harod, and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2Yahweh said to Gideon, The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast against Me saying, ‘My own hand has saved me’. 3Now therefore announce to the people, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead’. Twenty-two thousand of the people returned and ten thousand remained. 4Yahweh said to Gideon, The people are still too many. Bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Those of whom I tell you, ‘This one shall go with you’ shall go, and those of whom I tell you, ‘This one shall not go with you’ shall remain. 5So he brought down the people to the water and Yahweh said to Gideon, Each one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, set him by himself; likewise each one who bows down on his knees to drink. 6The number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouth, was three hundred men, but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink. 7Yahweh said to Gideon, By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, each to his own place. 8So the three hundred men took food and their trumpets, and he sent all the rest of them to their tents; and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley. 9The same night Yahweh said to him, Arise, go down into the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand. 10But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp 11and you will hear what they say. After that your hands will be strengthened to go down into the camp. Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outskirts of the armed men who were in the camp. 12The Midianites, 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. 13When Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his fellow. He said, I had a dream: 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. 14His fellow answered, This is none 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. 15When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshipped, and he returned into the camp of Israel. He said, Arise, for Yahweh has delivered the army of Midian into your hand! 16He divided the three hundred men into three companies and he gave each of them a trumpet and an empty pitcher, with a torch inside the pitcher. 17He said to them, Watch me, and do as I do when I come to the outermost part of the camp. 18When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow your trumpets too, on every side of the camp, and shout ‘For Yahweh and for Gideon!’ 19So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch. They blew the trumpets and broke in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands. 20The three companies blew the trumpets and 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 Yahweh and of Gideon! 21They each stood in his place around the camp and all the army ran, and they shouted and put them to flight. 22They blew the three hundred trumpets, and Yahweh set every man’s sword against his fellow and against all the army, and the army fled as far as Beth Shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah by Tabbath. 23The men of Israel were gathered together out of Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian. 24Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim saying, Come down against Midian and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah. So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together and took the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 25They took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued Midian, and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.


7:4 God said that He would try / judge the people with Gideon at the waters- but they effectively judged themselves by deciding with their own freewill whether to kneel down [as before an idol?], or lap. Idols were worshipped by kneeling before them, and perhaps those who lapped rather than knelt were the minority with sensitive consciences to Yahweh, not wanting to even ‘go there’ by even vaguely appearing to have anything in common with idolatry. 
7:10 Gideon’s constant need for reassurance is found throughout the record. Yet God knew that potentially, Gideon was a brave, faithful servant of His (6:12); and yet He made concessions to Gideon’s weakness and need for human company, whilst at the same time strongly teaching him that God saves by the few and the weak (:7). He works in the same way with us, teaching and stretching us whilst sensitive to our weaknesses and fears.
7:12 Saul tried to copy Gideon in his own fighting with his enemies (1 Sam. 11:11 = Jud. 7:16; 1 Sam. 13:5 = Jud. 7:12; 1 Sam. 14:24,28,31 = Jud. 8:4,5). We too should be inspired by Gideon’s victory in our battles. See on 13:15.
7:14,15- see on 6:12,13.
7:19 They had but newly set the watch- This was humanly speaking the worst time to attack, when the guards were fresh and alert. Likewise going in to battle cumbered with pitchers and trumpets rather than weaponry was a sign of trusting in God for victory rather than human strength. God’s battle plans often specifically require us to attain victory in a way which is foolish and weak in human terms. 
7:22 God so often destroyed mighty armies by setting them against each other. Division is not only a human work, but is used by God to destroy communities which displease Him.