Gideon Picks His Men

Gideon Picks His Men


THEN Gideon assembled an army of the men of Israel behind him.
They pitched their tents beside the well of Harod,
so that the ranks of the Midianites were off to the north of them by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

And God said to Gideon: "The people with you are too many for me to give them a victory over the Midianites, for then Israel might boast of its own power, saying, 'Our own hands have saved us.'
Go to the people, therefore, and tell everyone who is fearful and afraid,
to go back, and leave Mount Gilead."

Twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand stayed.

Then God spoke to Gideon, saying:
"There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water, and I will test
them for you. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,'he shall go with you,
and if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go."

So Gideon brought the people down to the water, and God said to Gideon:
"Set apart those who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps,
and those who kneel down to drink."

The number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths,
was three hundred men.
All the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink the water.

Then God said to Gideon: "By the three hundred men who lapped,
I will save you and will deliver the Midianites into your hands.
Let all the other people go to their homes."

So the chosen people took food in their hands, and their trumpets,
and Gideon sent all the rest of the Israelites to their tents
and kept only those three hundred men.

And the army of Midian was beneath, in the valley.


The same night God spoke to Gideon, saying:"Arise, go down to the camp,
for I have given it into your hands.
But if you are afraid to go down, take your servant Phurah down with you to the camp. You will hear what the Midianites are saying, and afterward your hands will be strengthened for the battle."

Gideon went down with Phurah to the outermost of the armed men that were in the camp.

There the Midianites and the Amalekites
and all the children of the east lay along the valley,
like grasshoppers in their numbers,
and their camels were countless, as many as the sands by the seaside.

When Gideon came near, a man was telling a dream to his companion,
and he said: "I have dreamed a dream,
and in it a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian.
It came to a tent and struck it so that the tent fell and overturned,
and lay upon the ground."
His companion answered and said: "This is nothing else than the sword of Gideon,
the son of Joash, a man of Israel.
For God is giving him a victory over Midian and all the army."

When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and the interpretation of it,
he worshipped God.
Then he returned to the army of Israel and said: "Arise,
for the Lord has given into your hands the army of Midian."

He divided the three hundred men into three companies,
and he put a trumpet into every man's hand,
and gave them empty pitchers with lights inside them.
"Watch me and do likewise," he said to them. "
And see that when I come to the outskirts of the camp, you do whatever I do.
When I and those who are with me blow on our trumpets,
then you blow on your trumpets too,
on every side of the whole camp,
and shout: 'The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!"'


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