New International Reader's Version

Judges 7

Gideon Wins the Battle Over the Midianites

1Early in the morning Jerub-Baal and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon. The camp of Midian was north of Gideon’s camp. It was in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “I want to hand Midian over to you. But you have too many men for me to do that. Then Israel might brag, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ So here is what I want you to announce to the army. Tell them, ‘Those who tremble with fear can turn back. They can leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So 22,000 men left. But 10,000 remained.

The Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. So take them down to the water. There I will reduce the number of them for you. If I say, ‘This one will go with you,’ he will go. But if I say, ‘That one will not go with you,’ he will not go.”

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord said to him, “Some men will drink the way dogs do. They will lap up the water with their tongues. Separate them from those who get down on their knees to drink.” Three hundred men brought up the water to their mouths with their hands. And they lapped it up the way dogs do. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

The Lord spoke to Gideon. He said, “With the help of the 300 men who lapped up the water I will save you. I will hand the Midianites over to you. Let all the other men go home.” So Gideon sent those Israelites home. But he kept the 300 men. They took over the supplies and trumpets the others had left.

The Midianites had set up their camp in the valley below where Gideon was. During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up. Go down against the camp. I am going to hand it over to you. 10 But what if you are afraid to attack? Then go down to the camp with your servant Purah. 11 Listen to what they are saying. After that, you will not be afraid to attack the camp.” So Gideon and his servant Purah went down to the edge of the camp. 12 The Midianites had set up their camp in the valley. So had the Amalekites and all the other tribes from the east. There were so many of them that they looked like huge numbers of locusts. Like the grains of sand on the seashore, their camels couldn’t be counted.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend about his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came rolling into the camp of Midian. It hit a tent with great force. The tent turned over and fell down flat.”

14 His friend replied, “That can only be the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash. Gideon is from Israel. God has handed the Midianites over to him. He has given him the whole camp.”

15 Gideon heard the man explain what the dream meant. Then Gideon bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel. He called out, “Get up! The Lord has handed the Midianites over to you.” 16 Gideon separated the 300 men into three fighting groups. He put a trumpet and an empty jar into the hands of each man. And he put a torch inside each jar.

17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Do what I do. I’ll go to the edge of the enemy camp. Then do exactly as I do. 18 I and everyone with me will blow our trumpets. Then blow your trumpets from your positions all around the camp. And shout the battle cry, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’ ”

19 Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the enemy camp. It was about ten o’clock at night. It was just after the guard had been changed. Gideon and his men blew their trumpets. They broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three fighting groups blew their trumpets. They smashed their jars. They held their torches in their left hands. They held in their right hands the trumpets they were going to blow. Then they shouted the battle cry, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Each man stayed in his position around the camp. But all the Midianites ran away in fear. They were crying out as they ran.

22 When the 300 trumpets were blown, the Lord caused all the men in the enemy camp to start fighting one another. They attacked one another with their swords. The army ran away to Beth Shittah toward Zererah. They ran all the way to the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 23 Israelites from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher and all of Manasseh were called out. They chased the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers through the entire hill country of Ephraim. They said, “Come on down against the Midianites. Take control of the waters of the Jordan River before they get there. Do it all the way to Beth Barah.”

So all the men of Ephraim were called out. They took control of the waters of the Jordan all the way to Beth Barah. 25 They also captured Oreb and Zeeb. Those men were two of the Midianite leaders. The men of Ephraim killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb. They killed Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They chased the Midianites. And they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon. He was by the Jordan River.