Christ then tells Gideon that the numbers of his army are to be reduced to the point that the people will ascribe the victory to God.
Both physical and spiritual Israel must learn that the victory belongs to the Eternal. As Israel could not overcome the Canaanites [a type of sin] alone without God; spiritual Israel cannot overcome sin on their own and by their own ways.
Judges 7:1 Then Jerubbaal [let baal speak for himself], who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.
7:2 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
God commanded Gideon to let all the fearful go home. This represents that the spiritually fearful cannot overcome sin. To overcome sin we must have the faith to stand on the whole Word of God, no matter what the physical consequences may be.
7:3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.
Christ then chooses to reduce the numbers through a test of how they drink water.
7:4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
Christ tells Gideon to separate those who lap up water like a dog [lifting up the water in their hands to their mouth, instead of bending down and putting their mouth down to the water to drink like the others]. Who do you suppose inspired these men to do that? Could it be that God had already chosen his men and inspired them to drink like that to fulfill the test?
7:5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
Only three hundred were separated out
7:6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
Jesus Christ then tells Gideon to take the three hundred and send the others home. This appears to have been to build faith in Gideon [Gideon had much more to do for the Eternal after this battle] and to make it certain that he and all Israel knew that the battle and the victory were the Lord’s.
7:7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped [lifting water up to their mouth by their hands] will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
7:8 So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.
Later as the night fell God instructed Gideon to begin the fight and again sought to encourage Gideon. As we read further we shall see that the Midianites had killed Gideon’s brothers, which is why he feared them so much.
7:9 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. 7:10 But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: 7:11 And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he [Gideon] down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.
7:12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
God inspired the enemy with a dream, the recounting of which was heard by Gideon.
Gideon needed to hear this dream from the mouth of the enemy and understand the fear that God had placed in their hearts to encourage him to the battle. How often do we need encouragement to take that final step and take a stand for what we know is true?
Today, very many are sitting on the fence fearing the cost of offending their elders, leaders and friends, or the cost of zealously living by every Word of God in their personal lives.
God encouraged Gideon and he will also encourage his called out. Shortly you will see all of the biblical signs of the imminent correction; and then the two servants of God will come in the full power that the scriptures ascribe to them; to encourage you to turn to the Eternal with a wholehearted and sincere zeal for learning and keeping the whole Word of God.
7:13 And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.
7:14 And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.
My friends, God will deliver all those who turn to him in sincerity and truth, to be zealous to follow our Lord and keep his Word in passionate zeal.
If we have the courage to stand UP AND FOLLOW HIM; HE WILL GIVE US VICTORY OVER SIN!
7:15 And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped [Gideon was at last impressed and exalted God], and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.
How long will it be before “God’s people” are impressed with God and his Word; to love God enough to exalt him and to DO what he has said?
Let us RISE UP, and with the help of our Mighty One, join the battle against sin and turn to a zeal to perform every Word of our God!
7:16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. 7:17 And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.
The order of battle
7:18 When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.
7:19 So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
7:20 And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 7:21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the [enemy] host ran, and cried, and fled.
In panic the men of the oppressing army turned on each other
7:22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.
Then all the people rose up and pursued the Midianites
7:23 And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.
Gideon then called on Manasseh to secure the water sources from the Midianites.
7:24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan.
The two commanders of the Midianites were taken and killed.
7:25 And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.
Ephraim was offended that they had not been called to partake in such a victory.
Judges 8:1 And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.
To pacify Ephraim, Gideon then praised Ephraim for their zeal and delivered the princes of Midian in to their hands.
8:2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 8:3 God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.
8:4 And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. 8:5 And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.
Then the leaders of Succoth refused food to Gideon out of their remaining fear of the Midianites.
8:6 And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?
Gideon responded that they were helping the enemies of Israel and would face their end as collaborators.
8:7 And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.
The men of Penuel also refused to help Gideon and Israel and Gideon responded that they were helping the enemies of Israel and would face their end as collaborators.
8:8 And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them likewise: and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him. 8:9 And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.
Gideon then proceeded to finish the destruction of the enemy before returning to Penuel.
8:10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east: for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword.
8:11 And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host; for the host was [felt] secure.
God and Gideon defeated Midian and took their two rulers
8:12 And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host.
8:13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up, 8:14 And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and enquired of him: and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men.
Gideon then brought the two rulers of Midian to Succoth and destroyed their seventy-seven elders in the wilderness.
8:15 And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary? 8:16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.
8:17 And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.
Now a personal element enters in as Gideon declares that these two kings had killed his brothers.
8:18 Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king. 8:19 And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.
8:20 And he [Gideon] said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth.
8:21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.
Then Israel sought to make Gideon their king
8:22 Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.
Gideon then gives an answer that we would not hear in most of the Ekklesia today
8:23 And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.
Gideon only asks for the ear rings of the Midianites
8:24 And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 8:25 And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey.
8:26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks.
Ephod: A priestly garment worn as an outward sign of office, people would see the ephod and recognize the man as able to give a godly answer.
Sometimes people began to look to the ephod as some kind of oracle, instead of looking to God and it became an idol to the people.
The ephod was symbolic recognition of the priests] who are commanded to deliver the Word of God to the brethren. The ephod of Gideon began to be worshiped itself and became an idol and snare to many.
Today the elders have allowed themselves to become idols of the brethren, instead of teaching the people zeal for every Word of God.
8:27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.
8:28 Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.
8:29 And Jerubbaal [baal answer for thyself; Gideon] the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.
Gideon had 70 sons; having profited from his fame by marrying many wives.
8:30 And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.
8:31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 8:32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
After the death of Gideon the people quickly turned away from the Eternal back to baal [the sun god representing Satan].
8:33 And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baalberith their god. 8:34 And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side: 8:35 Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel.
Lessons From Gideon
1. When we are called out to fight against sin and serve the Eternal; HE will fight for us and even though the situation may look hopeless we are not to fear what any man can do; for the Eternal is far more powerful then all men together.
2. If we have the courage to take a stand on the Word of God; God the Father and Jesus Christ will give us total victory over sin! Even if we must suffer or die in this life, it is because we are being tested as to our zeal to live by every Word of God, and we are also being formed and molded into the person God wants us to be!
Even if we are not delivered in this life as Gideon and physical Israel were; the faithful and chosen of spiritual Israel will be raised up to that Promised Land of eternal life at the call of our Lord.
3. When men do what they think is right, even with the best of intentions [as in making the ephod] it will result in bad fruits; ALWAYS seek out the Eternal and his Word to do as the whole Word of God and our Lord commands us.
3. Polygamy appeals to the lusts of men and to the desire of women for helpers in a time without modern machines but its fruits are very bad. Polygamy like divorce, was winked at for a certain time, but neither act was intended by the Creator and both are spiritually sin in the spiritual New Covenant, not being the intention of the Creator.