PresentsJudges chapter 7
Caution to students of God's Word - Please remember two things when using our studies: #1. Our commentary is not God's Word. It is only our interpretation or understanding of "His Word" and even though we try our best to be accurate we may or may not be correct. #2. The King James translation, or any other translation, of the original Hebrew text has some words which were given different translations at different places probably because of the interpreters preconceived ideas of what they think God meant to say. For example: According to the notes in the "Dake's Annotated Reference Bible" the Hebrew word hayah in the KJV is Trans. (became) 67 times, (becamest or came to pass) 505 times, (become) 66 times, and (come to pass) 131 times, but for some reason in Genesis 1:2 it is translated (was)! That sure changes the way a person perceives the original creation of the earth, doesn't it? Gen. 1:2 And the earth was (became) without form, ... Having said that, let us continue with our "Key Knowledge" lessons. These are pamphlets containing knowledge, we believe, you must have to fully and accurately unlock and understand the Word of God.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
This Bible Study was originally written by Roger
published at http://www.theseason.org/
Without the leading by the Holy Spirit, there is no understanding of the truths, for all the truth of the Scriptures are revealed to us by God's Spirit.
Now here is our revised study of:
Judges Chapter 7
"God's Direction, Gideon's Obedience, the Victory."Our people have always wanted someone to rule over them that they can see, touch and hear. God wanted Israel to lean on him, yet the Israelites ran to the different heathen forms of religion that man would produce for them, that they could bow down to, and touch. It never mattered much to the Israelites if those idol or religious forms ever gave them anything in return, or if the idol had to be propped it up to keep from falling on its face. So because of this desire to be led by anyone, God has allowed them, each time, to hit rock bottom and cry out to him before He would respond to there needs.
Chapter seven deals is a continuation of chapter six, for God had chosen Gideon to chase these Midianites out of their lands. The word "Gideon" means the "cutter down", and that is exactly what Gideon did, he cut down all the idols and grove symbols and burned them on the altar of God. Then when Gideon completed the this task, Gideon's name was changed to "Jerubbaal", which translated from the text means, "Let Baal plead his own case." This is telling the people, if Baal doesn't like what Gideon is doing, let Baal kill Gideon and stop him from what he is doing, but we are not going to defend Baal any longer.
Remember that the Midianites were a group of nomads, that lived in tents and roamed where ever there was something to steal and take for themselves. They moved in great numbers, and stripped the land clean where ever they went. The Midianites were Adamic peoples and came from Abraham, through his second wife Keturah, as we read in Genesis 25:2 . However these Midianites changed in nature when they mixed in with the peoples of the east, which were the tribes of the Ishmaelites or Arabs, and thus when the Midianites are mentioned, so also are these peoples of the east.
Judges 7:1 "Then Jerubbaal, 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."
It is time for action and on the day so specified Gideon arose early in the morning and met with all the people that were committed to go with him to battle. They met at the well of Harod, when means "trembling", and many of them were afraid to do battle with the Midianites and all their allies.
When the Israelites would form an army from the ranks of the people, each tribe would select a certain number [usually one thousand], and send them out to form the ranks of the Army. So we see that there were about twelve thousand men ready to do battle. Remember that Gideon himself had been instructed by the Angel of God that he was going to lead this army against the Midianites and free themselves. We have seen at other times when God freed His people under the Judges, that He has used different ways and people who would put their complete trust in Him.
One time God used a woman named Deborah to lead his army, who was the only one with complete trust in God. Another time God used Shamgar with a ox goad, or cattle prod [a stick with a nail tied to the end of it] to kill six hundred of the raiding thieves, and the invaders left the land rather then risk being killed. The moment that God gives someone into your hand, the rest is easy. So the lesson that we are to learn from this chapter is that numbers simply don't matter, for it is whether God is with you or not that matters. When God is on your side, there are no giants in the land.
Numbers just don't mean anything in the eyes of the Lord, for the only way that is right is God's way, and God will not bless those that go against His ways. God will not bless a crook. It may appear that somebody is getting away with thievery for a while, but in the end God has his way of putting His vengeance back on their head.
Judges 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.' "
Remember that these Midianites are just a huge pack of gypsies, they are poor Bedouins of the desert that have nothing but what they can steal. If Gideon comes against them with a force of twelve thousand troops, armed to the teeth, these Bedouins will run for their lives, then what glory will there be to God. After the battle all the praise will be heaped on the heads of the warriors that went into the battle. The Midianites did not have disciplined troops, nor were they prepared for a military type of battle.
This is exactly as we saw in the war with Iraq. Before the battle, all that could be talked about was the massive number of men that would be killed in the battle. America and our Christians allied friends went to their knees in prayer for their sons and daughters, and husbands that were sent off to war. God gave us the victory, and the only men that were killed were not killed in battle but by accidents that could have happened on the streets of America. Yet when the men and women returned from battle, it was the men and women that received the credit, God was overlooked, except in the hearts and minds of God's own, who knew where the victory came from.
God knows the nature of the people of Israel, and this is why Gideon must reduce the number of men that should come against the Midianites. God is telling Gideon that there has to be a miracle that is preformed here, or the people will continue in their ways and not turn to Him.
Again the lesson that is to be learned here is that numbers don't mean a thing. For the multitude might believe a certain way, and if that way is against God's Word, that doesn't make it right or correct. If the way of the multitude is wrong then don't you be taken in by them also. Dare to stand alone if necessary, for you and God make a majority.
Judges 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."
The first way that Gideon was directed to cut back the troops, was to ask all those that were afraid of going into battle to leave for home. When he gave them the right to leave and go home, Gideon was left with ten thousand, and this still was a mighty force that would come against these Bedouin people. Those that left would be dangerous to Gideon's side if they remained for the battle, for no telling how they would react in battle.
Judges 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.' This shall not go with thee," the same shall not go with thee."
God is telling Gideon to bring these ten thousand down to the river bank and He is going to try the rest of these ten thousand men to see who is fit for battle. God is not going to leave it up to Gideon to make the choice. This is where most people have difficulty with God, they simply will not listen to God and obey His instruction.
These orders are very clear and non-confusing. God is saying, I will tell you who to send home, and those who are fit for the battle. The message here is to always follow God's orders.
Judges 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."
The reason for this way of selection is to find the ones that are always in the position to fight. If you are in a combat area, and the enemy is all around you, those that lay flat on the ground and lap the water like a dog ready to fight, but to drink water and be killed by the enemy. This position goes also for those that get down on all fours, and lean over to drink the water with their tongue. Once you face the water, you loose sight of what is going on around you. The other point to be made here is that idol worshippers always bow to the idol. It is a form used in idolatry; face down, and on all fours.
Judges 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."
The ones that knelt down with their head erect, and with their hand brought the water to their mouth, those are the ones that continually paid attention to their surroundings. They were using their minds, and ready for what ever came upon them. Those are the ones that God selected to be set aside and to be used in His service.
The point that is made here is that when you know God's Word and are continually on guard to what is going on around you, then you can be of service to God. However if you like to drift off into strange surroundings of heathen doctrines, and place yourself in a questionable situation, then you can not be trusted to follow God's leading when it becomes necessary.
The Biblical numerical number for three hundred in the Hebrew language, in which the letters are actually numbers, the "Sh" or "shin" stood for 300. The sound "shin" in the Hebrew stand for the strength of the Spirit of almighty God. So by using these three hundred men, it is saying that the strength and glory of almighty God will accomplish what is about to be done.
Judges 7:7 "And the Lord said unto Gideon, "By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other People go every man unto his place."
God is so sure of the victory that He shall have, that He has told Gideon to tell all the other ten thousand or so to head home, for they will not be needed. Twenty two thousand went home on the first wave, and now God is sending the other nine thousand seven hundred packing and on their way home also. What was left is a trimmed down fighting force for God's army, ready in mind to follow instruction and to give God the credit for the battle that He promised to give into their hand.
Judges 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."
These three hundred men are well armed and ready for battle. They have taken their food provision in their hand, and a trumpet for each man, and the rest have departed from them. So here these three hundred men with their commander Gideon sit on top of this hill, and down below them in the valley were the Midianites, so many in count that they covered the earth like locust. No matter what you think, the three hundred on the hill had the advantage, because God was on their side.
Judges 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."
Did they sit around and do their planning for many days? Of course not, God said to Gideon, when the night falls, get your men up and ready to do battle, for this night I will deliver them into your hands. However Gideon was first to go down there into midst and mingle with them, and see what they are like. See your enemy and see that they are not a force that you have to worry about. Then get back up on the hill, and get ready for battle.
This could get a little scary going into the camp of the enemy and talking with them and getting to understand them before you are going to kick them out of your land. Then all the time you are there, remember that "I have delivered it into thine hand."
Gideon will be right in the midst of the enemy and he will be completely safe, just as the three children of Daniel 3 were when the were thrown into the fiery furnace. When you are on a mission for God, that He sent you on, then He will protect you. When king Nebuchadnezzar came in to look into the furnace, he saw four persons in the fire, and claimed one of them to be the son of God.
Daniel 3:24 "Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellers, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?" They answered and said unto the king, "True, O King." "
Daniel 3:25 "He answered and said, "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the son of God."
Knowing that God protected these three men in the firey furnace, and that Christ walked right through a crowd that sought to harm Him, you know that Gideon could have walked right through this multitude of Midianites and not one would lay a hand on him. God does things in a natural way, and God understood the psychology of the mind of the people Gideon was dealing with. God can read the thoughts of men while they are thinking them.
Judges 7:10 "But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:"
This is still God speaking to Gideon, and saying that if you are afraid to go down, then take your servant with you. But in any case, go down there in the midst of the Midianites. It is interesting that the name of this servant is Phurah, which in the Hebrew means "Branch". To a Christian, our "Branch" is Jesus Christ. So if you are going down amongst the host of the enemy, and Christ is with you, you will be safe and there is nothing to fear.
Judges 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 down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host."
Once you are down amongst the hosts of the Midianites and you hear what they are saying with your own ears, then you will have no fear of them at any time. Gideon went down to the camp of the enemy with Phurah [the Branch], and he went to where the military part of the Midianites were staying. The Military always kept to themselves and away from the women and children. As he drew close to these people, he listened to what they were saying. By listening to their conversation amongst themselves, Gideon then understand their condition.
God is going to document here that He has already begun the process of defeating the Midianites. God wanted Gideon to hear in person what He has already accomplished. Even though these Midianites are heathern believers, God is still in control of their minds and what they will do. This is why there are no giants in the world where God is.
Judges 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."
Gideon is squatting down there and watching this huge hosts of the enemy, and trying to hear for himself what they are saying amongst themselves. Gideon is going to come against all these people with his three hundred trumpets. Remember who is giving the orders, it is God who is directing the battle and He will have the victory.
Judges 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."
There is always one in the midst that is up on what is going on in the community, and up on the latest gossip. This man that came to Gideon out of the camp was telling of a dream that another man had, and he went out and blabbed it all over the place. This then is what the people are thinking to themselves. God is preparing these hosts of the Midianites and their friends from the east for the big scare that will come upon them.
"Barley bread" is a poor man's bread. This dream does not have a good outlook for the Midianites. To a Bedouin, the destruction of his tent is a very serious thing. The barley bread, or unleavened bread is the symbol for Jesus Christ. We can see the ground work that our Heavenly Father has laid for us also to see that we have complete protection when we have Christ with us.
Judges 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."
The two talking here are the two military Midianite men that Gideon is listening to. The word of what Gideon has done in destroying the idols of Baal, and the grove worship has spread into the enemy camp and Gideon has become a common name amongst the enemy. They fear the name of Gideon because of his boldness, and the dream gave fear into the minds of the Midianites.
This is like the name Saddam that had spread through our nation and that of our allies just before the war with Iraq, or the name of Hitler just before the second world war. An enemy always knows who their fight is against, and who to fear. Keep this in mind as we see what the men of Gideon are to say when they sound the trumpet and take the victory. This is the enemy themselves saying that God is going to deliver them into the hand of Gideon.
It is easy to start rumors, and allow the people to let them grow to the point of destroying themselves. Their own rumors are going to strike them with fear. There is an strange feeling that comes over a battle field when there is a time of waiting just before the fight. God planted the name of Gideon in the minds of the Midianites, and this is the time when their minds are set on edge. Its hard to communicate before a battle, and the Spirit of God has a way of preparing the minds for what is about to happen.
The rumor that is spreading throughout all the camp of the Midianites is that "Gideon is coming with the sword of the Lord, and he is going to destroy all of us."
Judges 7:15 "And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, "Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian."
Gideon had heard it in person and he knew that God had intervened through dreams and visions to prepare the Midianites for their fall. The fear of God Himself was in their minds and they became so worked up over these dreams that they jump at every little sound. These Midianites are like the heard of cattle in a electrical storm; they are getting ready for that bolt of lightning to strike near them to set off a stampede.
Judges 7:16 "And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hands, with empty pitchers and lamps within the pitchers."
Gideon did not have to use a bow and arrow or spears, but a trumpet to sound the warning of a charge into battle. Then by placing the burning lantern inside the pitcher, they build up the gases within the pitcher crocks. It is suffocating the flame because the flame must have oxygen. Then when you remove that lantern from the pitcher the flame flares, and bursts into a great light. So when Gideon's army moves into position, the lanterns simply cannot be seen, however when it became time for battle, the crocks or pitchers are broken and the bright flame is shown round about.
The trumpet sounds the warning that a battle is about to begin. The time of the execution has started the battle plan. It signals all the troops in the field of battle that the battle has begun and it is time to march.
So we now have three hundred divided into groups of one hundred. "One hundred" in biblical numerics is the number for God's elect, His first fruits. So God took these three groups of one hundred each and placed them on three sides of the Midianite camp which was in the valley. Each of these men were hand picked by God because they were alert and fit for battle. This is God's battle, and He will have the victory. His Spirit moved over the minds of the Midianites, and they are like a bunch of scared cattle standing ready for the lightning to strike, and Gideon's three hundred men are going to be God's bolt of lightning.
These three hundred men without God and the His preparation before hand, wouldn't have had a chance against the Midianites. They would have been slaughtered to the last man. But you see, God makes the difference. God knows how men think and how they react, and He also knows how man likes to create problems within his own mind. Therefore God has these people drawn to the point of bursting at the slightest indication of trouble.
Judges 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."
These three groups of men would creep down the hill to the edge of the Midianite camp, and when they all were very close to them, Gideon instructed his men to do exactly what he did. Just follow my lead and when I sound the charge, then you sound your charge with your trumpet.
Judges 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 Gideon.' "
Not only are the men to blow the trumpet, but they are all to yell "The sword of the Lord, and Gideon". It is time for Gideon the "cutter downer" to do some cutting. The "Sword of the Lord" is the "Word of God", and the Word of God cuts people, and molds people into the shape they ought to be.
The usual method of battle is to have one trumpeter to the company of one hundred men. So with three hundred men all blowing their trumpets at the same time from many directions, it gave the appearance of thirty thousand fighting men attacking the camp of the Midianites. This action is in the dead of the night, and there is no way to see out there on the hillside just how many men were coming at them, but the fear of God had already prepared the Midianites for the stampede that was about to begin.
Judges 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."
So this battle happened just after ten P.M. in the evening, after the sun had gone down. The changing of the guard for the night had just taken place. It is during the time of the first part or hour of the sleep that is the deepest sleep. It is hard to be aroused in the first hour of your sleep and have any sense of presence of mind about you. Those first moments after you have been awakened is a confusing time.
Judges 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 withall: and they cried, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon."
What a sight that must have been when these three hundred men were sounding their trumpets and the Midianites were scrambling to get their drawers on, tripping over tent pegs and head for the camels. They knew in their mind that a great army was coming their way, and they wanted to flee from the camp sight.
Judges 7:21 And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled."
You can just see these Midianites running over each other, and fighting with each other in their terrorizing fear to get out of the camp. This even happens today in combat when friendly fire comes down on your position. This is where one squad forgets where another squad is, and fires in a direction where they know someone else is. This is the action that was going on in the Midianite camp, and it was like a crowd going into a panic in a large stadium and walking over each other. In the aftermath of the event there are many victims, and people killed and badly hurt.
Judges 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 Beth-shattah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath."
"Beth-shattah" translated means the "house of the locust". This massive people of the Midianites and their friends are heading home to their own people. The locust army of Midianites of Gideon's day are scattering. "Abel-meholah" means they are "prancing", while "Tabbath" is "to celebrate". These Midianites are prancing alright, and the Midianite camp looks like there is one big celebration at the sound of Gideon's three hundred trumpets blowing.
Judges 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."
Once the three hundred men started the stampede of the midianites in the middle of the night, then all the other men of the tribes joined in and wanted part of the action. These Midianites had been stripping the land of Israel clean for many years, and now it is time to finish the job and get rid of them for good.
Judges 7:24 "And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan." Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan."
The men of Israel are taking back all of their land from these Midianites.
Judges 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."
"Oreb" actually has two meanings, "Raven" and "Arab". "Zeeb" is translated to mean "wolf". These two names are names of scavengers. Keep in mind that the Israelites put up with these Bedouins for many years, and allowed them to steal as scavengers from them and strip them of all their wealth. Now that Gideon has these Midianites on the run, courage came back into the men of Israel, and it is time to get even. All it took was for one person to make a stand, and go out in the middle of the night and tare down the heathen altars of Baal, and cut down the grove symbols. One person made the difference to free God's people from their heathen gods, and traditions.
God is looking for a few persons that will simply study His Word and obey what He has instructed them to do from His Word. It all starts with the commitment of one soul committing himself to do the will of God. Then when you make that commitment to God, the Spirit of God will direct you to God's way. This is why we have security when we are in the hand of God. It is time to study God's marching orders for the spiritual battle that is coming upon us today, and those orders are in His Word, all of His Word from cover to cover. The Old Testament is an ensample of how it shall be in the New Testament, and in our generation.
God understands you because He created and formed you and your soul. He knows what makes you tick, and what you are thinking when you are forming the thoughts in your mind. He knows that you are not perfect, and that is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, for in Christ we are made perfect by Him. Through our faith and belief in Jesus Christ, we can come to the Father in Jesus name in repentance for the sins that we have committed. Our Heavenly Father has promised us that when we do, he will make us a new creature. Yes, we will sin again after we are saved, for that is the nature of the flesh man that our soul is within, but we have a Father in heaven that is always ready to hear our prayers of repentance, and bring us back to Himself. That is the freedom that we have in Christ when we are obedient to Him.
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