Pastoral Commentary for Judges 7:1-8:21
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
"Let Baal Contend" or Jerub-Baal has now become Gideon's nickname, since he overthrew the false god with no consequence. Now the true God is about to show himself mighty through Gideon as he gathers an army to defeat Midian. He told his chosen leader, "You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands." How can you have too many men for battle? God wanted there to be no doubt that Gideon's victory was from the Lord, so that Israel could not boast. God ordered Gideon to send away any men who trembled in fear and two thirds of the army left. Ten thousand was still to many so God commanded them to drink from the river and ordered Gideon to keep only those soldiers who lapped water like a dog. Only those three hundred men would be a part of the victory that God would give. To ensure Gideon's courage God had him overhear a dream reported by a Midianite soldier predicting Israel's victory. Gideon took his men into battle armed with trumpets and torches inside of clay pots. Divided into three companies, on Gideon's command the men blew their trumpets and broke the jars, shouting, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!" The Midianites fled in fear, turning their swords on each other. The men of Ephraim joined the battle and killed two Midianite leaders. As Gideon and his men crossed the Jordan in pursuit of the remainder of Midian's army, he sought supplies from the men of Succoth and Peniel. As a result of their refusal, after the victory Gideon punished the men of Succoth and killed the men of Peniel, tearing down their tower. In the end the Midianite army of more than 140,000 men had been defeated by 300 Israelites with the help of the tribe of Ephraim in the pursuit. God's mighty hand was clearly the cause of such a great victory. When you face overwhelming odds and are successful nevertheless, be sure to give God the glory!