As Gideon prepares for his first battle, he has 32,000 camped at the spring of Harod, while the Midianites are north by the hill of Moreh in the valley. But God decides there are too many of them. He wants the number reduced, so that the people know without a doubt that the victory does not come from their own might, but from the one true God. 22,000 leave at first in verse 3, but God has them “tested” by the manner that they drink from the spring to further reduce the force to 300 (verses 4-6).
To again boost the confidence of the timid warrior, God sends him to the outskirts of their camp to overhear one of the foes relating his dream to a comrade, which foretells the victory (verses 13-14). Though their number is “as the sand that is on the seashore,” Gideon is convinced; and separates the 300 into three groups on each side. They charge armed with 300 trumpets and glass jars with torches inside. The sound of the breaking glass, trumpets, and shouting (verse 19-20) had the desired effect in verse 21, and the victory was complete in verses 24-25.
(Side note: An brief article on this chapter with great modern photographs of the landmarks of this scene can be found at the following link to Ferrell’s Travel Blog)
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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