Jerub-Baal (Gideon) got up early the next morning, all his troops right there with him. They set up camp at Harod's Spring. The camp of Midian was in the plain, north of them near the Hill of Moreh.
God said to Gideon, "You have too large an army with you. I can't turn Midian over to them like this - they'll take all the credit, saying, 'I did it all myself,' and forget about me.
Make a public announcement: 'Anyone afraid, anyone who has any qualms at all, may leave Mount Gilead now and go home.'" Twenty-two companies headed for home. Ten companies were left.
God said to Gideon: "There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I'll make a final cut. When I say, 'This one goes with you,' he'll go. When I say, 'This one doesn't go,' he won't go."
So Gideon took the troops down to the stream.
Three hundred lapped with their tongues from their cupped hands. All the rest knelt to drink.
God said to Gideon: "I'll use the three hundred men who lapped at the stream to save you and give Midian into your hands. All the rest may go home."
After Gideon took all their provisions and trumpets, he sent all the Israelites home. He took up his position with the three hundred. The camp of Midian stretched out below him in the valley.
That night, God told Gideon: "Get up and go down to the camp. I've given it to you.
If you have any doubts about going down, go down with Purah your armor bearer;
when you hear what they're saying, you'll be bold and confident." He and his armor bearer Purah went down near the place where sentries were posted.
Midian and Amalek, all the easterners, were spread out on the plain like a swarm of locusts. And their camels! Past counting, like grains of sand on the seashore!
Gideon arrived just in time to hear a man tell his friend a dream. He said, "I had this dream: A loaf of barley bread tumbled into the Midianite camp. It came to the tent and hit it so hard it collapsed. The tent fell!"
His friend said, "This has to be the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite! God has turned Midian - the whole camp! - over to him."
When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he went to his knees before God in prayer. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and said, "Get up and get going! God has just given us the Midianite army!"
He divided the three hundred men into three companies. He gave each man a trumpet and an empty jar, with a torch in the jar.
He said, "Watch me and do what I do. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly what I do.
When I and those with me blow the trumpets, you also, all around the camp, blow your trumpets and shout, 'For God and for Gideon!'"
Gideon and his hundred men got to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after the sentries had been posted. They blew the trumpets, at the same time smashing the jars they carried.
All three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands, ready to blow, and shouted, "A sword for God and for Gideon!"
They were stationed all around the camp, each man at his post. The whole Midianite camp jumped to its feet. They yelled and fled.
When the three hundred blew the trumpets, God aimed each Midianite's sword against his companion, all over the camp. They ran for their lives - to Beth Shittah, toward Zererah, to the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.
Israelites rallied from Naphtali, from Asher, and from all over Manasseh. They had Midian on the run.
Gideon then sent messengers through all the hill country of Ephraim, urging them, "Come down against Midian! Capture the fords of the Jordan at Beth Barah."
So all the men of Ephraim rallied and captured the fords of the Jordan at Beth Barah. They also captured the two Midianite commanders Oreb (Raven) and Zeeb (Wolf). They killed Oreb at Raven Rock; Zeeb they killed at Wolf Winepress. And they pressed the pursuit of Midian. They brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)