So Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh.
The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.
Therefore, tell the people, 'Whoever is timid or afraid may leave a and go home.'" Twenty-two thousand of them went home, leaving only ten thousand who were willing to fight.
But the LORD told Gideon, "There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will sort out who will go with you and who will not."
When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the LORD told him, "Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream."
Only three hundred of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.
The LORD told Gideon, "With these three hundred men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home."
So Gideon collected the provisions and rams' horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the three hundred men with him.Now the Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon.
During the night, the LORD said, "Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them!
But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah.
Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack."So Gideon took Purah and went down to the outposts of the enemy camp.
The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore -- too many to count!
Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his friend about a dream. The man said, "I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!"
His friend said, "Your dream can mean only one thing -- God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over all the armies united with Midian!"
When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he thanked God. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, "Get up! For the LORD has given you victory over the Midianites!"
He divided the three hundred men into three groups and gave each man a ram's horn and a clay jar with a torch in it.
Then he said to them, "Keep your eyes on me. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do.
As soon as my group blows the rams' horns, those of you on the other sides of the camp blow your horns and shout, 'For the LORD and for Gideon!'"
It was just after midnight, after the changing of the guard, when Gideon and the one hundred men with him reached the outer edge of the Midianite camp. Suddenly, they blew the horns and broke their clay jars.
Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands and shouted, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!"
Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran.
When the three hundred Israelites blew their horns, the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.
Then Gideon sent for the warriors of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, who joined in the chase after the fleeing army of Midian.
Gideon also sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down to attack the Midianites. Cut them off at the shallows of the Jordan River at Beth-barah." And the men of Ephraim did as they were told.
They captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two Midianite generals, killing Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. And they continued to chase the Midianites. Afterward the Israelites brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)