Judges 7:4

4 But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

Read Judges 7:4 Using Other Translations

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; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.
And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' shall not go."
But the LORD told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.”

What does Judges 7:4 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Judges 7:4

And the Lord said to Gideon, the people are yet too many
Though they were but just the number that Barak had with him, when he attacked Sisera's army and got the victory, which yet was ascribed to God, whose hand was manifestly seen in it; but as these might be supposed to be able men of valour that remained, they were too many for God to have that glory he intended to display in this victory:

bring them down unto the water;
from the hill on which they were, to a brook that ran at the bottom of it, perhaps a stream from the fountain or well of Harod, ( Judges 7:1 )

and I will try them for thee there,
or "purge them" F1, as silver is purged from dross, so the word signifies, as Kimchi observes, the righteous from the wicked, as he thinks; who, with others, suppose that by those who bowed on their knees to drink, were such as had been used to bow the knee to Baal, and the rest not, and so one were discerned from the other; but this trial was only for the sake of Gideon, to direct him whom he should take with him, and whom not:

and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, this shall go with thee,
the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, this
shall not go with thee, the same shall not go;
by the different manner of his men drinking at the water, later related, Gideon knew not who should go with him, and who not, whether they that bowed down to drink, or only lapped the water; this was determined by the mouth of the Lord, as follows but this trial was only for the sake of Gideon, to direct him whom he should take with him, and whom not:

and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, this shall go with thee,
the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, this
shall not go with thee, the same shall not go;
by the different manner of his men drinking at the water, after related, Gideon knew not who should go with him, and who not, whether they that bowed down to drink, or only lapped the water; this was determined by the mouth of the Lord, as follows.


FOOTNOTES:

F1 (wnprua) "defaecabo", Drusius; "eliquabo, seu purgabo", Piscator.
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