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Gideon Overcomes the Midianites

The Lord said unto Gideon: "The people that are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands. Israel will boast that they saved themselves. Now, therefore, let all who are afraid depart to their homes." When Gideon told the people this, twenty-two thousand of them left, and ten thousand stayed with Gideon to fight the Midianites.

"The people are yet too many," said the Lord to Gideon. "Bring them down unto the water, and every one that laps water with his tongue like a dog you shall set to one side, and every one that kneels down to drink you shall set to one side." Gideon did as the Lord told him and found that three hundred men put their hands to their mouths to drink water and lapped it as dogs do, but all the rest knelt down to drink.

"By the three hundred that lapped the water will I save you and deliver the Midianites into your hands. All the others may go, every man to his own home," commanded the Lord.

Gideon took the three hundred away, and gave them food and trumpets and sent all the others away. And the hosts of the Midianites were encamped in the valley. They were in numbers like a cloud of grasshoppers, and their camels were many.

Gideon went down into the valley with his servant to hear what the Midianites said and he came near to the camp. When he had come near, there was a man of the Midianites who told his dream to his fellow. He said: "I dreamed a dream, and a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the hosts of Midian and came unto a tent, and smote it, so that it fell along the ground." And the fellow replied to the dreamer: "This is nothing else than the sword of Gideon, for into his hand has God delivered Midian and all his hosts."

Gideon returned to his men at once and called to them: "Arise for the Lord has delivered into your hand the host of Midian." And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in each man's hand, and an empty pitcher, with a lamp in each pitcher.

He then told his men: "Watch me and do as I do. When I come to the outside of the camp and blow my trumpet then shall each of you blow your trumpet and cry aloud, The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."

Gideon and the three hundred men came to the outside of the camp in the middle of the night, and the Midianites did not know they were anywhere near. Then Gideon blew his trumpet, and all the three hundred men blew their trumpets, and broke their pitchers, and held aloft the lamps in their left hands while they held the trumpets in their right hands.

They made a tremendous noise, with their trumpets and shouting, and their lamps looked like the oncoming of a great host of soldiers. The Midianites were overcome with fear. They ran from their tents and fled in great haste. In the confusion they began to slay one another not knowing who were their enemies. They fought among themselves throughout the host, and continued to flee as long as they heard the trumpets and the shoutings of Israel.

The hosts of Israel gathered for the pursuit and followed the Midianites to the River Jordan. They took two kings captive and slew them and brought their heads to Gideon. Thus were the Midianites overthrown and the children of Israel had to serve them no longer.

Gideon went again to his own home and lived to a good old age. When he died he was buried in the sepulchre of his father, and forever after the people of Israel told their children the story of how he and his three hundred men put to flight the great hosts of Midian.