Gideon attacks the Midianites
1 Gideon and his army got up the next morning. They marched to the spring of water at Harod. They made their camp near there. The Midianite army made their camp in the valley near the hill of Moreh. They were north of the Israelite army. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, ‘You have too many men in your army. When I put the Midianites under your power, your soldiers may boast about their own strength. They may say that they have won the battle themselves. 3 So say to the men, “If you are very afraid of the battle and you are shaking with fear, you may go.” ’ So 22,000 men left that place and they went home. But 10,000 soldiers remained with Gideon.
4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, ‘There are still too many men. Take them to the spring of water to drink. I will test them for you there. If I say, “This man should go with you,” then take him. But if I say, “This man should not go with you,” then do not take him.’ 5 So Gideon took the men to the spring of water. The Lord said to Gideon, ‘Put the men who use their tongues to drink like a dog in one group. Put the men who go down on their knees to drink in another group.’
6 300 men used their tongues to drink the water. The other men all went down on their knees to drink. 7 The Lord said to Gideon, ‘I will use those 300 men to rescue you and put the Midianites under your power. Let all the other men return to their homes.’
8 Gideon kept the 300 men with him. He took the food and trumpets from the other men and he gave it to the 300 men. Then Gideon sent the other men home.
The camp of the Midianite army was in the valley below the Israelites. 9 That night the Lord said to Gideon, ‘Get up now. Go down and attack the camp of the Midianites. I have put them under your power. 10 But if you are afraid to attack them now, take your servant Purah down to their camp. 11 Listen to what the Midianites are saying to each other. That will make you brave enough to attack them.’ So Gideon took Purah with him to the edge of the Midianite army's camp, where they had guards. 12 The valley was full of Midianites, Amalekites and all the people from the east. They covered the ground like locusts. There were too many men to count. Their camels also were more than the sand on the shore of the sea.
13 When Gideon came closer, he heard a Midianite soldier tell his friend about a dream. The soldier said, ‘In my dream, I saw a loaf of bread that was rolling into our camp. It hit one of our tents and it knocked the tent down to the ground!’
14 The other soldier replied, ‘This dream is telling us about Joash's son Gideon, the leader of the Israelites. It shows us that he has the power to kill us. God has put Midian and all our army under his power!’
15 When Gideon heard this news about the dream and its meaning, he praised God. He returned to the Israelites' camp. He shouted to his men, ‘Get up now! The Lord has put Midian's army under your power!’ 16 He divided his 300 men into three separate groups. He gave a trumpet and an empty pot to each soldier. Each man put a burning branch into his pot.
17 Gideon said to his men, ‘Watch me carefully. When we get near to the enemy's camp, you must do the same thing that I do. 18 You will be all around the camp. I and my group of men will make a noise with our trumpets. Then you must also make a noise with your trumpets. Then shout, “We are fighting for the Lord and for Gideon!” ’
19 Gideon took 100 men with him to the edge of the Midianites' camp. It was the middle of the night. A new group of Midianite guards had just started their work. Gideon's men made a loud noise with their trumpets. They also broke the pots that they were holding. 20 Then all three groups of Israelite soldiers made a noise with their trumpets that they held in the right hands. They broke their pots and they held their burning branches in their left hands. Then they shouted, ‘Fight for the Lord and for Gideon!’ 21 They all stood in their places around the Midianites' camp. Then the whole Midianite army ran away! They were shouting as they ran as fast as they could run.
22 When Gideon's 300 men made a noise with their trumpets, it confused the Midianites everywhere in their camp. The Lord caused them to attack one another with their swords. Their army ran away to Beth Shittah, on the road towards Zererah. They ran as far as the border of Abel Meholah, near Tabbath. 23 Then Gideon told men from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher and Manasseh to chase the Midianites.
24 Then Gideon sent men to the hill country of Ephraim with this message: ‘Come down to the valleys and stop the Midianites from escaping. Put guards on all the places where people go across the streams and rivers. Do that on the Jordan river as far as Beth Baran.’ So all the men of Ephraim's tribe came together. They put guards on the Jordan river and the streams, as far as Beth Barah. 25 They caught the two leaders of the Midianite army, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb. They killed Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They continued to chase the Midianites. They took the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was now on the east side of the Jordan river.
1 The men of Ephraim's tribe asked Gideon, ‘Why have you insulted us? You should have called us to join with you to fight against the Midianites.’ They were very angry and they argued with Gideon. 2 Gideon said to them, ‘What you did in the fight was more important than what I was able to do. My family started the battle, but your tribe finished the job! 3 God chose you to take power over the leaders of Midian's army. You killed Oreb and Zeeb! Nothing that I did was as great as that!’
When Gideon said that, the men of Ephraim stopped being angry.