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Judges 7

1 - Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people who were with him, rose up early, and encamped beside the spring of Harod. Midian's camp was on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

2 - The LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel brag against me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'

3 - Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.'" So twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

4 - The LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. It shall be, that those whom I tell you, 'This shall go with you,' the same shall go with you; and whoever I tell you, 'This shall not go with you,' the same shall not go."

5 - So he brought down the people to the water; and the LORD said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps of the water with his tongue, like a dog laps, you shall set him by himself; likewise everyone who bows down on his knees to drink."

6 - The number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people bowed down on their knees to drink water.

7 - The LORD said to Gideon, "By the three hundred men who lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, each to his own place."

8 - So the people took food in their hand, and their trumpets; and he sent all the men of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the three hundred men; and the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

9 - That same night, the LORD said to him, "Arise, go down into the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand.

10 - But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp.

11 - You will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened to go down into the camp." Then went he down with Purah his servant to the outermost part of the armed men who were in the camp.

12 - The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is on the seashore for multitude.

13 - When Gideon had come, behold, there was a man telling a dream to his fellow. He said, "Behold, I dreamed a dream; and behold, a cake of barleybread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat."

14 - His fellow answered, "This is nothing other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. God has delivered Midian into his hand, with all the army."

15 - It was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and its interpretation, that he worshiped. Then he returned into the camp of Israel, and said, "Arise; for the LORD has delivered the army of Midian into your hand!"

16 - He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all them trumpets, and empty pitchers, with torches within the pitchers.

17 - He said to them, "Watch me, and do likewise. Behold, when I come to the outermost part of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so you shall do.

18 - When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and shout, 'For the LORD and for Gideon!'"

19 - So Gideon, and the hundred men who were with him, came to the outermost part of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but newly set the watch. Then they blew the trumpets, and broke in pieces the pitchers that were in their hands.

20 - The three companies blew the trumpets, broke the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands with which to blow; and they shouted, "The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!"

21 - They each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran; and they shouted, and put them to flight.

22 - They blew the three hundred trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, and against all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth Shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath.

23 - The men of Israel were gathered together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued Midian.

24 - Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against Midian, and take before them the waters, as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan!" So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together, and took the waters as far as Beth Barah, even the Jordan.

25 - They took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at Oreb's rock, and Zeeb they killed at Zeeb's wine press; and pursued Midian. Then they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

Judges Images and Notes

The Book of Judges

Judges 4:1 - And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD
Judges 6:6 - And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
Judges 6:7 - And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
Judges 6:8 - That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel.

ARCHAEOLOGY

Philistine Captives Temple of Ramses III

Wall Relief with Philistines

The ancient Egyptian temples reveal what the Philistines looked like in the ancient world. In the sculptured scenes within the funerary temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, near Thebes in Upper Egypt, is an incredible bas relief portraying Philistine captives. Pharaoh had hired these warriors as mercenaries. Rameses III who reigned from 1198-1167 BC saw that the Canaanite area was being invaded and with the help of the Philistines he established peace, according to his own record. Later the Philistines rose to a powerful position in the region with five powerful cities, they flourished in the time of Samson and the judges, their supremacy might have been due to their formal acknowledgment of pharaohs authority. Within a couple centuries they disappeared from history.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survery - Judges
Hebrew Name - Shophtim "Judges or Deliverers"
Greek Name - Krites (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Samuel (According to Tradition)
Date - From 1425 to 1120 BC Approximately
Theme - 7 cycles of idolatry, oppression, repentance, and deliverance during the first 300 years in the land of Canaan
Types and Shadows - In Judges Jesus is the great judge and deliverer of His people

Summary of The Book of Judges

In the book of Judges we can see the first 300 years of the history of Israel, from the time of the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel the last of the Judges. All of the events mentioned in the book of Judges are not meant to be given in a strict chronological order and it is impossible to determine exact dates. Everything that took place happened really on a local level in the land of Israel and not necessarily on a national level. The first two chapters deal with the death of Joshua and after his death and the generation surrounding him, "there arose another generation after them, who did not know the Lord or the work which he had done for Israel" (Judges 2:10).

This generation of Israelites, and every generation after that during this time period fell into idolatry, they forgot the commands of God and there is a severe decline morally and spiritually. As each generation unfolded idolatry would prevail, a foreign invasion would take place and oppress the people of Israel in that local area, they would cry out to God for help, and God would send a deliverer. This cycle happened seven times in the book of Judges and speak clearly about the cycle of sin and its consequences, as well as God's love and willingness to send help when his people cry out to him.

Quick Reference Map
The Judges and the 12 Tribes of Israel
Map of the Judges and the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Click to Enlarge)


The book of Judges records six such major invasions:

Outline of the Book of Judges

The first was the Mesopotamian invasion from the northeast (Judges 3:8-11) from which Othniel delivered his people.

The second was by the Moabites and came from the southeast (Judges 3:12-20). Israel was delivered from the Moabites by Ehud, the left handed assassin of the Moabite king, Eglon.

The third invasion came under the Canaanite leaders Jabin and Sisera (Judges 4, 5). Israel was delivered from the Canaanites by Deborah, the only woman judge of which there is any record. It is interesting to note that Sisera himself was killed by a woman, Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite.

The Midianite invasion from the southeast (Judges 6-9) lasted seven years and was ended under the bold leadership of Gideon.

The foolish vow of Jephthah, which cost him the life of his daughter, came after he delivered Israel from the fifth invasion, that by the Ammonites from the east (Judges 10:6-11:40).

The sixth invasion was by the Philistines, from the southwest, and was apparently something of a recurrent nature rather than one particular campaign. During a period of at least 200 years, Israel was delivered from the Philistines by Shamgar, Samson, Samuel, Saul, and David.

The major social problem stemmed from the recurrent failure of the Israelites to drive the Canaanites out of the land, a direct violation of God's commandment. The Israelites then intermarried with the Canaanites, adopting many of their customs. This assimilation of Canaanite culture promoted the growth of idolatry which constituted the religious problem of the people.

The three most prominent deities of Canaanite worship were Baal, Asherah, and Dagon.

Baal was usually represented by a stone pillar and was a god of fertility, usually worshipped in the groves. At various times Baal-worship included fornication (Jeremiah 7:9 ), self-mutilation (1 Kings 18:28), and human sacrifice (Jeremiah 19:5). Baal is the deity most often mentioned in the Old Testament as being a snare for the people of God.

The symbol of Asherah was a wooden post set up in the "high places" of idolatrous worship. The Phoenician goddess of procreation and love, she was the chief female deity and is often mentioned in connection with Baal.

Dagon was a Philistine deity having the body of a fish with human hands and a human face. It was a temple of Dagon which Samson pulled down in his final act of strength.

There is seen in the book of Judges a consistent pattern—Israel is oppressed by a foreign power; the people cry to God and he raises up a judge to deliver them from their predicament; after peace is established the people become complacent and relapse into idolatry.

The judges, although chosen by God, to lead His people, were not always men of ideal character, yet they fulfilled God's purposes in delivering Israel. They served in a multiple role as judicial, military, and spiritual leaders. The period of the judges may be said to extend through the life of the last judge, Samuel, whose death is recorded
in 1 Samuel 25.

Quick Reference Maps - Judges

The Twelve Tribes and the Judges

Hazor

Jezreel

Mizpeh

Zorah

The Danites

Gibeah

Jabesh Gilead

 

The First Day. Light.

Judges Resources

The Judges

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