DO YOU see what is happening here? These are all fighting men of Israel. The men bending down are taking a drink. Judge Gidʹe·on is the man standing close to them. He is watching how they drink the water.
Look closely at the different ways in which the men are drinking. Some are putting their face right down to the water. But one is taking the water up in his hands, so that he can watch what is going on around him. This is important, for Jehovah told Gidʹe·on to choose only the men who keep watching while they drink. The rest, God said, should be sent home. Let’s see why.
The Israelites are in a lot of trouble again. The reason is that they have not obeyed Jehovah. The people of Midʹi·an have gained power over them and are hurting them. So the Israelites cry to Jehovah for help, and Jehovah listens to their cries.
Jehovah tells Gidʹe·on to get an army, so Gidʹe·on gathers together 32,000 fighting men. But there is an army of 135,000 men against Israel. And yet Jehovah tells Gidʹe·on: ‘You have too many men.’ Why did Jehovah say that?
It is because if Israel won the war, they might think that they won by themselves. They might think that they didn’t need Jehovah’s help to win. So Jehovah says to Gidʹe·on: ‘Tell all the men who are afraid to go back home.’ When Gidʹe·on does this, 22,000 of his fighting men go home. That leaves him only 10,000 men to fight against all those 135,000 soldiers.
But, listen! Jehovah says: ‘You still have too many men.’ So he tells Gidʹe·on to have the men drink at this stream and then to send home all the people who put their face down to the water to drink. ‘I will give you the victory with the 300 men who kept watching while they drank,’ Jehovah promises.
The time comes for the fight. Gidʹe·on puts his 300 men in three groups. He gives to each man a horn, and a jar with a torch inside it. When it is about midnight, they all gather around the camp of enemy soldiers. Then, at the same time, they all blow their horns and break their jars, and shout: ‘Jehovah’s sword and Gidʹe·on’s!’ When the enemy soldiers wake up, they are confused and afraid. They all begin to run, and the Israelites win the battle.