|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:16-22 This method of defeating the Midianites may be alluded to, as exemplifying the destruction of the devil's kingdom in the world, by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, the sounding that trumpet, and the holding forth that light out of earthen vessels, for such are the ministers of the gospel, 2Co 4:6,7. God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, a barley-cake to overthrow the tents of Midian, that the excellency of the power might be of God only. The gospel is a sword, not in the hand, but in the mouth: the sword of the Lord and of Gideon; of God and Jesus Christ, of Him that sits on the throne and the Lamb. The wicked are often led to avenge the cause of God upon each other, under the power of their delusions, and the fury of their passions. See also how God often makes the enemies of the church instruments to destroy one another; it is a pity that the church's friends should ever act like them.
Verse 21. - They stood, etc. Gideon's men did not advance, but stood, each company in the place assigned to them, at different sides of the-camp. This had the effect of awakening the whole camp simultaneously, and they started to their feet and ran hither and thither in confusion, shouting as they went. Undisciplined troops, especially excitable Orientals, are very liable to be thus thrown into a panic. Fled. The Cethib has, caused to fly, i.e. either "put to flight," or "carried away," as in Judges 6:9; Exodus 9:20. In the former case the nominative must be the Israelites; in the latter, their tents, herds, stuff, etc., must be understood. Both are very awkward. The Keri, fled, is probably right, unless caused to fly has the sense of "bid them fly," in which case the preceding word, cried, might be taken in its common sense of they sounded an alarm. The whole clause would then run thus: And all the camp ran; and they sounded a retreat, and bid them flee.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they stood every man in his place around the camp,.... To see the salvation of God, and that it might most clearly appear to be his own doing; and indeed, had they gone into it, they could have done nothing; they had no weapons in their hands, a trumpet in one hand, and a lamp in the other; though this their position served to increase the terror of the enemy, who might suppose that they stood either to light and introduce a large army at the back of them; or to light the forces already in the midst of them, while they destroyed them; which latter seems rather to be the thing their imaginations were possessed with, since they fell to slaying their fellows, supposing them to be enemies, as in the following verse:
and all the host ran, and cried, and fled; or "were broken" (l); as some render the first word, their lines were broken; they could not put themselves in rank and file, but were thrown into the utmost confusion; and cried as being in the utmost danger of their lives, and fled for their safety as fast, as they could; see Isaiah 27:13.
(l) "confracta", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus.
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