Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.CHAPTER 7 The Victory of Gideon
1. The sifting of Gideon’s army (Judges 7:1-8)
2. The dream of the Midianite (Judges 7:9-15)
3. Victory through weakness (Judges 7:16-25)
Gideon “the cutter down,” now also called Jerubbaal “the contender with Baal,” after his faith had been strengthened, pitched his camp at the well of Harod (trembling). The Lord did not need the large army he had gathered, lest Israel would say: “Mine own hand hath saved me.” First 22,000 were let go. They were afraid. What an evidence of the sad conditions among the people. Jehovah had commanded through Moses this test. “And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and faint hearted? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart” (Deuteronomy 20:8). Faint heartedness and fear are but unbelief. Faith is courage and does not reckon with iron-chariots, with the powers of Midian, but with an omnipotent Lord. After the 22,000 had left, 10,000 remained and the Lord said again, “The people are too many.” Only 300 were selected who took up water out of the brook in their hands as they drank. Kneeling down, drinking in leisure, is the natural way for man to do. They showed thereby that they were inclined to take matters easy and to satisfy their need to the full. Taking the water into the hand and lapping it like a dog is not the natural way for man to drink. They were less absorbed with satisfying their natural wants. They showed thereby their eagerness to press on. Thus the army was narrowed down to the 300 whom the Lord would use in His service. How many of the Lord’s people today like Gideon’s army are unfit for service? Unbelief and too much occupation with earthly things, the creature wants, stand in the way.
To encourage Gideon still more the Lord permitted him to overhear how a soldier related his dream. That dream was like Nebuchadnezzar’s great dream given by the Lord. The loaf of barley bread which smote the tent is another figure of the Word of God. Midian and Amalek, the world and the lusts of the flesh, can only be dealt with and overthrown by the Bread of Life, the living and abiding Word of God.
Read in connection with Gideon’s victory 2Corinthians 4:4-12. Here we find a blessed application. The light hath shined into our hearts, so that it might shine out. The pitchers, the earthen vessels, represent our old self. If the light is to shine out, the victory to be won, the old self must be broken to pieces.