Judges 7:10
But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
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(10) To go down.—If thou fear to make the attack at once, without still further encouragement. Let it be borne in mind that the courage required by Gideon and his men was in many respects far beyond that of the much more vaunted 300 at Thermopylæ—(1) because they were to attack, not to defend; (2) because they were to attack a host in the plain, not to hold a narrow valley; (3) because they had not a large number of allies and attendants with them, as the 300 Spartans had (Grote’s Greece, v. 103, 121).

Phurah thy servant.—The name Phurah means “branch”; the word for “servant” is literally boy, but here means the armour-bearer. The classical reader will recall the night-raid of Diomedes and Odysseus into the camp of the Thracians at Troy (Il. x. 220, et seqq.).

7:9-15 The dream seemed to have little meaning in it; but the interpretation evidently proved the whole to be from the Lord, and discovered that the name of Gideon had filled the Midianites with terror. Gideon took this as a sure pledge of success; without delay he worshipped and praised God, and returned with confidence to his three hundred men. Wherever we are, we may speak to God, and worship him. God must have the praise of that which encourages our faith. And his providence must be acknowledged in events, though small and seemingly accidental.The sense is, "And they (the three hundred) took the victuals and trumpets of the people (all the people of Judges 7:7) into their hands." so that each of the three hundred should have a trumpet and a pitcher. Jud 7:9-15. He Is Encouraged by the Dream and the Interpretation of the Barley Cake.

9, 10. Arise, get thee down unto the host … But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant—In ancient times it was reckoned no degradation for persons of the highest rank and character to act as spies on an enemy's camp; and so Gideon did on this occasion. But the secret errand was directed by God, who intended that he should hear something which might animate his own valor and that of his troops.

If thou fear to go down, to wit, without some further assurance of thy success, I will condescend so far to thee, as to give thee another sign.

But if thou fear to go down,.... With his little army, to attack a numerous host in the night, then he is directed to take this step first:

go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host; in a private manner; perhaps this man was his aid-de-camp, or however a trusty servant in whom he could confide, as well as valiant: more it was not proper to take in such a secret expedition, and the fewer the better to trust, and less liable to the observation of the enemy; and yet it was proper to have one with him, being company and animating, and who would be a witness with him of what should be heard; in like manner, and for like reasons, as Diomedes and Ulysses went into the Trojan army (y).

(y) Homer. Iliad. 10. ver. 222, &c.

But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
10. thy servant] A warrior of rank Had an attendant who acted as armour-bearer, cf. Jdg 9:54, 1 Samuel 14:1; 1 Samuel 14:6. With a companion danger is more easily faced; cf. the words of Diomedes when he offers to explore the Trojan camp:

ἀλλʼ εἴ τίς μοι ἀνὴρ ἅμʼ ἕποιτο καὶ ἄλλος,

Μᾶλλον θαλπωρὴ, καὶ θαρσαλεώτερον ἔσται. Iliad X. 222 f.

Judges 7:10Gideon's Battle and Victory. - Judges 7:9-11. The following night the Lord commanded Gideon to go down to the camp of the enemy, as He had given it into his hand (the perfect is used to denote the purpose of God which had already been formed, as in Judges 4:14). But in order to fill him with confidence for such an enterprise, which to all human appearance was a very rash one, God added, "If thou art afraid to go down, go thou with thine attendant Purah down to the camp, and thou wilt hear what they say, and thy hands will thereby become strong." The meaning of the protasis is not, If thou art afraid to go down into the camp of the enemy alone, or to visit the enemy unarmed, take Purah thine armour-bearer with thee, to make sure that thou hast weapons to use (Bertheau); for, apart from the fact that the addition "unarmed" is perfectly arbitrary, the apodosis "thou wilt see," etc., by no means agrees with this explanation. The meaning is rather this: Go with thy 300 men into (בּ) the hostile camp to smite it, for I have given it into thy hand; but if thou art afraid to do this, go down with thine attendant to (אל) the camp, to ascertain the state and feeling of the foe, and thou wilt hear what they say, i.e., as we gather from what follows, how they are discouraged, have lost all hope of defeating you, and from that thou wilt gather courage and strength for the battle. On the expression "thine hands shall be strengthened," see 2 Samuel 2:7. The expression which follows, בּמּחנה וירדתּ, is not a mere repetition of the command to go down with his attendant to the hostile camp, but describes the result of the stimulus given to his courage: And then thou wilt go fearlessly into the hostile camp to attack the foe. בּמּחנה ירד (Judges 7:9, Judges 7:11) is to be distinguished from המּחנה ירד in Judges 7:10. The former signifies to go down into the camp to smite the foe; the latter, to go down to the camp to reconnoitre it, and is equivalent to the following clause: "he went to the outside of the camp."
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