Judges 7:12
And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
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(12) Like grasshoppers.—Comp. Judges 6:5; Numbers 22:4-5.

Their camels.—Which constitute the chief wealth of Arab tribes. “The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah” (Isaiah 60:6).

As the sand.—See Joshua 11:4, and frequently in the Bible. (See Genesis 22:17; Isaiah 48:19, &c.)

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 armed men - The word is rendered harnessed in Exodus 13:18 (see the note). The most probable meaning of the word is arrayed in divisions or ranks. 12. the Midianites and the Amalekites … lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number—a most graphic description of an Arab encampment. They lay wrapt in sleep, or resting from their day's plunder, while their innumerable camels were stretched round about them. No text from Poole on this verse. And the Midianites and the Amalekites, and the children of the east,.... The Arabians, who with the Amalekites joined the Midianites in this expedition:

lay along in the valley in the valley of Jezreel, in their tents, which overspread the valley, or at least great part of it:

like grasshoppers for multitude; or locusts, which usually come in great numbers, and cover the air and the sun where they fly, and the earth where they light, as they did the land of Egypt; this army consisted at least of 135,000 men, as is clear from Judges 8:10.

and their camels were without number; as the sand is by the sea side for multitude; an hyperbolical expression, setting forth the great number of them which the countries of Midian and Arabia abounded with; and were very proper to bring with them, to load and carry off the booty they came for, the fruits of the earth; see Judges 6:4.

And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
12. and the Amalekites etc.] See on Jdg 6:3, and cf. Jdg 6:5.

lay along] lay settled, like locusts: the vast numbers explain both Gideon’s fear and the ease with which he escaped observation. But the verse is made up of standing expressions, and may be an editorial insertion; it rather interrupts the connexion between Jdg 7:11; Jdg 7:13.Gideon was to divide the people by putting all those who should lick the water with their tongue as a dog licketh into one class, and all those who knelt down to drink into another, and so separating the latter from the former. The number of those who licked the water into their mouth with their hand amounted to 300, and all the rest knelt down to drink. "To lick with their hand to their mouth," i.e., to take the water from the brook with the hollow of their hand, and lap it into the mouth with their tongue as a dog does, is only a more distinct expression for "licking with the tongue." The 300 men who quenched their thirst in this manner were certainly not the cowardly or indolent who did not kneel down to drink in the ordinary way, either from indolence or fear, as Josephus, Theodoret, and others supposed, but rather the bravest-namely those who, when they reached a brook before the battle, did not allow themselves time to kneel down and satisfy their thirst in the most convenient manner, but simply took up some water with their hands as they stood in their military accoutrements, to strengthen themselves for the battle, and then proceeded without delay against the foe. By such a sign as this, Bertheau supposes that even an ordinary general might have been able to recognise the bravest of his army. No doubt: but if this account had not been handed down, it is certain that it would never have occurred to an ordinary or even a distinguished general to adopt such a method of putting the bravery of his troops to the test; and even Gideon, the hero of God, would never have thought of diminishing still further through such a trial an army which had already become so small, or of attempting to defeat an army of more than 100,000 men by a few hundred of the bravest men, if the Lord himself had not commanded it.

Whilst the Lord was willing to strengthen the feeble faith of Gideon by the sign with the fleece of wool, and thus to raise him up to full confidence in the divine omnipotence, He also required of him, when thus strengthened, an attestation of his faith, by the purification of his army that he might give the whole glory to Him, and accept the victory over that great multitude from His hand alone.

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