Judges 7:18
When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.—Literally, for Jehovah and for Gideon (LXX., Τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ τῷ Γεδεων; Vulg., clangite et conclamate Domino et Gedeoni), but the particle le often has the meaning of, as in “a Psalm to David,” which is found at the beginning of many Psalms. Our version here understands the word “sword” (chereb) from Judges 6:20, as is also done in some MSS. of the LXX. It is better to omit it. The watchword and war-cry, then, resembles that given by Cyrus to his soldiers—“Zeus, our ally and leader” (Cyrop. iii. 28). The mention of his own name was only for the purpose of terrifying the enemy (Judges 7:14).

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.Gideon himself took the command of one company, and sent the other two under their respective captains to different sides of the camp Judges 7:18, Judges 7:21. Jud 7:16-24. His Stratagem against Midian.

16-22. he divided the three hundred men into three companies—The object of dividing his forces was, that they might seem to be surrounding the enemy. The pitchers were empty to conceal the torches, and made of earthenware, so as to be easily broken; and the sudden blaze of the held-up lights—the loud echo of the trumpets, and the shouts of Israel, always terrifying (Nu 23:21), and now more terrible than ever by the use of such striking words, broke through the stillness of the midnight air. The sleepers started from their rest; not a blow was dealt by the Israelites; but the enemy ran tumultuously, uttering the wild, discordant cries peculiar to the Arab race. They fought indiscriminately, not knowing friend from foe. The panic being universal, they soon precipitately fled, directing their flight down to the Jordan, by the foot of the mountains of Ephraim, to places known as the "house of the acacia" [Beth-shittah], and "the meadow of the dance" [Abel-meholah].

He mentions his own name, together with God’s, not out of vain ostentation or arrogance, as if he would equal himself with God; for he mentions God in the first and chief place, and himself only as his minister; but from prudent policy, because his name was grown formidable to them, and so was likely to further his design, and their flight, as it did.

When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me,.... He being at the head of one of the three companies, Judges 7:19 perhaps the middlemost, which might stand for the body of the army; and the other two be one to the right and the other to the left of him, and so could more easily discover his motions:

then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp; for it seems they were so disposed as to be around the camp, which when the trumpets were blown at once on every side, with such a blaze of light, and crashing of the pitchers, must be very terrifying, as if there was no way for them to escape, and especially when they should hear the following dreadful sounds:

and say, the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon; or "for the Lord, and for Gideon"; and which may be supplied, either the light is for the Lord, and for Gideon; or the victory is for the Lord, and for Gideon; we supply it from Judges 7:20. The name Jehovah, these Heathens had often heard, as the God of Israel, would now be dreadful to them, and the name of Gideon also; whose name, as appears by the interpretation of the dream, was terrible among them; for which reason Gideon added it, and not out of arrogance and vanity; and puts it after the name of the Lord, as being only an instrument the Lord thought fit to make use of, otherwise all the glory belonged to him.

When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, {i} The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

(i) That is, the victory shall be the Lord's and Gideon's his servant.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 18. - The sword of the Lord, etc. The word sword is not in the original here, though it is in ver. 20. It has either dropped out of the text accidentally, or what we have here is the shorter form of the war-cry. It is observable how careful Gideon is to put the name of Jehovah first. It was his cause against Baal, and the battle was to be fought in his strength, and the glory of the victory was to be his. The cry, "The sword of Gideon," would be peculiarly terrible to the many who had heard of the dream, of which the fulfilment was come so quickly. Judges 7:18When therefore he had heard the dream related and interpreted, he worshipped, praising the Lord with joy, and returned to the camp to attack the enemy without delay. He then divided the 300 men into three companies, i.e., three attacking columns, and gave them all trumpets and empty pitchers, with torches in the pitchers in their hands. The pitchers were taken that they might hide the burning torches in them during their advance to surround the enemy's camp, and then increase the noise at the time of the attack, by dashing the pitchers to pieces (Judges 7:20), and thus through the noise, as well as the sudden lighting up of the burning torches, deceive the enemy as to the strength of the army. At the same time he commanded them, "See from me, and do likewise," - a short expression for, As ye see me do, so do ye also (כּן, without the previous כּ, or כּאשׁר as in Judges 5:15; see Ewald, 260, a.), - "I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me; ye also blow the trumpets round about the entire camp," which the 300 men divided into three companies were to surround, "and say, To the Lord and Gideon." According to Judges 7:20, this war-cry ran fully thus: "Sword to (for) the Lord and Gideon." This addition in Judges 7:20, however, does not warrant us in inserting "chereb" (sword) in the text here, as some of the early translators and MSS have done.

(Note: Similar stratagems to the one adopted by Gideon here are recorded by Polyaenus (Strateg. ii. c. 37) of Dicetas, at the taking of Heraea, and by Plutarch (Fabius Max. c. 6) of Hannibal, when he was surrounded and completely shut in by Fabius Maximus. An example from modern history is given by Niebuhr (Beschr. von Arabien, p. 304). About the middle of the eighteenth century two Arabian chiefs were fighting for the Imamate of Oman. One of them, Bel-Arab, besieged the other, Achmed ben Said, with four or five thousand men, in a small castle on the mountain. But the latter slipped out of the castle, collected together several hundred men, gave every soldier a sign upon his head, that they might be able to distinguish friends from foes, and sent small companies to all the passes. Every one had a trumpet to blow at a given signal, and thus create a noise at the same time on every side. The whole of the opposing army was thrown in this way into disorder, since they found all the passes occupied, and imagined the hostile army to be as great as the noise.)

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