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Judges 7:1-8

Context
Gideon Reduces the Ranks

7:1 Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and his men 1  got up the next morning and camped near the spring of Harod. 2  The Midianites 3  were camped north of them near the hill of Moreh in the valley. 7:2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you. 4  Israel might brag, 5  ‘Our own strength has delivered us.’ 6  7:3 Now, announce to the men, 7  ‘Whoever is shaking with fear 8  may turn around and leave Mount Gilead.’” 9  Twenty-two thousand men 10  went home; 11  ten thousand remained. 7:4 The Lord spoke to Gideon again, “There are still too many men. 12  Bring them down to the water and I will thin the ranks some more. 13  When I say, ‘This one should go with you,’ pick him to go; 14  when I say, 15  ‘This one should not go with you,’ do not take him.” 16  7:5 So he brought the men 17  down to the water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “Separate those who lap the water as a dog laps from those who kneel to drink.” 18  7:6 Three hundred men lapped; 19  the rest of the men 20  kneeled to drink water. 7:7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men who lapped I will deliver the whole army 21  and I will hand Midian over to you. 22  The rest of the men should go home.” 23  7:8 The men 24  who were chosen 25  took supplies 26  and their trumpets. Gideon 27  sent all the men of Israel back to their homes; 28  he kept only three hundred men. Now the Midianites 29  were camped down below 30  in the valley.

1 tn Heb “and all the people who were with him.”

2 sn The name Harod means, ironically, “trembling.”

3 tn Heb “Midian.” The LXX reads “and Amalek” (cf. v. 12; 6:33).

4 tn Heb “the people who are with you are too numerous for me to give Midian into their hand.”

5 tn Heb “might glorify itself against me.”

6 tn Heb “my hand has delivered me.”

7 tn Heb “call into the ears of the people.”

8 tn Heb “afraid and shaking.”

9 tc Many interpreters reject the MT reading “and leave Mount Gilead” for geographical reasons. A possible alternative, involving rather radical emendation of the Hebrew text, would be, “So Gideon tested them” (i.e., thinned the ranks in this manner).

10 tn Heb “people.” The translation uses “men” because warriors are in view, and in ancient Israelite culture these would be only males. (This is also the case in vv. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.)

11 tn Or “turned around, back.”

12 tn Heb “too many people.”

13 tn Heb “test them for you there.”

14 tn Heb “he should go with you.”

15 tn Heb also has “to you.”

16 tn Heb “he should not go.”

17 tn Heb “the people.”

18 tn Heb “Everyone who laps with his tongue from the water, as a dog laps, put him by himself, as well as the one who gets down on his knees to drink.”

19 tc The Hebrew text adds, “with their hands to their mouths,” This makes no sense in light of v. 5, which distinguishes between dog-like lappers (who would not use their hands to drink) and those who kneel (who would use their hands). It seems likely that the words “with their hands to their mouths” have been misplaced from v. 6. They fit better at the end of v. 5 or v. 6. Perhaps these words were originally a marginal scribal note which was later accidentally inserted into the text in the wrong place.

20 tn Heb “the people.”

21 tn Heb “you.” The Hebrew pronoun is masculine plural, probably referring to the entire army.

22 tn The Hebrew pronoun here is singular.

23 tn Heb “All the people should go, each to his place.”

24 tn Heb “The people.”

25 tn The words “who were chosen” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

26 tn The Hebrew text has “in their hands.”

27 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Gideon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

28 tn Heb “tents.”

29 tn Heb “Midian.”

30 tn The Hebrew text adds “him” (i.e., Gideon).



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