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Judges 6:16

ESV And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
NIV The LORD answered, 'I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.'
NASB Yet the Lord said to him, 'I will certainly be with you, and you will defeat Midian as one man.'
CSB "But I will be with you," the Lord said to him. "You will strike Midian down as if it were one man."
NLT The Lord said to him, 'I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.'
KJV And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

What does Judges 6:16 mean?

The Lord doesn't answer any of Gideon's objections about saving Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6:11–15). Instead, God simply says, "I will be with you." The Lord always insists that's the only answer any person should need to hear. Man's power is always irrelevant next to the will of their Creator (Luke 18:27; Exodus 15:6).

Moses objected to God's call in a way much like Gideon's excuses." God answered by saying, "But I will be with you" (Exodus 3:11–12). When a startled Jeremiah pointed to his poor speech and youth, the Lord answered, "I am with you to deliver you" (Jeremiah 1:6–8). Here, God gives the same answer to Gideon. It's the only and obvious cure to every inadequacy raised in response to God's call. Even when the task seems impossible, this is the truthful answer.

The Lord adds that because He is with Gideon, the victory will be clear and convincing. Commentators suggest two ways of reading this reference to "[striking] the Midianites as one man." Either option makes sense in this context, and its possible both are in mind. The first possibility is that God meant Israel would rally behind Gideon and they would fight with the unity and cooperation of a single person. Another possibility is that this is a prediction that Gideon would defeat every Midianite, to the last man, until none were left to oppress Israel.

Either way, Gideon is still dubious. God's initial reference to him as a "mighty man of valor" (Judges 6:12) becomes more ironic as the conversation continues (Judges 6:17).
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