Judges 7:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 7:21, NIV: While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

Judges 7:21, ESV: Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled.

Judges 7:21, KJV: And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

Judges 7:21, NASB: And each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled.

Judges 7:21, NLT: Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape.

Judges 7:21, CSB: Each Israelite took his position around the camp, and the entire Midianite army began to run, and they cried out as they fled.

What does Judges 7:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Every one of Gideon's 300 soldiers stood his ground around the Midianite camp, making a daring attack at night. This must have required remarkable courage and confidence. Even seeing the massive horde beginning to wake up and move around, Gideon's soldiers stay in their places and continued to blow their trumpets and shout their battle cry (Judges 7:15–20). Earlier verses describe what the Israelite soldiers must have seen when they held their torches high:
"The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance." (Judges 7:12)
The result in the Midianite camp reveals Gideon's strategy to be a masterful use of psychological warfare. Hundreds of trumpets, in a normal army, would imply many thousands of men. They surround the enemy. Gideon's men attack just as armed guards are making their way back at the end of their watch, past sleeping men in a dark camp. Those awakened by the chaos likely mistook some of the returning men as the enemy and attacked them. That, in turn, would lead others to attack the attackers, each assuming they were being invaded.

Like ripples in a pool of water, this wave of chaos, panic, and confusion seems to have spread almost instantly through the entire Midianite camp. The foreign raiders (Judges 6:1–5) shout in terror and try to run away. Instead, they ran into each other—and fought with one another (Judges 6:22).