Judges 7:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 7:23, NIV: Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites.

Judges 7:23, ESV: And the men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and from Asher and from all Manasseh, and they pursued after Midian.

Judges 7:23, KJV: And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.

Judges 7:23, NASB: And the men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.

Judges 7:23, NLT: Then Gideon sent for the warriors of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, who joined in chasing the army of Midian.

Judges 7:23, CSB: Then the men of Israel were called from Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh, and they pursued the Midianites.

What does Judges 7:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Gideon's strategy, likely given to him by the Lord, has worked beautifully (Judges 7:15–18). By positioning just 300 men around the camp and blowing horns and shouting and holding torches (Judges 7:19–22), they have convinced the enormous horde (Judges 8:10) they were under attack by a massive force. The Lord caused confusion to fall on the camp; at least some of this was probably due to Midianites accidentally attacking their own returning guards during the chaos. That, in turn, would lead others to attack the attackers, creating a wave of utter mayhem.

Thanks to this combination of darkness, fear, trumpets, and shouting, the Midianites attacked each other for a time before fleeing to the east. The hope of the survivors was to get across the Jordan River and escape into the desert.

Gideon, of course, doesn't want them to escape. He wants to end their annual raids on Israel (Judges 6:1–5) once and for all. So, he presumes he will need more than just 300 soldiers with trumpets and torches. As his men pursue the terrified enemy, they send messages to the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh to help give chase. Those called into the hunt may very have included the men dismissed earlier that day through God's unique sorting process (Judges 7:2–9).

Scholars differ on their view of this verse. The text does not mention direction from the Lord about calling out men of Israel to pursue and attack the Midianites. For that reason, some speculate Gideon went beyond what the Lord intended, perhaps losing the Lord's blessing. Others assume this was the Lord's plan all along, especially since the Midianites and their allies are so thoroughly defeated. In either case, the victory will be an epic rout.