Judges 7:24 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 7:24, NIV: Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, 'Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.' So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they seized the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah.

Judges 7:24, ESV: Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and capture the waters against them, as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they captured the waters as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan.

Judges 7:24, KJV: And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan.

Judges 7:24, NASB: Then Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, 'Come down against Midian and take control of the waters ahead of them, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.' So all the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they took control of the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.

Judges 7:24, NLT: Gideon also sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, 'Come down to attack the Midianites. Cut them off at the shallow crossings of the Jordan River at Beth-barah.' So all the men of Ephraim did as they were told.

Judges 7:24, CSB: Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim with this message: "Come down to intercept the Midianites and take control of the watercourses ahead of them as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan." So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they took control of the watercourses as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.

What does Judges 7:24 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The survivors of the Midianite horde (Judges 7:19–23) are fleeing east from Gideon's army. That force started the nighttime attack with only 300 men but is quickly growing to much larger size. The call has gone out to several local tribes, telling them to join the attack on Israel's oppressors (Judges 6:1–5). Those sent away just before from the initial "attack" on the Midianites (Judges 7:2–9) were probably the first assigned to chase down the fleeing enemy and destroy them before they can escape across the Jordan.

The problem, for now, is that Gideon's men are chasing the enemy, and need to stop them from reaching a particular objective. Israel needs someone to secure river crossings at the Jordan, where the Midianites and their allies will attempt to cross back over into their own countries. Gideon's forces won't be able to outrun their enemy in time to stop them from getting away.

So, Gideon sends messengers—in this context, meaning individual runners or riders, who can move much faster than a large group—to call the men of Ephraim into the battle. He specifically commands they race to the Jordan River and cut off all the crossing points the Midianites might use to escape. This will trap the Midianites between the men of Ephraim at the Jordan and Gideon's pursuing forces. The specific location of Beth-barah is unknown to modern scholars.