Judges 7:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 7:4, NIV: But the LORD said to Gideon, 'There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go.'

Judges 7:4, ESV: And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.”

Judges 7:4, KJV: And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

Judges 7:4, NASB: Then the LORD said to Gideon, 'The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. So it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.'

Judges 7:4, NLT: But the LORD told Gideon, 'There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.'

Judges 7:4, CSB: Then the Lord said to Gideon, "There are still too many troops. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. If I say to you, 'This one can go with you,' he can go. But if I say about anyone, 'This one cannot go with you,' he cannot go."

What does Judges 7:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Scripture records no response from Gideon after God gives a seemingly unhelpful command (Judges 7:3). It's hard not to imagine that it made him deeply uncomfortable. Gideon's depiction thus far has not been of a man overflowing with confidence (Judges 6:15, 17, 27, 36–40). The fact that no answer is recorded might suggest that there was none: that Gideon simply obeyed, growing in his ability to trust God's plan without excessive doubt.

God seems to be saying that if the current Israelite army, outnumbered as much as fourteen-to-one (Judges 7:3; 8:10) defeats the Midianites, those men might claim credit for the victory. Rather, this victory is to be a clear sign of God's direct intervention. God doesn't need Israeli soldiers to overcome an enemy, and He is about to prove it.

The Lord tells Gideon to take his remaining fighters down to the nearby water. He will test the men there and tell Gideon which to keep with him and which to send away.