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

Judges 7:7, NIV: The LORD said to Gideon, 'With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.'

Judges 7:7, ESV: And the LORD said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”

Judges 7:7, KJV: And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.

Judges 7:7, NASB: And the LORD said to Gideon, 'I will save you with the three hundred men who lapped, and will hand the Midianites over to you; so have all the other people go, each man to his home.'

Judges 7:7, NLT: The LORD told Gideon, 'With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.'

Judges 7:7, CSB: The Lord said to Gideon, "I will deliver you with the three hundred men who lapped and hand the Midianites over to you. But everyone else is to go home."

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

God's call on Gideon included empowering him with the Holy Spirit (Judges 6:34), leading to a large army of volunteers gathering to fight Midianite invaders (Judges 6:35). Almost immediately, however, God used two sorting methods to reduce that force to a tiny fraction of its original size (Judges 7:2–6). Here, God confirms that He intends to use only the smaller portion of the men—300—and to send the other several thousand home. At this point, the Israeli forces are now outnumbered something like 450-to-1 (Judges 8:10). Nevertheless, God promises to give Gideon victory over those enemies.

Over the millennia, commentators have debated if God's test in these last two verses was practical, or merely a way to reduce the size of the army. Some suggest it was clearly better for soldiers to stay in a ready position, making the 300 more diligent. Others note that the Midianites were not close enough for a surprise attack, so that factor was not as important. Still others suggest that those who instinctively kneeled did so out of customary idol worship, while those who did not kneel were not in such a habit. Yet another theory, proposed by ancient historians such as Josephus, is that the 300 men were more defective, somehow, making the victory even more impressive.

Regardless of the exact reasons, God has now reduced Gideon's task force to a relatively tiny number. That group will be sent to purge enemy invaders from the land. The rest are sent home—most likely to wait in reserve until they are called.