Judges 7:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 7:8, NIV: So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley.

Judges 7:8, ESV: So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

Judges 7:8, KJV: So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

Judges 7:8, NASB: So the three hundred men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And Gideon dismissed all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the three hundred men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

Judges 7:8, NLT: So Gideon collected the provisions and rams' horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him. The Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon.

Judges 7:8, CSB: So Gideon sent all the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred troops, who took the provisions and their ram's horns. The camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

What does Judges 7:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

God has used a two-stage test to reduce Gideon's forces. If the numbers given in these passages are literal, Israel's forces will be outnumbered something like 450-to-1 (Judges 7:7; 8:10). The first test was a standard practice commanded by God in the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 20:5–8; Judges 7:3): everyone desperately afraid was allowed to go home. That left only a third of the original volunteers. The next test was to let those men drink from a brook and divide out those who drank the water from their hands instead of directly from the brook with their faces. That left only 300. The Lord has promised Gideon to give him victory over the swarming Midianite raiders (Judges 6:5) with those 300 men.

In obedience, Gideon sends several thousand men back to their tents. The 300 took the provisions the people had given to the army and their trumpets and prepared for the battle. The Midianite camp was approximately five miles, or eight kilometers, along the valley below the Israelite position.