Judges 7:25
They also captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian; and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. So they pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side of the Jordan.
A Good GeneralW. Burrows, B. A.Judges 7:15-25
A Meagre EquipmentJudges 7:15-25
Blowing the TrumpetsN. Y. EvangelistJudges 7:15-25
Divine Providence Overruling the ResultJ. P. Millar.Judges 7:15-25
Gideon's Gallant Three HundredD. Davies.Judges 7:15-25
Gideon's VictoryG. A. Rogers, M. A.Judges 7:15-25
Gideon's WatchwordH. E. J. Bevan, M. A.Judges 7:15-25
LampsJohn Mitchell.Judges 7:15-25
Our LifeDean Goulburn.Judges 7:15-25
The Battle of the PitchersT. De Witt Talmage.Judges 7:15-25
The Finite-InfiniteF. Ferguson, D. D.Judges 7:15-25
The Natural and SupernaturalD. Lewis.Judges 7:15-25
The Sword of the Lord, and of GideonC. Leach, D. D.Judges 7:15-25

Judges 7:22-ch. Judges 8:4, 10-13
A model of diplomatic skill, judicial sternness, and soldier-like hardihood and resolution. Far from home, amid hardship in strange regions, he tracks the enemy even into the inaccessible Hauran. There is a Syrian proverb, He fled into the War of the Safa, i.e. into an unassailable refuge.

I. THE CO-OPERATION IS SOUGHT OF ALL ISRAELITES WHO CAN BE OF HELP. He had reasons for keeping the glory to his own trusty band. But there is no selfishness in his disposition. The advantage of his nation and the glory of Jehovah is uppermost in his mind. He finds work, therefore, for all All are engaged, that it may be a national victory. Some have to lay the foundations, begin the work, sow the seed; others can then carry out. The least Christian has something he can do. It is a duty of leaders to make and indicate fitting work for all. "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few." Ephraim can do one part of the work best; he another. And having hitherto abstained, they were quite fresh now.

II. A SAGACIOUS AND KINDLY FORBEARANCE IS SHOWN TO THE JEALOUSIES OF BRETHREN. No word of rebuke is spoken to the tribes that held back. Persuasion is used, opportunity for usefulness is presented, the patriotism of the tribes is relied upon. It was no time for questions and wranglings. Well would it be for the different branches of Christ's Church did they follow a similar policy. Would that we were all so busy that we had no time for doctrinal disputes and questions of precedence and apostolic authority!

III. NO PAUSE OR REST IS OBSERVED UNTIL THE TASK IS COMPLETED, The deserted Midianite camp with all its riches does not tempt. Hunger and thirst and weariness are endured rather than lose the advantage. Only a determination to follow up the surprise with thorough and exemplary vengeance could have sustained him. So the conflict with sin and the world is to be conducted. Better to wear out than to rust out. Evil habits, unholy practices, false principles have to be tracked out to their last refuges and finally disposed of. It is harder work to live out Christianity than to be converted to it; harder work to follow out in detail, and into the practice and life of every day, the great doctrines of righteousness than to understand and explain them intellectually. There is a loud call for vigour, thoroughness, patient continuance in well-doing. The day is Christ's; let us make it wholly his. - M.

Arise, for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

1. In the general effect produced.

2. In the use of the particular means employed.


1. She is still surrounded by enemies numerous as the sand on the sea shore.

2. The enemies are a heterogeneous confederation. Science, philosophy, criticism, atheism, agnosticism, etc.

3. The attacks are persistently made.

4. Every possible advantage is on the side of the enemy. Truth is in the minority, and has always been exposed to the grossest misrepresentation.

5. The inherent power of Bible truth makes victory certain in the end.

(J. P. Millar.)

A trumpet... empty pitchers, and lamps

1. The pitcher is made of potter's clay, even as man was formed of the dust of the ground.

2. Again, the pitcher's manufacture is brittle, and easily shattered into a thousand fragments.

3. Notice, as a final point of comparison, the intransparent character of the earthen vessel. If we desire to see the beauty and brilliancy of a light, and at the same time to preserve it from extinction by the rude breath of the atmosphere, we must perforce find for it a transparent medium of glass or crystal; hardly a ray will struggle out of the mouth of a pitcher. The human body is an inapt vehicle for certain strong and passionate emotions of the natural soul. We speak, for example, of a grief that is too deep for tears, and much more for the spiritual emotions of a holy and devout soul. Those emotions are rather hindered than furthered by the material body. The mortal frame is not a fitting tabernacle for the display of the exhibition of grace.

II. Consider THE LIGHT WITHIN THE PITCHER; the soul, or immaterial part of man, enclosed for the present within a material framework, the breath of lives breathed into the vessel of clay.

1. First, there is the animal life. And even this lowest species of life is very beautiful and glorious, and worthy of Him from whom it emanates. Like a flame it is most subtle, and, as it were, eludes the grasp and ken of man. How does it interpenetrate the whole realm of nature! And yet you cannot tell where it resides. It is transfused through matter without taking up its abode in any particular locality. Like a flame it glows in the ruddy cheek of health; like a flame it glances and sparkles in the sunlit stream; like a newly-kindled lamp it gradually dawns in the opening bosom of the flower. Learn to bless God for natural as well as for spiritual life.

2. But to turn to the second kind of life — rational — the life of the intellect. This, too, is a very subtle and very beautiful emanation from the Father of life. I spoke of animal life just now as diffused through the whole realm of matter. How does the keen and active intellect of man seek to explore and penetrate through all subjects and substances. How beautiful does the tide of words gush forth from the pen or from the lip! How is the reader or the audience carried along against his will, and captivated by the happiness and beauty of such discourse! And whence this happiness and beauty? It is the lamp of life-rational struggling forth, the spirit within the earthen pitcher; it is the fire-brand of the human mind shaking off on every side its lustrous sparkles.

3. But there was yet a higher life breathed into man at his first creation — spiritual life. And if the two former lives admit of a comparison with a lamp or a fire-brand, how much more apt is such a similitude to set forth the life of the immortal spirit. By the life of the spirit I mean that life which evinces itself in holy affections of joy, love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. It resembles a flame principally in the circumstance that it aspires towards heaven. Like a flame, moreover, it has a wonderful property of self-propagation. Spiritual life kindled in one little dark corner of the earth will soon, by throwing out sparks as of a fire-brand, light up other beacons near and around it. And, finally, amongst those so brought, there subsists the warmth of spiritual intercourse, which is called, in the technical language of theology, the "communion of saints."

(Dean Goulburn.)

1. I learn, in the first place, from this subject, the lawfulness of Christian stratagem. You all know what strategy is in military affairs. Now I think it is high time we had this art sanctified and spiritualised. In the Church, when we are about to make a Christian assault, we send word to the opposing force when we expect to come, how many troops we have, and of course we are defeated. There are thousands of men who might be surprised into the kingdom of God. We have not sufficient tact and ingenuity in Christian work. We have in the kingdom of God to-day enough troops to conquer the whole earth for Christ if we only had skilful manoeuvring.

2. I learn from this subject also that a small part of the army of God will have to do all the hard fighting.

3. Again, I learn from this subject that God's way is different from man's, but is always the best way. If we had had the planning of that battle, we would have taken those thirty-two thousand men that originally belonged to the army, and we would have drifted them, and marched them up and down by the day, week, and month. But that is not the way. God depletes the army, and takes away all their weapons, and gives them a lamp, and a pitcher, and a trumpet, and tells them to go down and drive out the Midianites. I suppose some wiseacres were there who said, "That is not military tactics. The idea of three hundred men, unarmed, conquering such a great host of Midianites!" It was the best way. What sword, spear, or cannon ever accomplished such a victory as lamp, pitcher, and trumpet? God's way is different from man's way, but it is always best. Take, for instance, the composition of the Bible. If we had had the writing of the Bible, we would have said, "Let one man write it. If you have twenty or thirty men to write a poem, or make a statute, or write a history, or make an argument, there will be flaws and contradictions." But God says, "Let not one man do it, but forty men shall do it." And they did, differing enough to show there had been no collusion between them, but not contradicting each other on any important point. Instead of this Bible, which now I can lift in my hand — instead of the Bible that the child can carry to school — instead of the little Bible the sailor can put in his pocket when he goes to sea — if it had been left to men to write, it would have been a thousand volumes, judging from the amount of ecclesiastical controversy which has arisen. God's way is different from man's, but it is best, infinitely best. So it is in regard to the Christian life. If we had had the planning of a Christian life we would have said: "Let him have eighty years of sunshine, a fine house to live in; let his surroundings all be agreeable; let him have sound health; no trouble shadow his soul." I enjoy the prosperity of others so much I would let every man have as much money as he wants, and roses for his children's cheeks, and the fountains of gladness glancing in their large round eyes. But that is not God's way. It seems as if a man must be cut, and hit, and pounded, just in proportion as he is useful.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

It was said by Napoleon that God was on the side of the strongest battalions. Notwithstanding our present advances, materialism is still deified. Gideon's first battle teaches another lesson. We may go back to rude ages in order to learn the might of moral forces.

I. A GOOD GENERAL IS LED, not by caprice, not by the promptings of ambition, not by the desire of spoil, not by the voice of an unthinking host, but by patriotism, by the love of humanity broadly considered, and by the leading of the Eternal.

II. A GOOD GENERAL LEADS. Gideon himself gave the example of brave deeds: took his part in the fray, ready to do, dare, die. Consider the Captain of our salvation. He goes before in every conflict.

III. A GOOD GENERAL INSPIRES. The men catch the burning enthusiasm of their leader.

IV. A GOOD GENERAL WISELY DISPOSES. Three companies. Christ places each where best for him.

V. A GOOD GENERAL SKILFULLY USES UNLIKELY WEAPONS. The ram's horn of gospel preaching more affectual than the silver trumpet of philosophy. Fishermen have beaten the savants. A tinker's the greatest name in modern literature. A cobbler a great missionary. A weaver mightiest of explorers.

VI. A GOOD GENERAL RAISES A GOOD BATTLE-CRY: "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." Better than Napoleon's — "Gentlemen, remember that forty centuries are looking down upon you."



(W. Burrows, B. A.)

Valuable as the light of the sun and moon is to us, yet there are times when we cannot enjoy either, and therefore require artificial lights. And of these we have a fair variety. We might notice a few of the lamps that are in daily use amongst us.

I. THE STREET LAMP. This light is for the benefit of the public generally. But we have living street lamps as well. They give us moral and spiritual light. Every true Christian is a lamp, lit by God with the light of Christ, and is to be like the street lamp, giving light to the multitudes who pass by. And we ought to be unselfish, and whether in storm or sunshine we should show our light. And although one lamp does not seem to be of great importance, yet a number of them give us a light almost as good as the sun.

II. THE HOUSE LAMP. The first place where Christians ought to shine is at home. There we must stand up for Christ and show whose side we are on. Sometimes we find people ready to make a great profession in the street or at the meeting, but very different at home. They may thus deceive men, but they cannot deceive God.

III. THE PRIVATE LAMP OR LANTERN. This is a faithful companion to us when in the country on dark evenings. We are all travellers on life's journey, the way is strange, and the end hid from our view, and unless we can find lamp we must be eternally lost. We discover in Scripture the assurance that, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

IV. THE STABLE LAMP. This lamp would scarcely be suitable for the mansion, but it is well adapted for the stable. And among Christian lights we have some suited for one sphere and some for another.

V. THE LIGHTHOUSE LAMP. This is a stationary light, and as such is of great service. Let us as Christians seek to be as steady lights, contented with our lot and shining there. The lighthouse is a saving light. Multitudes have been saved by them. We as Christians ought to be saving lights. If we have been saved ourselves we must seek to save others.

(John Mitchell.)

N. Y. Evangelist.
Each man had one, and each blew it as he joined in the assault. They did not leave this business to their leader alone. Just so should every Christian soldier make it his duty to proclaim the glad tidings of the kingdom of grace and redemption. Not that every private in the ranks is to aspire to be a Gideon — a captain of the army. A battalion cannot be all officers, whether the corps be Caesar's or Christ's. While all cannot guide and control the movement of the host, all can assert, with consenting voice and stroke, the merits of the cause for which it has taken the field. Every Christian is not called to the pulpit. But this is by no means the only method of publishing salvation. "Let him that heareth say, Come." They therefore mistake who think they have no word to utter for God. Every man blew his trumpet. They blew together — commander and followers. So do not always the men of Christ's army. While zeal for their Master may move the energies of part, others have lost sight of the point of successful assault, have loitered or laboured elsewhere very much to no purpose. Or their note is a dispiriting one, sounding a retreat rather than an onward, resolute movement. Their tones of brooding discontent spread discouragement through the whole encampment. Gideon and the three hundred blew their trumpets together. It not unfrequently happens that the minister blows one note, but many of his band a very different one. How many sermons preached in the fear of God, on the Sabbath, are utterly negatived by professed believers of the gospel in the family, the workshop, the counting-house. Look at this common and mischievous habit among Church members. Men and women of Israel, remember that if the Church is to speak effectually for God in the ear of a disobedient world, it must speak in unison, in harmony.

(N. Y. Evangelist.)

It is always pathetic to read of that experience of Agassiz when as a young man he was summoned to Paris to be associated with a great naturalist. He was too poor to provide himself with the appropriate instruments for the conduct of his work; so poor he could not procure a decent coat in which he might present certain letters of introduction. He was no mean man in the esteem and knowledge of the world even then, but he was poor. He had a meagre equipment, but the very meagreness of his equipment had in it a sufficiency for the thing he had in hand, and in spite of the want of equipment he rose to be our greatest naturalist.

The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon
There is a strange power in a battle-cry. In certain circumstances a single word, or a simple motion, may rouse men to a frenzy of heroism. One electric sentence, such as that addressed by Nelson to his men, "England expects that every man this day will do his duty," may be the making of a victory. It brings before the imagination in a moment such a picture of country, of home, of duty, of fame, as suffices to awaken some of the grander elements of the mind. A battle-cry is fitted to inspire confidence in friends and fear in foes. It is not strange, therefore, that the followers of Gideon, so few in number, should seek, as they were about to meet the countless hosts of Midian and Amalek, to fortify their hearts with a stirring watchword — "They cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" What strikes us at first as somewhat strange is that they should add the name of Gideon to the name of the Lord. It is not without good reason that this addition is made. Just as great and abstract ideas have not their full influence over the mind until they are associated with some illustration — embodied in some concrete form; so the thought of God, in the height and infinitude of His being, has not that practical influence on the mind as mere abstraction, which it has when associated with some human agency — when brought down to the earth and brought near to us in the form of a man. Hence, indeed, the incarnation of God in man. And so the battle-cry of Christianity is, not merely the sword of the Lord, but the sword of the Lord and His Christ. Besides, it was literally the arm of Gideon, as well as the arm of the Lord, that gained the victory; and therefore we have suggested to us by these words the union of the Divine and the human in the work of the world, or the co-existence and co-operation of the Infinite and the finite.

I. THE FACT OF THIS UNION. As the planet flies swiftly in its orbit, impelled by the opposing centripetal and centrifugal powers; as the path of the ship is the result of the combined action of wind and helm; as the body of man moves freely over the solid ground, finely balanced between earth, air, and sun; so the path of the soul is the result of the combined action of heaven and earth. The breath of the Divine Spirit fills the sails, and the little helm of the human will is allowed to modify the course.

1. The union of the Divine and the human in the operations of nature. God created paradise and led man into it; but He did not leave His creature to a life of idleness. He put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. The fruits of the earth were to be matured by the touch of man as well as by the power of God. As the seasons revolve in their beauty and variety, the creature has always to unite his energies with those of the Creator to bring the harvest forth. And what is all art and science but man following God, imitating God, working with God? Man looks upon the works of God; and from the union of his beholding mind with these fair forms there come forth the creations of art — the inspired poem, the pale statue, and the coloured canvas. These productions are the combined result of that inspiration which the Almighty has given, and the artist's own earnest labour. The result is cut out by "the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon."

2. The union of the Divine and the human in the administration of secular affairs. What is the true idea of government? Is it not that of a theocracy, or a world in which God is king — a world in which every king is clothed with power as Gideon was, and in which every magistrate's sword is the sword of the Lord as well?

3. More directly is it seen in the individual Christian life that the power of God is working with the power of man. Conversion is pre-eminently a work of God. It is a new creation, and God is the Creator. The wounds of conviction are made by the sword of the Lord. We are born again of God. At the same time, it is no less clear in Scripture that conversion is a work in which man himself must play a part. There is an act of the Divine will, but there is also an act of the human will. We are "justified by faith," and faith is an act of the mind. Every righteous action performed is a fruit both of the Divine Spirit and the human spirit. Every true and believing prayer is at once an inspiration of man and an inspiration of God. In the warfare of the soul the Divine arm and the human arm must both be lifted against the foe; and it is still "the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon," that gains the victory. To the same effect are those wonderful words, "Work out your own salvation... for it is God who worketh in you," etc.

4. The union of the human and the Divine in the work of spreading the gospel.

II. THE INVISIBLE RELATION OF THE TWO POWERS. We cannot draw a line between the two, and say, "There the Divine ends, and here the human begins: up to this point God has been the worker; after that man is the worker." As the battle goes on, we cannot say, "On yonder part of the field are the heavenly forces, and on this part the earthly forces." We cannot say, "Now God has laid down the sword, and now man has taken it up." The two energies are blended in such invisible relation and mysterious co-operation that we cannot thus distinguish them. There is but one sword between the Lord and Gideon; and both grasp the hilt at the same time.


1. It reveals to us the dignity and solemnity of life. We are fellow-labourers with God. We are grasping and wielding the same sword. This truth invests life with the highest sacredness and solemnity. If it does not derogate from God's dignity to work, it cannot derogate from man's. The dignity that comports with or consists in idleness is altogether foreign to true elevation of life.

2. While this co-operation is fitted to lift us up, it is also fitted to cast us down. True humility is wrought in us by the increasing realisation of God's existence and presence. His majesty looks down upon us and His holiness looks in upon us evermore. Earthly honours inflate and pamper the vanity of the human heart, but heavenly honours humble still more the heavenly.

3. The combination of entire dependence upon God with the greatest individual activity. What a blessed thing it is to have the arm of the Almighty to lean upon in our daily life! Dependence upon others is not always desirable; but dependence upon God is our very life and strength. The former has a tendency to produce servility and inactivity, the latter leads to the greatest activity. Those who believe most entirely that everything depends upon God at the same time work as energetically as if everything depended on themselves. Those who have done most good in the world are those who have ascribed all goodness to God.

4. Since God is a worker, the success of His work is certain; but since we also are workers, we should be filled with fear lest we be found unfaithful and fall short at last. The fact that an army has a great general — one who is a host in himself, one sure to lead to victory, does not make the men who fight under him indifferent as to how they fight. It makes them fight all the better. It inspires them with an almost superhuman power. Under the leadership of God, then, what great deeds might we not accomplish, if we had faith to follow Him more closely! With what joy might we even fall in the fight, when we know that the day is already ours! But the practical point for every believer is, that a certain portion of the work is entrusted to him. What an awful responsibility! What a value does this give to time!

(F. Ferguson, D. D.)

Few things are more remarkable than the inspiring power, whether for good or evil, which a short, pithy, pregnant saying possesses for the mind. Proverbs, watchwords, party cries, have always played an important part in human affairs, and leaders of men have ever recognised their value as powerful instruments for swaying and controlling masses of people. No Spartan of old fought tamely who had received from wife or mother that parting mandate, "Return either with your shield or upon it!" No Crusader in the ranks of Richard the Lionhearted, as they charged against the hosts of Saladin, could have heard unthrilled that glorious watchword, "Remember the Holy City!" "God defend the right!" was the suppliant cry of youthful enthusiasm that rang out from the lips of the Black Prince at Cressy. "St. George for England!" was the cheer with which the whole fleet saluted the flagship of Howard of Effingham, in an hour when the heart of England stood still. "Victory or Westminster Abbey!" shouted Nelson as he boarded the great "San Josef" in Sir John Jervis's engagement with the Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent; and in less than eight years afterwards he had signalled along the line at Trafalgar that never-to-be-forgotten message, "England expects that every man will do his duty!" All these watchwords had their meaning, their deep and inspiring meaning, at the time they were uttered, but none ever meant more, ever suggested a mightier truth, than that oldest battle-cry we know of, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon!" Trust in God and implicit faith in and dependence upon His wisdom, power, and love, was the central truth, the central duty, inculcated throughout the Divine education of the chosen race. Trust in God lies at the foundation of all true character; for it is that which "can alone" (to use Martineau's fine words) "render absolute the rules of righteousness," and "save them from the gnawing corrosion of exceptions, and raise them from flexible convictions of men into a law secured on the eternal holiness." "Intellectual integrity," adds the same writer, "moral tenacity, spiritual elevation, all alike involve, in their higher degrees, an unconditional trust in the everlasting sway of Divine justice, wisdom, and love." God saw fit to educate one particular people in this all-important truth, that they might become witnesses to the world, for all time, of that saving spirit of loving and faithful submission to the will of God which found its most perfect exponent in Christ our Saviour. To this end all God's dealings with Israel were invariably directed. Those three hundred men in Gideon's little band did not complain that they had neither sword, nor spear, nor shield. They made the best of what they had, and committed themselves to the guidance of a wise and protecting God. He knew that they must conquer that mighty host (if they were to conquer it at all) not by their own unaided strength, but by His wise generalship. It was for them a bloodless victory. The battle was won, not by their own skill in fighting, but by their obedience to Jehovah and their implicit trust in Him. "By faith" they conquered, "as seeing Him who is invisible," and their victory will remain for all time a parable to successive generations of men. For a parable it is of the battle of life. The divinest success in life is achieved, not through the possession of great power, but by the faithful use of such powers as we have. If God be not for us how shall we prevail? Round your life and round mine there lie foes — hidden, spiritual foes — which we are powerless to conquer in our own unaided strength and wisdom. The evil lusts and passions of our own hearts, and the trials and difficulties and temptations of the world, these are the foes that lie "like grasshoppers for multitude" encamped around our daily life, and if we would conquer them we must fight with the weapons that God has given us, and not be faint-hearted; for we shall overcome, not of ourselves, but by the help and the guidance of Him "who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Nay more, if we would conquer we must surely do so with those same three weapons which Gideon put into the hands of his three hundred warriors — the lamp, and the pitcher, and the trumpet.

1. God commits to each of us a lamp or torch, which is to be trimmed and kept bright through life. Every man has his own torch; his own peculiar powers of mind and body; his own individual character; his own special post in life, and opportunities of influencing others for good or for evil. The work we do and the example we show — this, in short, is the torch we hold as trust from God, who says to each of us, as He said to the Jews of old, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

2. But then, in the second place, we learn that our lamps, like those of Gideon's band, must not be displayed until the proper moment arrives for them to be seen. For awhile they must be concealed, as it were, within empty pitchers. Our characters are not formed, we are not fitted for the work of life, in a moment. Hence those years of school discipline through which we have all passed. This season of preparatory culture and seclusion is as necessary for us men as it was for "the Son of Man," who, for thirty years, during which He prepared Himself for His short ministry, lived a life of retirement and subjection at Nazareth. In His career on earth there was no precocious self-assertion, no premature display. But the time comes when we are each summoned to leave the life of preparation and enter upon our life of work in the world, and then, if we be true servants of God, and neither cowards nor slaves to self, we shall be ready to cast aside the empty pitcher, and hold up before men's eyes a well-trimmed lamp.

3. And then, lastly, there are the trumpets. Just as the torch means man's work and knowledge and character, and the pitcher represents the method by which he receives and matures his light until the hour comes for revealing it, so the trumpet typifies the sound of the human voice, the power with which, by precept and exhortation, by uttered principle and uncompromising assertion of truth, we carry the gospel of Christ into the world. There are so many time-servers amongst men, who will not dare to confess what they believe to be true and know to be right, if it happens to conflict with the popular notions of society. They reserve their principles for congenial company, where they will be safe from contradiction, and they go about the world agreeing, like sycophants, with anything and everybody. But let such men remember that the world owes its highest good to those who have had the courage of their convictions. They are the messengers of truth and of God. "Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the earth." We have thus arrived at the full meaning of that battle-cry, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." It is the motto of our Christian profession. It expresses in a symbol the bloodless victory of the Christian life, through Christ our Lord: the victory which is won with no earthly weapon, but with the "sword of the Spirit."

(H. E. J. Bevan, M. A.)

A company of English soldiers were in disgrace. Through some bad conduct they had for a while lost their colours, and were in trouble about it. It so happened that these men had to take part in some battle where a piece of hard fighting had to be done. One morning the men were in line. Some distance away was a hill held by the enemy which it was extremely important that the English should secure. The commander addressed his men and urged them on to the conflict which was soon to take place. He finished his brief address to them by saying, "Men, your colours are on the top of yonder hill." It was enough. Their souls were fired, and long before the day was out they had dislodged the enemy, secured the hill, wiped out the disgrace in which they had been, and won back their lost regimental colours by their bravery that day. The Church of God is engaged in war against the hosts of the world, and every member of God's Church has to take his share in the conflict, and must seek to remove the enemies of God. If we notice how Gideon and his men carried on their work for God, we may perhaps learn a few things which we may also practise with some profit.

I. WE WILL FIRST NOTICE THEIR UNITY. There were no divisions, no quarrels, no mutinies among them. They stood as they were ordered to stand. Does not this speak to us and with a loud voice? Have the hundreds of God's hosts to-day that spirit of unity which should mark all the soldiers of the Cross? Have we always obeyed orders from headquarters? If the soldiers in the ranks of the armies of the living God could only forget all party difference, and cease to contend about minute distinctions, and present a united front, the kingdom of darkness would soon receive such blows as would make it totter and reel. We have many illustrations in the history of Christianity, of what can be done by a united Church of God.

II. LET US NOW NOTICE THEIR COURAGE. Had they been Englishmen they could not have displayed more fibre and courage than was shown, In its conflict with the world the Church needs men of courage. There never was a time it more needed them than now. There are many great and pressing social and religious problems which need attention and require men of courage and faith to deal with them; and in all her work she needs men of brave hearts and true, who are not easily daunted. She wants brave officers to serve in her ranks — men of skill, piety, and courage. She wants the best sons and daughters in her ranks. She is charged with the responsibility of the salvation of the world. She has to make greater inroads into the ranks of the enemy. God is with us, and God can make us brave and bold.

III. BUT WE MUST NOW NOTICE THE FAITH OF THESE MEN. It was a victory of faith. Oh, what a theme for contemplation the victories of faith furnish! The Church needs men of faith to-day. This is an age of scepticism, of doubt, and criticism. It has become almost fashionable to talk about doubting as if it were a mark of strength and special attainment to do so. The Church wants men who live in the sunshine of strong heroic faith and power. She wants men who can, in mighty faith, march round the strongholds of sin, just as the Israelites marched around ancient Jericho. She needs men who can go with Bible in hand and win victories for God.

IV. IN CONCLUSION, WE WILL BRIEFLY NOTICE THE SUCCESS THEY EXPERIENCED. It was complete. They stood in order round the camp as they were commanded. At the given signal they raised their shouts, broke their pitchers, and flashed their torches. They stood and watched the consternation of the enemy. It was a victory which was God-given and full. The history of the Church of Christ abounds with God-given victories. The victories of the past are to be far surpassed in the future.

(C. Leach, D. D.)


1. In providence.

2. In conversion.

3. In the sustenance of a religious life.

4. In the propagation of the gospel.


1. This is the only way success is to he expected.

2. This is the only way in which success is possible.

3. The co-operation of the natural and supernatural makes success certain.


1. We should endeavour to form a true estimate of ourselves. We can do a little, but cannot do all.

2. Learn to acknowledge the Lord in every success.

(D. Lewis.)



1. The first secret of their strength was that they all realised that the battle they had to fight was not their own, but God's. A man may fight very hard for himself, yet there is a point at which heroism inspired by self-interest fails; but let it be inspired by the love of another, and let that love be centred in an object worthy of the greatest daring, and there you will find a courage which is simply transcendent and irresistible. Look at the men who have wrought the greatest deeds on earth, and you will find that the first thing they emphasised was just this, "We are not come out in our own cause and our own strength, but God's." There would not be sufficient inspiration in any other cause to enable them to meet such overwhelming odds as those which they met with unfaltering step, and at length overcame.

2. As the battle was the Lord's, so the weapons were His: "The sword of the Lord." You notice how Paul emphasises the same truth — "Put on the whole armour of God"; and again, "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?" If we are to be God's soldiers we must be armed with His weapons. A young man enlists in the army; there is a sword given to him; it is not a sword he has had made for himself, but one that has been submitted to certain tests, though, alas! they have been more imaginary than real occasionally. It is the Queen's sword, and as such it is her will that it shall be so made as to be worthy of the mettle of every soldier who will wield it and of the empire that supplies it. The soldier is not allowed to risk his life by getting his village blacksmith to make one for him. There must be the stamp of the Government upon it. The battle is the Queen's and the sword is the Queen's; and when the soldier gets that sword he feels that the whole British Empire has staked its credit largely upon the quality of that sword, as well as the courage of the man who has accepted it. The fact that the Queen supplies the sword, and that it represents the power and the righteousness of the country whom he serves, adds vigour to his arm and determination to his assault. So is it with us. We, as the soldiers of Christ, have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and, thank God, this has never snapped yet in our hands.

3. In a glorious sense Gideon was joint possessor with the Lord of the sword he wielded: "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon." There was no blasphemy in this cry; it was a humble recognition of the fact that God had taken Gideon into His service, and into joint possession of the sword with which Gideon fought. Once again, referring to the ordinary soldier, you ask him, "Whose sword is that?" He replies, "It is mine." Yet he never made it, and never purchased it. You say to him, "Nay, but it is the Queen's sword." He replies, "The Queen gave it me." You add, "Then it is yours." "Yes, the Queen's — and mine"; and it is in that conjunction, "and," which joins the Queen to the poor soldier, that we find the secret of his prowess on the battlefield. Just so here, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon," was the cry which imparted more than human strength to Gideon and his soldiers. God's warriors have to fight with the world and its evil. The sword is the Lord's, but it is also ours. It is given us so that we may make the best use of it, and that every man who has enlisted in Christ's army can say in the same breath, "It is God's battle and mine."

(D. Davies.)

I. THE COMPANIES ENGAGED. Happy is he who is numbered among the three hundred. Be it so that he is in the minority. Many have forsaken him, more are against him. But he is invincible for all that, as long as he does battle with but one weapon, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon."

II. THE TRUMPET'S BLAST. Never did means appear more contemptible than those employed by Gideon. Thus the Lord teaches us that means are weak or strong just according to His appointment. Weak means are strong, powerful, and all-prevailing, when He ordains the end to be fulfilled by them. When God blesses, the worm Jacob can lift up his head, and thresh the mountains. But the mightiest instruments are naught without His blessing. Now, we have here, in the trumpet's blast, the pitchers broken, and the lamps held forth, striking and appropriate emblems of the preaching of the gospel. They are fit emblems of the weakness of the instrument and of the power of its effects. The preaching of the everlasting gospel is as the blowing of Gideon's trumpets. How apparently inadequate the means to the end! How weak, how foolish! "Men must be fanatics to suppose that men's evil passions will be subdued, that the love of sin will be uprooted, that their affections will ever be turned heavenward, by preaching nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Human nature," says the world, "needs something different. If you wish to convert the heathen, civilise them first, and then preach the gospel to them." But let us turn from man to God. He who made the trumpet, knew full well its power. He would not put the trumpet into our hands and bid us blow if the breath of His power were not ready to go forth with the blast. The dead in trespasses and sins hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear do live, and live for ever. Whilst uncertain sounds, a gospel which is not the gospel, settle men in their sins, and cause sport to devils, the clear blast of this trumpet shakes the infernal kingdom to its centre, spreads jubilee among the slaves of earth, and awakens joy in the presence of angels. We pause to ask, have these gladsome notes sounded in your ears in the dead night of your soul? Have you been awakened by the loud blasts of the gospel trumpet?

III. THE PITCHERS BROKEN. Earthen pitchers seemed to be of all things the most absurd to fight with. The three companies might do some execution were they fully equipped. Trumpets might alarm and terrify, but what could pitchers do? How astonished must have been these three hundred men when Gideon said, "Arm yourselves with pitchers"! The result proved the efficiency of these contemptible instruments. They did what no sword, no battle-axe, no spear could do. They held the lights, they contained the lamps. They were nothing in themselves, but they were everything to the enterprise. Now, we have in these pitchers a striking emblem of the ministers of the gospel. They are earthen vessels, carrying the lamp of life. We ask, then — and does not the value of your never-dying interests compel us to ask you? — have you seen this light? have you been guided by that lamp? Has it shone into your mind, and given you the saving knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? Has it been the power of God unto your salvation?

(G. A. Rogers, M. A.).

Abel, Amalek, Amalekites, Asher, Gideon, Israelites, Jerubbaal, Joash, Manasseh, Midianites, Naphtali, Oreb, Phurah, Zeeb
Abel-meholah, Beth-barah, Beth-shittah, Harod, Jordan River, Midian, Mount Gilead, Ophrah, Tabbath, Zererah
Across, Beyond, Capture, Captured, Chiefs, Death, Gideon, Grape-crushing, Heads, Jordan, Killed, Leaders, Midian, Mid'ian, Midianite, Midianites, Oreb, Press, Princes, Pursue, Pursued, Rock, Slain, Slay, Slew, Wine, Winepress, Wine-press, Wine-vat, Zeeb
1. Gideon's army of thirty-two thousand is brought to three hundred
9. He is encouraged by the dream and interpretation of the burley cake
16. His plan of trumpets and lamps in pitchers
24. The Ephraimites take Oreb and Zeeb

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Judges 7:25

     4354   rock
     4546   winepress

A Great victory
TEXT: "And they stood every man in his place round about the camp, and all the host ran, and cried, and fled."--Judges 7:21. Few things in this world are so inspiring to the traveler and at the same time so depressing as a city or temple in ruins. I remember a delightful experience in passing through the ruins of Karnak and Luxor, on the Nile in Egypt, and later passing through Phylae at Assuan on the Nile; and these two thoughts, each the opposite of the other, kept constantly coming to my mind.
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

August 18. "The Three Hundred Blew the Trumpets" (Judges vii. 22).
"The three hundred blew the trumpets" (Judges vii. 22). We little dream, sometimes, what a hasty word, a thoughtless speech, an imprudent act, or a confession of unbelief and fear may do to hinder our highest usefulness, or turn it aside from some great opportunity which God has been preparing for us. Although the Holy Ghost uses weak men, He does not want them to be weak after He chooses and calls them. Although He uses the foolish things to confound the wise, He does not want us to be foolish after
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

'Fit, Though Few'
'Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. 3. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Battle Without a Sword
'And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley-bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. 14. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host. 15, And it was so, when Gideon heard the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Wyclif of the East --Bible Translation
1801-1832 The Bible Carey's missionary weapon--Other vernacular translators--Carey's modest but just description of his labours--His philological key--Type-cutting and type-casting by a Hindoo blacksmith--The first manufacture of paper and steam-engines in the East--Carey takes stock of the translation work at the opening of 1808--In his workshop--A seminary of Bible translators--William Yates, shoemaker, the Coverdale of the Bengali Bible--Wenger--A Bengali Luther wanted--Carey's Bengali Bible--How
George Smith—The Life of William Carey

The New Convert.

John Newton—Olney Hymns

Whether Divination by Auguries, Omens, and by Like Observations of External Things is Unlawful?
Objection 1: It would seem that divination by auguries, omens, and by like observations of external things is not unlawful. If it were unlawful holy men would not make use thereof. Now we read of Joseph that he paid attention to auguries, for it is related (Gn. 44:5) that Joseph's steward said: "The cup which you have stolen is that in which my lord drinketh and in which he is wont to divine [augurari]": and he himself afterwards said to his brethren (Gn. 44:15): "Know you not that there is no one
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Fear is a Mortal Sin?
Objection 1: It seems that fear is not a mortal sin. For, as stated above ([3323]FS, Q[23], A[1]), fear is in the irascible faculty which is a part of the sensuality. Now there is none but venial sin in the sensuality, as stated above ([3324]FS, Q[74], A[4]). Therefore fear is not a mortal sin. Objection 2: Further, every mortal sin turns the heart wholly from God. But fear does not this, for a gloss on Judges 7:3, "Whosoever is fearful," etc., says that "a man is fearful when he trembles at the
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Appendix 2 Extracts from the Babylon Talmud
Massecheth Berachoth, or Tractate on Benedictions [76] Mishnah--From what time is the "Shema" said in the evening? From the hour that the priests entered to eat of their therumah [77] until the end of the first night watch. [78] These are the words of Rabbi Eliezer. But the sages say: Till midnight. Rabban Gamaliel says: Until the column of the morning (the dawn) rises. It happened, that his sons came back from a banquet. They said to him: "We have not said the Shema.'" He said to them, "If the column
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name IMMANUEL , God with us. T here is a signature of wisdom and power impressed upon the works of God, which evidently distinguishes them from the feeble imitations of men. Not only the splendour of the sun, but the glimmering light of the glow-worm proclaims His glory. The structure and growth of a blade of grass, are the effects of the same power which produced the fabric of the heavens and the earth. In His Word likewise He is
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

A Cloud of Witnesses.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.... By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient,
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

Thirdly, for Thy Actions.
1. Do no evil, though thou mightest; for God will not suffer the least sin, without bitter repentance, to escape unpunished. Leave not undone any good that thou canst. But do nothing without a calling, nor anything in thy calling, till thou hast first taken counsel at God's word (1 Sam. xxx. 8) of its lawfulness, and pray for his blessings upon thy endeavour; and then do it in the name of God, with cheerfulness of heart, committing the success to him, in whose power it is to bless with his grace
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Lii. Concerning Hypocrisy, Worldly Anxiety, Watchfulness, and his Approaching Passion.
(Galilee.) ^C Luke XII. 1-59. ^c 1 In the meantime [that is, while these things were occurring in the Pharisee's house], when the many thousands of the multitude were gathered together, insomuch that they trod one upon another [in their eagerness to get near enough to Jesus to see and hear] , he began to say unto his disciples first of all [that is, as the first or most appropriate lesson], Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. [This admonition is the key to the understanding
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Wisdom of God
The next attribute is God's wisdom, which is one of the brightest beams of the Godhead. He is wise in heart.' Job 9:9. The heart is the seat of wisdom. Cor in Hebraeo sumitur pro judicio. Pineda. Among the Hebrews, the heart is put for wisdom.' Let men of understanding tell me:' Job 34:44: in the Hebrew, Let men of heart tell me.' God is wise in heart, that is, he is most wise. God only is wise; he solely and wholly possesses all wisdom; therefore he is called, the only wise God.' I Tim 1:17. All
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Section Chap. I. -iii.
The question which here above all engages our attention, and requires to be answered, is this: Whether that which is reported in these chapters did, or did not, actually and outwardly take place. The history of the inquiries connected with this question is found most fully in Marckius's "Diatribe de uxore fornicationum," Leyden, 1696, reprinted in the Commentary on the Minor Prophets by the same author. The various views may be divided into three classes. 1. It is maintained by very many interpreters,
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

For the understanding of the early history and religion of Israel, the book of Judges, which covers the period from the death of Joshua to the beginning of the struggle with the Philistines, is of inestimable importance; and it is very fortunate that the elements contributed by the later editors are so easily separated from the ancient stories whose moral they seek to point. That moral is most elaborately stated in ii. 6-iii. 6, which is a sort of programme or preface to iii. 7-xvi. 31, which constitutes
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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