Title: Judges 7. Gideon, part 39: Spiritual weapons of warfare.
JDG 7:19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch [10 pm], when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands.
JDG 7:20 When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, "A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!"
JDG 7:21 And each stood in his place around the camp; and all the army ran, crying out as they fled.
The torches were somehow hidden by the pitchers or else they would have been very easily spotted.
A sudden sound of broken pitchers, the immediate appearance of hundreds of lantern lights upon them, the sudden blast of trumpet, and then the sudden shout of "Jehovah" all created confusion and panic in the camp and the Midianites fought themselves. All Israel had to do was stand there: grace.
The Midianites would have believed that there was a large army upon them. This is God using psychological warfare. In the dark they imagined that Jewish troops were in the camp, but they were not. Not knowing who was friend and who was foe they fought one another, and by Israel standing outside the camp, they were protected by God from the slaughter.
We follow the commands of God, the will and way of God, and then we stand by and watch His deliverance.
This takes diligence, perseverance, courage, bravery and all of that from faith in His word and in His way. It is the only truth and the only way and with your faith in that, you will not desert it.
Midian is killing himself in confusion. God turned the great oppressor of His people to massive infighting and self-destruction, which His people stand and watch.
The wicked will eventually fall into their own traps:
PSA 141:8 For my eyes are toward Thee, O God, the Lord;
In Thee I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.
PSA 141:9 Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me, And from the snares of those who do iniquity.
PSA 141:10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I pass by safely.
David writing about his fleeing from Saul and hiding in a cave:
PSA 57:4 My soul is among lions;
I must lie among those who breathe forth fire,
Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
And their tongue a sharp sword.
PSA 57:5 Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Thy glory be above all the earth.
Notice the juxtaposition David uses. The sons of men with their cruel and ugly words and their hatred and small mindedness are on the earth creating their own muck and mire to live in and David finds himself knee deep in it, but God is exalted above the heavens, above all the earth, above it all where the air is clear and righteousness reigns and David simply acknowledges this and exalts God in his soul, in other words, he worships God. He also waits for God's deliverance.
PSA 57:6 They have prepared a net for my steps;
My soul is bowed down;
They dug a pit before me;
They themselves have fallen into the midst of it.
PSA 9:1 I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Thy wonders.
PSA 9:2 I will be glad and exult in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.
PSA 9:3 When my enemies turn back, They stumble and perish before Thee.
PSA 9:4 For Thou hast maintained my just cause; Thou dost sit on the throne judging righteously.
PSA 9:5 Thou hast rebuked the nations; Thou hast destroyed the wicked; Thou hast blotted out their name forever and ever.
PSA 9:6 The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins, And Thou hast uprooted the cities; The very memory of them has perished.
PSA 9:7 But the Lord abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment,
PSA 9:8 And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.
PSA 9:9 The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble,
PSA 9:10 And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.
PSA 9:11 Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion; Declare among the peoples His deeds.
PSA 9:12 For He who requires blood remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
PSA 9:13 Be gracious to me, O Lord; Behold my affliction from those who hate me, Thou who dost lift me up from the gates of death;
PSA 9:14 That I may tell of all Thy praises, That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in Thy salvation.
PSA 9:15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.
PSA 9:16 The Lord has made Himself known; He has executed judgment. In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared.
David wrote Psa 18 when he was delivered from Saul.
David wrote about the glory of God when he was in great persecution and when the Lord delivered him from it. He didn't just write of it when the Lord removed the persecution.
PSA 18:16 He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
PSA 18:17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
PSA 18:18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the Lord was my stay.
PSA 18:19 He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
The most dramatic of God's enemies were the persecutors of Christ. They thought they had beaten Christ, but His resurrection proved otherwise. God's Israel has been persecuted and God's church has been persecuted but immutability of God shows the same results. They make pits for others and they themselves fall into them.
JDG 7:22 And when they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.
The camp is roused, Men, women, children, camels rush terror-stricken through the dark night. No one knows if the enemy is in their midst, but they assume them to be and so they think they might be killing an Israelite when in fact they are killing one of their own, for all around still sounds the war-trumpet, the flash of torches, and raising of the war-cry. Each man’s sword is turned against his neighbor. Multitudes are killed or trampled down, and their cries and groans increase the terror of that wild night. The silence of the valley is turned into a furor as blood soaks the most fertile land in Israel. In the turmoil some of them are able to pack up some of their things and grab their women and children and flee towards home. They know where to go - east down the valley floor and towards the Jordan. When the morning-light just starts to rise over Mt. Gilboa, the site of the camp and the road of the fugitives towards Jordan are strewed with the slain. Israel has pulled off perhaps the greatest upset in history and they did it with pitchers, torches, and horns. God has fought for His people and now He bids them to pursue the panicked enemy and destroy them so that they can never return to oppress Israel again. As Moses said to Israel concerning the Egyptians, "You will never see them again."
The self-destruction was followed by the flight. They fled toward the southeast, down the Jordan Valley through Beth Shean Pass, and eventually crossed to the east side of the Jordan River. We would assume that this was their commonly used route to enter the Promised Land to plunder it every year, since in the high emotions of panic, you would follow the route that was most familiar to you.
God used psychological warfare, causing bedlam in the camp of the enemy, causing them to kill themselves and to flee out of the country.
Now the 20,000 who feared and were sent home would no longer be afraid because it turned into a mopping up operation. The careless who did not lap the water, no longer had to be careful for the same reason. You don't have to be aware of sneak attack when the enemy is rapidly fleeing. And so both of these groups could now be called to join the 300 in pursuit of the enemy. As is the case with all of God's battles, when the enemy flees they are pursued and annihilated.
When judgment comes, the judged do not escape.
JDG 7:23 And the men of Israel were summoned from Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.
There is a general call to arms, at least to those who were of the original 30,000. They pursue Midian through the Beth Shean pass and southward down the Jordan valley.
JDG 7:24-8:3 is a parenthetical interlude and is the account of Ephraim being called to stop Midian from crossing the fords of the Jordan. What follows the call to arms will be spelled out in 8:4 ff..
As the Midianites flee south they pass through Ephraim. The fords are the places on the Jordan that are easiest to cross and so Gideon sends a messengers throughout Ephraim informing them of the fleeing enemy and the likelihood of his crossing at the well known crossing spots. It would have been easy for Ephraim to post troops and defensive positions at the fords anticipating the coming of the enemy and this they do, but not without some grumbling.
JDG 7:24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against Midian and take the waters before them, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan." So all the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they took the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.
JDG 7:25 And they captured the two leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb, while they pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan.
Oreb - "raven"; Zeeb - "wolf." They were caught and executed at two different places and the place names were given after them to commemorate their fate to Israel.
This was still remembered many centuries later in Psa 83 and Isa 10. This was a significant victory for them. God had delivered them from the hand of vicious oppressors who were only allowed to oppress them because they did evil in the sight of the Lord through idol worship. This deserved to be remembered.
PSA 83:1 O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still.
PSA 83:2 For, behold, Thine enemies make an uproar; And those who hate Thee have exalted themselves.
PSA 83:3 They make shrewd plans against Thy people, And conspire together against Thy treasured ones.
PSA 83:4 They have said, "Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more."
This same cry has been heard in the world fairly recently and continues to be heard by certain regimes.
PSA 83:5 For they have conspired together with one mind; Against Thee do they make a covenant:
PSA 83:6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagrites;
PSA 83:7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
PSA 83:8 Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot [Moab and Ammon]. Selah.
PSA 83:9 Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin, at the torrent of Kishon,
PSA 83:10 Who were destroyed at Endor, Who became as dung for the ground.
PSA 83:11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
PSA 83:12 Who said, "Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God."
ISA 10:24 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, "O My people who dwell in Zion [Jerusalem; capital of Judah], do not fear the Assyrian who strikes you with the rod and lifts up his staff against you, the way Egypt did.
ISA 10:25 "For in a very little while My indignation against you will be spent, and My anger will be directed to their destruction."
ISA 10:26 And the Lord of hosts will arouse a scourge against him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and His staff will be over the sea, and He will lift it up the way He did in Egypt.
ISA 10:27 So it will be in that day, that his burden will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be broken because of fatness [the fat strong neck will snap the yoke].