True Blue Jon
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In these threads, we discuss the text and what we think of it. This discussion is open to everyone.

This Jewish translation from the Tananch is found here:
http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15815

1. And Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, arose early, and all the people that were with him, and they encamped beside En- harod, and the camp of Midian was on the north side of him by Gibeath-moreh, in the valley. 2. And the Lord said to Gideon, "The people that are with you are too numerous for Me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.' 3. So now proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, 'Whosoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead.' " And there returned of the people twenty-two thousand; and ten thousand remained.

4. And the Lord said to Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will purify them for you there. And it shall be, that of whom I say to you, 'This (one) shall go with you,' he shall go with you, and of whomsoever I shall say to you, 'This (one) shall not go with you,' he shall not go."

5. And he brought down the people to the water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps with his tongue as the dog laps, him shall you set by himself, and (likewise) every one that kneels upon his knees to drink."

6. Now it was the number of those that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, three hundred men, and all the rest of the people kneeled upon their knees to drink water. 7. And the Lord said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and I will give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the (other) people go each to his place."

8. And they took the provisions of the people in their hands, and their trumpets; and all the rest of the men of Israel he sent each to his tent, but the three hundred men he retained. Now the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley. 9. And it was on that night, that the Lord said to him, "Arise, go down upon the camp, for I have given it into your hand.
10. But if you fear to go down, go down, you with Purah your lad to the camp. 11. And you will hear what they speak, and afterward your hands will be strengthened, and you will go down upon the camp." And he went down with Purah his lad to the edge of the armed men that were in the camp.

12. Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all those of the East camped in the valley, as numerous as locusts; their camels without numbers; as numerous as the sand which is upon the seashore. 13. And Gideon came, and behold, a man was telling his fellow a dream. And he said, "Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a roasted cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent, and smote it, and it fell; and it turned it upside down, and the tent fell."

14. And his fellow answered and said, "This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, the man of Israel; God has given Midian, and all the camp into his hand."

15. Now when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down. And he returned to the camp of Israel, and said, "Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hands."

16. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and gave trumpets into the hands of all of them, and empty pitchers with torches inside the pitchers. 17. And he said to them, "You shall look at me and do likewise. Now behold, when I come to the edge of the camp, then it shall be that as I do, so shall you do. 18. When I shall blow the trumpet, I and all that are with me, then you too blow the trumpets on every side of all the camp, and say, 'For the Lord and for Gideon.' "

19. Now Gideon came with the hundred men that were with him to the edge of the camp, in the beginning of the middle watch, when they had but recently awakened the guards; and they blew the trumpets, and they smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and broke the pitchers; and they held the torches in their left hands, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow; and they cried, "The sword for the Lord and for Gideon."

21. And every man stood in his place around the camp; and the entire camp ran, and they trumpeted, and fled. 22. And they blew the three hundred trumpets, and the Lord set every man's sword against his fellow, and throughout the whole camp. And the camp fled as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23. And there gathered the men of Israel out of Naphtali, and of Asher, and of all Menasseh, and they pursued Midian.

24. And Gideon sent messengers throughout all the mountain of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against Midian, and seize before them the waters, as far as Beth-barah, and (also) the Jordan." And all the men of Ephraim gathered, and they seized the waters as far as Beth- barah, and the Jordan. 25. And they captured two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb; and they pursued Midian, and the heads of Oreb and Zeeb they brought to Gideon beyond the Jordan.
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Jack Smith
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While I have no theologically useful input into your posts I do enjoy reading them.
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SH W
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This is my interpretation where I postulated what might have happened using Sun Tzu's Art of War: http://www.jubilee.org.sg/sermons/id/19/
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Mac Mcleod
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Latria wrote:
This is my interpretation where I postulated what might have happened using Sun Tzu's Art of War: http://www.jubilee.org.sg/sermons/id/19/


Interesting read in it's own right.

also...
Quote:
When I was in secondary school, a school bully tripped me when I was on my way back to my seat. It is not the first time I was bullied by this boy. At that moment, I could feel the anger burn up inside me, and I wanted to fling my entire desk at him. I feel I wanted to kill him. The boy must have been shocked by my look because he apologized immediately.


This was my mode all my life. And they never had a chance to apologize and it didn't matter if there was more than one of them. I have to think "breaking" and going ape-shit on tormentors at last is a common human response.

---

The bible is often not taken completely literally with regard to numbers. It's quite possible that 145,000 could have been 9,000.
Still an impressive victory.
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A Voice In the Wilderness
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Gideon's success might actually be more believable than it sounds. I happened across this historical acccount not too long ago:

Drake sailed from England directly to Hispaniola to take on water and food, and then proceeded to "Fort Pheasant," a sheltered bay on the Caribbean coast of Panama. Here he constructed a huge palisade fort thirty feet high, encompassing almost an acre of land. Within two weeks, Drake led his privateers from this base directly to Nombre de Dios, planning to plunder the town. At night the English raiders snuck ashore, surprising the militia. As they approached the town square, the privateers began a blaring cacaphony on trumpets and drums and ignited large firebrands, which "served no less for fright of the enemy than light of our men, who by this means might discerne everie place verie well, as if it were near day, whereas the inhabitants stood amazed at so strange a sight, marvelling what the matter might be and imagining, by reason of our Drums and Trumpets sounding in so sundry places, that we had been a farre greater number than we were."

After a brief skirmish in the central market, where the Spanish militia fired a "jolly hot volley of shot" from their muskets that wounded a few of the English and killed one of the musicians, the Spanish fled, believing drake's force to be much larger.


- 1494 How a Family Feud in Medieval Spain Divided the World in Half - Bown, Stephen R., D&M Publishers Inc.

I can only guess Sir Francis Drake had studied the Bible to some degree in order to come up with such a similar strategy, but even if he devised it on his own, the fact it worked with so little difficulty is quite remarkable and, to my mind, lends great support to the account found in Judges.

I suppose a more modern-day example might be the "shock-and-awe" tactics used by the US military in Iraq.
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