A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: Gideon the leader


The Israelites were in trouble. Continual attacks from the powerful Midianites and their allies had seriously weakened them. God chose Gideon to lead the resistance against them – but Gideon was reluctant. Finally he accepted this task, believing that God was with him. Now the two armies were in nearby camps, ready for battle.

God told Gideon, ‘There are too many soldiers in your army! If they win the battle, they will believe it is all their own doing, and not mine. Tell them that any who are afraid can now go home.’ Gideon delivered this message – and 22,000 men gladly went home, leaving Gideon with just 10,000.

But God said, ‘There are still too many men! Take them down to the spring to drink and I will tell you who else is to leave.’ So Gideon did this. ‘Look at them!’ God told him. ‘Keep only those who are lapping the water from their raised hands. All of those who have knelt down to drink - send them home.’ When Gideon had done this, there were only three hundred men left. But God said, ‘With just these soldiers I will keep Israel safe and will give you victory over the enemy’.

During the night, Gideon attacked the Midianite camp, following God’s Gideon attacking the Midianite campinstructions. He divided his men into three groups, giving each man a lit torch (concealed inside a clay pot) and a trumpet. ‘Follow my group’s lead,’ he told them and they all crept down to surround the enemy camp. Then Gideon and his group smashed their pots, blew their trumpets and shouted, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’ All the others copied them.

The Midianites woke to complete confusion. Thinking they were under violent attack, they fought each other in their panic and fled into the neighbouring countryside. The Israelites’ victory was a complete one. 

The story illustrates:

  • The belief that God works with people who listen to him and obey him
  • That victory does not depend on human strength but on God’s power
  • The importance of trusting in God and following his guidance.

Bible References

Judges 6:12-16, Judges 7:2-9, Judges 7:16-22
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.