Judges 7:16
And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
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7:16-22 This method of defeating the Midianites may be alluded to, as exemplifying the destruction of the devil's kingdom in the world, by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, the sounding that trumpet, and the holding forth that light out of earthen vessels, for such are the ministers of the gospel, 2Co 4:6,7. God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, a barley-cake to overthrow the tents of Midian, that the excellency of the power might be of God only. The gospel is a sword, not in the hand, but in the mouth: the sword of the Lord and of Gideon; of God and Jesus Christ, of Him that sits on the throne and the Lamb. The wicked are often led to avenge the cause of God upon each other, under the power of their delusions, and the fury of their passions. See also how God often makes the enemies of the church instruments to destroy one another; it is a pity that the church's friends should ever act like them.Gideon himself took the command of one company, and sent the other two under their respective captains to different sides of the camp Judges 7:18, Judges 7:21. a trumpet...: Heb. trumpets in the hand of all of them

lamps: or, firebrands, or, torches

And he divided the three hundred men into three companies,.... One hundred in a company, partly to make the better figure, a show of an army, with a right and left wing, and partly that they might fall upon the camp of Midian in different parts:

and he put a trumpet in every man's hand; they that returned of the trumpeters having left their trumpets behind them, whereby there was a sufficient number for three hundred men; and these were put into their hands, that when they blew them together, the, noise would be very great; and it would seem as if they were an exceeding great army, and so very much terrify their enemies:

with empty pitchers, and lamps with the pitchers; the pitchers were of earth, and so easily broken, and would make a great noise when clashed against each other; and these were empty of water, or otherwise would not have been fit to put lamps into, and the lamps put in them were not of oil; for then, when the pitchers were broken, the oil would have run out; but were a kind of torches, made of rosin, wax, pitch, and such like things; and these were put into the pitcher, partly to preserve them from the wind, and chiefly to conceal them from the enemy, till just they came upon them, and then held them out; which in a dark night would make a terrible blaze, as before they served to give them light down the hill into the camp.

And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps {h} within the pitchers.

(h) These weak means God used to signify that the whole victory came from him.

Gideon's Battle and Victory. - Judges 7:9-11. The following night the Lord commanded Gideon to go down to the camp of the enemy, as He had given it into his hand (the perfect is used to denote the purpose of God which had already been formed, as in Judges 4:14). But in order to fill him with confidence for such an enterprise, which to all human appearance was a very rash one, God added, "If thou art afraid to go down, go thou with thine attendant Purah down to the camp, and thou wilt hear what they say, and thy hands will thereby become strong." The meaning of the protasis is not, If thou art afraid to go down into the camp of the enemy alone, or to visit the enemy unarmed, take Purah thine armour-bearer with thee, to make sure that thou hast weapons to use (Bertheau); for, apart from the fact that the addition "unarmed" is perfectly arbitrary, the apodosis "thou wilt see," etc., by no means agrees with this explanation. The meaning is rather this: Go with thy 300 men into (בּ) the hostile camp to smite it, for I have given it into thy hand; but if thou art afraid to do this, go down with thine attendant to (אל) the camp, to ascertain the state and feeling of the foe, and thou wilt hear what they say, i.e., as we gather from what follows, how they are discouraged, have lost all hope of defeating you, and from that thou wilt gather courage and strength for the battle. On the expression "thine hands shall be strengthened," see 2 Samuel 2:7. The expression which follows, בּמּחנה וירדתּ, is not a mere repetition of the command to go down with his attendant to the hostile camp, but describes the result of the stimulus given to his courage: And then thou wilt go fearlessly into the hostile camp to attack the foe. בּמּחנה ירד (Judges 7:9, Judges 7:11) is to be distinguished from המּחנה ירד in Judges 7:10. The former signifies to go down into the camp to smite the foe; the latter, to go down to the camp to reconnoitre it, and is equivalent to the following clause: "he went to the outside of the camp."
Jud 7:16-24. His Stratagem against Midian.

16-22. he divided the three hundred men into three companies—The object of dividing his forces was, that they might seem to be surrounding the enemy. The pitchers were empty to conceal the torches, and made of earthenware, so as to be easily broken; and the sudden blaze of the held-up lights—the loud echo of the trumpets, and the shouts of Israel, always terrifying (Nu 23:21), and now more terrible than ever by the use of such striking words, broke through the stillness of the midnight air. The sleepers started from their rest; not a blow was dealt by the Israelites; but the enemy ran tumultuously, uttering the wild, discordant cries peculiar to the Arab race. They fought indiscriminately, not knowing friend from foe. The panic being universal, they soon precipitately fled, directing their flight down to the Jordan, by the foot of the mountains of Ephraim, to places known as the "house of the acacia" [Beth-shittah], and "the meadow of the dance" [Abel-meholah].

He divided the three hundred men - Though the victory was to be from the Lord, yet he knew that he ought to use prudential means; and those which he employed on this occasion were the best calculated to answer the end. If he had not used these means, it is not likely that God would have delivered the Midianites into his hands. Sometimes, even in working a miracle, God will have natural means used: Go, dip thyself seven times in Jordan. Go, wash in the pool Siloam. 7:16 Three companies - To make a shew of a vast army. Within the pitchers - Partly to preserve the flame from the wind and weather; and partly to conceal it, and surprise their enemy with sudden flashes of light.
Judges 7:15
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