Judges 7
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1  Early next day, Yerubaal—that is, Gidon—and all the troops with him encamped above En-harod, while the camp of Midian was in the plain to the north of him, at Gibeath-moreh.

א  וַיַּשְׁכֵּם יְרֻבַּעַל הוּא גִדְעוֹן וְכָל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ וַיַּחֲנוּ עַל־עֵין חֲרֹד וּמַחֲנֵה מִדְיָן הָיָה־לוֹ מִצָּפוֹן מִגִּבְעַת הַמּוֹרֶה בָּעֵמֶק׃

2  Hashem said to Gidon, “You have too many troops with you for Me to deliver Midian into their hands; Yisrael might claim for themselves the glory due to Me, thinking, ‘Our own hand has brought us victory.’

ב  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־גִּדְעוֹן רַב הָעָם אֲשֶׁר אִתָּךְ מִתִּתִּי אֶת־מִדְיָן בְּיָדָם פֶּן־יִתְפָּאֵר עָלַי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר יָדִי הוֹשִׁיעָה לִּי׃

3  Therefore, announce to the men, ‘Let anybody who is timid and fearful turn back, as a bird flies from Mount Gilad.’” Thereupon, 22,000 of the troops turned back and 10,000 remained.

ג  וְעַתָּה קְרָא נָא בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם לֵאמֹר מִי־יָרֵא וְחָרֵד יָשֹׁב וְיִצְפֹּר מֵהַר הַגִּלְעָד וַיָּשָׁב מִן־הָעָם עֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁנַיִם אֶלֶף וַעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים נִשְׁאָרוּ׃

4  “There are still too many troops,” Hashem said to Gidon. “Take them down to the water and I will sift them for you there. Anyone of whom I tell you, ‘This one is to go with you,’ that one shall go with you; and anyone of whom I tell you, ‘This one is not to go with you,’ that one shall not go.”

ד  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־גִּדְעוֹן עוֹד הָעָם רָב הוֹרֵד אוֹתָם אֶל־הַמַּיִם וְאֶצְרְפֶנּוּ לְךָ שָׁם וְהָיָה אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ זֶה יֵלֵךְ אִתָּךְ הוּא יֵלֵךְ אִתָּךְ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ זֶה לֹא־יֵלֵךְ עִמָּךְ הוּא לֹא יֵלֵךְ׃

5  So he took the troops down to the water. Then Hashem said to Gidon, “Set apart all those who lap up the water with their tongues like dogs from all those who get down on their knees to drink.”

va-YO-red et ha-AM el ha-MA-yim va-YO-mer a-do-NAI el gid-ON KOL a-sher ya-LOK bil-sho-NO min ha-MA-yim ka-a-SHER ya-LOK ha-KE-lev ta-TZEEG o-TO l’-VAD v’-KHOL a-sher yikh-RA al bir-KAV lish-TOT

ה  וַיּוֹרֶד אֶת־הָעָם אֶל־הַמָּיִם וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־גִּדְעוֹן כֹּל אֲשֶׁר־יָלֹק בִּלְשׁוֹנוֹ מִן־הַמַּיִם כַּאֲשֶׁר יָלֹק הַכֶּלֶב תַּצִּיג אוֹתוֹ לְבָד וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יִכְרַע עַל־בִּרְכָּיו לִשְׁתּוֹת׃

 7:5   Set apart all those who lap up the water with their tongues

For it to be clear to all that the victory of the Israelites would be a miraculous one, Hashem orders Gidon to reduce the size of his army.  He tells Gidon to send home all those who kneel down to drink water prior to the battle against Midian. Rashi says that the fact that they kneeled is proof that they had earlier knelt in worship of idols. Eretz Yisrael cannot tolerate idolatry (see Deuteronomy 29:24-27). Therefore, those soldiers who have previously engaged in such worship are the ones to be removed from this battle for control of the land.1 comment

6  Now those who “lapped” the water into their mouths by hand numbered three hundred; all the rest of the troops got down on their knees to drink.

ו  וַיְהִי מִסְפַּר הַמֲלַקְקִים בְּיָדָם אֶל־פִּיהֶם שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת אִישׁ וְכֹל יֶתֶר הָעָם כָּרְעוּ עַל־בִּרְכֵיהֶם לִשְׁתּוֹת מָיִם׃

7  Then Hashem said to Gidon, “I will deliver you and I will put Midian into your hands through the three hundred ‘lappers’; let the rest of the troops go home.”

ז  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־גִּדְעוֹן בִּשְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת הָאִישׁ הַמֲלַקְקִים אוֹשִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם וְנָתַתִּי אֶת־מִדְיָן בְּיָדֶךָ וְכָל־הָעָם יֵלְכוּ אִישׁ לִמְקֹמוֹ׃

8  So [the lappers] took the provisions and shofarot that the other men had with them, and he sent the rest of the men of Yisrael back to their homes, retaining only the three hundred men.The Midianite camp was below him, in the plain.

ח  וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־צֵדָה הָעָם בְּיָדָם וְאֵת שׁוֹפְרֹתֵיהֶם וְאֵת כָּל־אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל שִׁלַּח אִישׁ לְאֹהָלָיו וּבִשְׁלֹשׁ־מֵאוֹת הָאִישׁ הֶחֱזִיק וּמַחֲנֵה מִדְיָן הָיָה לוֹ מִתַּחַת בָּעֵמֶק׃

9  That night Hashem said to him, “Come, attack the camp, for I have delivered it into your hands.

ט  וַיְהִי בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יְהֹוָה קוּם רֵד בַּמַּחֲנֶה כִּי נְתַתִּיו בְּיָדֶךָ׃

10  And if you are afraid to attack, first go down to the camp with your attendant Purah

י  וְאִם־יָרֵא אַתָּה לָרֶדֶת רֵד אַתָּה וּפֻרָה נַעַרְךָ אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה׃

11  and listen to what they say; after that you will have the courage to attack the camp.” So he went down with his attendant Purah to the outposts of the warriors who were in the camp.

יא  וְשָׁמַעְתָּ מַה־יְדַבֵּרוּ וְאַחַר תֶּחֱזַקְנָה יָדֶיךָ וְיָרַדְתָּ בַּמַּחֲנֶה וַיֵּרֶד הוּא וּפֻרָה נַעֲרוֹ אֶל־קְצֵה הַחֲמֻשִׁים אֲשֶׁר בַּמַּחֲנֶה׃

12  Now Midian, Amalek, and all the Kedemites were spread over the plain, as thick as locusts; and their camels were countless, as numerous as the sands on the seashore.

יב  וּמִדְיָן וַעֲמָלֵק וְכָל־בְּנֵי־קֶדֶם נֹפְלִים בָּעֵמֶק כָּאַרְבֶּה לָרֹב וְלִגְמַלֵּיהֶם אֵין מִסְפָּר כַּחוֹל שֶׁעַל־שְׂפַת הַיָּם לָרֹב׃

13  Gidon came there just as one man was narrating a dream to another. “Listen,” he was saying, “I had this dream: There was a commotion—a loaf of barley bread was whirling through the Midianite camp. It came to a tent and struck it, and it fell; it turned it upside down, and the tent collapsed.”

יג  וַיָּבֹא גִדְעוֹן וְהִנֵּה־אִישׁ מְסַפֵּר לְרֵעֵהוּ חֲלוֹם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה חֲלוֹם חָלַמְתִּי וְהִנֵּה צלול [צְלִיל] לֶחֶם שְׂעֹרִים מִתְהַפֵּךְ בְּמַחֲנֵה מִדְיָן וַיָּבֹא עַד־הָאֹהֶל וַיַּכֵּהוּ וַיִּפֹּל וַיַּהַפְכֵהוּ לְמַעְלָה וְנָפַל הָאֹהֶל׃

14  To this the other responded, “That can only mean the sword of the Israelite Gidon son of Yoash. Hashem is delivering Midian and the entire camp into his hands.”

יד  וַיַּעַן רֵעֵהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵין זֹאת בִּלְתִּי אִם־חֶרֶב גִּדְעוֹן בֶּן־יוֹאָשׁ אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל נָתַן הָאֱלֹהִים בְּיָדוֹ אֶת־מִדְיָן וְאֶת־כָּל־הַמַּחֲנֶה׃

15  When Gidon heard the dream told and interpreted, he bowed low. Returning to the camp of Yisrael, he shouted, “Come on! Hashem has delivered the Midianite camp into your hands!”

טו  וַיְהִי כִשְׁמֹעַ גִּדְעוֹן אֶת־מִסְפַּר הַחֲלוֹם וְאֶת־שִׁבְרוֹ וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ וַיָּשָׁב אֶל־מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּאמֶר קוּמוּ כִּי־נָתַן יְהֹוָה בְּיֶדְכֶם אֶת־מַחֲנֵה מִדְיָן׃

16  He divided the three hundred men into three columns and equipped every man with a shofar and an empty jar, with a torch in each jar.

טז  וַיַּחַץ אֶת־שְׁלֹשׁ־מֵאוֹת הָאִישׁ שְׁלֹשָׁה רָאשִׁים וַיִּתֵּן שׁוֹפָרוֹת בְּיַד־כֻּלָּם וְכַדִּים רֵקִים וְלַפִּדִים בְּתוֹךְ הַכַּדִּים׃

17  “Watch me,” he said, “and do the same. When I get to the outposts of the camp, do exactly as I do.

יז  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם מִמֶּנִּי תִרְאוּ וְכֵן תַּעֲשׂוּ וְהִנֵּה אָנֹכִי בָא בִּקְצֵה הַמַּחֲנֶה וְהָיָה כַאֲשֶׁר־אֶעֱשֶׂה כֵּן תַּעֲשׂוּן׃

18  When I and all those with me blow our shofarot, you too, all around the camp, will blow your shofarot and shout, ‘For Hashem and for Gidon!’”

יח  וְתָקַעְתִּי בַּשּׁוֹפָר אָנֹכִי וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר אִתִּי וּתְקַעְתֶּם בַּשּׁוֹפָרוֹת גַּם־אַתֶּם סְבִיבוֹת כָּל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַאֲמַרְתֶּם לַיהֹוָה וּלְגִדְעוֹן׃

19  Gidon and the hundred men with him arrived at the outposts of the camp, at the beginning of the middle watch, just after the sentries were posted. They sounded the shofarot and smashed the jars that they had with them,

יט  וַיָּבֹא גִדְעוֹן וּמֵאָה־אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ בִּקְצֵה הַמַּחֲנֶה רֹאשׁ הָאַשְׁמֹרֶת הַתִּיכוֹנָה אַךְ הָקֵם הֵקִימוּ אֶת־הַשֹּׁמְרִים וַיִּתְקְעוּ בַּשּׁוֹפָרוֹת וְנָפוֹץ הַכַּדִּים אֲשֶׁר בְּיָדָם׃

20  and the three columns blew their shofarot and broke their jars. Holding the torches in their left hands and the shofarot for blowing in their right hands, they shouted, “A sword for Hashem and for Gidon!”

כ  וַיִּתְקְעוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת הָרָאשִׁים בַּשּׁוֹפָרוֹת וַיִּשְׁבְּרוּ הַכַּדִּים וַיַּחֲזִיקוּ בְיַד־שְׂמאוֹלָם בַּלַּפִּדִים וּבְיַד־יְמִינָם הַשּׁוֹפָרוֹת לִתְקוֹעַ וַיִּקְרְאוּ חֶרֶב לַיהֹוָה וּלְגִדְעוֹן׃

21  They remained standing where they were, surrounding the camp; but the entire camp ran about yelling, and took to flight.

כא  וַיַּעַמְדוּ אִישׁ תַּחְתָּיו סָבִיב לַמַּחֲנֶה וַיָּרָץ כָּל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַיָּרִיעוּ ויניסו [וַיָּנוּסוּ׃]

22  For when the three hundred shofarot were sounded, Hashem turned every man’s sword against his fellow, throughout the camp, and the entire host fled as far as Beth-shittah and on to Zererah—as far as the outskirts of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.

כב  וַיִּתְקְעוּ שְׁלֹשׁ־מֵאוֹת הַשּׁוֹפָרוֹת וַיָּשֶׂם יְהֹוָה אֵת חֶרֶב אִישׁ בְּרֵעֵהוּ וּבְכָל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וַיָּנָס הַמַּחֲנֶה עַד־בֵּית הַשִּׁטָּה צְרֵרָתָה עַד שְׂפַת־אָבֵל מְחוֹלָה עַל־טַבָּת׃

23  And now the men of Yisrael from Naftali and Asher and from all of Menashe rallied for the pursuit of the Midianites.

כג  וַיִּצָּעֵק אִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִנַּפְתָּלִי וּמִן־אָשֵׁר וּמִן־כָּל־מְנַשֶּׁה וַיִּרְדְּפוּ אַחֲרֵי מִדְיָן׃

24  Gidon also sent messengers all through the hill country of Efraim with this order: “Go down ahead of the Midianites and seize their access to the water all along the Yarden down to Beth-barah.” So all the men of Efraim rallied and seized the waterside down to Beth-barah by the Yarden.

כד  וּמַלְאָכִים שָׁלַח גִּדְעוֹן בְּכָל־הַר אֶפְרַיִם לֵאמֹר רְדוּ לִקְרַאת מִדְיָן וְלִכְדוּ לָהֶם אֶת־הַמַּיִם עַד בֵּית בָּרָה וְאֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן וַיִּצָּעֵק כָּל־אִישׁ אֶפְרַיִם וַיִּלְכְּדוּ אֶת־הַמַּיִם עַד בֵּית בָּרָה וְאֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן׃

25  They pursued the Midianites and captured Midian’s two generals, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the Rock of Oreb and they killed Zeeb at the Winepress of Zeeb; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb from the other side of the Yarden to Gidon.

כה  וַיִּלְכְּדוּ שְׁנֵי־שָׂרֵי מִדְיָן אֶת־עֹרֵב וְאֶת־זְאֵב וַיַּהַרְגוּ אֶת־עוֹרֵב בְּצוּר־עוֹרֵב וְאֶת־זְאֵב הָרְגוּ בְיֶקֶב־זְאֵב וַיִּרְדְּפוּ אֶל־מִדְיָן וְרֹאשׁ־עֹרֵב וּזְאֵב הֵבִיאוּ אֶל־גִּדְעוֹן מֵעֵבֶר לַיַּרְדֵּן׃

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