Notes on Judges 7:9-12
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
Judges 7:9, KJV: And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.
This was another time when the LORD spoke to His servants at night. Now He is telling Gideon to go down to “the host”, the Midianites’ camp, because He had already “delivered it into (Gideon’s) hand.
There are times, such as this, when the text states something is done when it actually had not. When God said, “I’ve delivered it into your hand”, He meant that victory was certain. Another way of looking at this is to see this as a prophecy, proclaiming something not yet done as if it was already done. It came down to Gideon and his men obeying the Voice of God and doing what He wanted them to do.
10 But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
God knew that Gideon was a fearful, at the least cautious, man. Even so, He gave Gideon an encouraging word, namely, to take his servant with him down to the Midianite camp.
11 And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that (were) in the host.
And God gave Gideon another sign of encouragement. Gideon and Phurah, the servant, would hear something (note that God didn’t say what they would hear) which would give them the strength to “go down into the host”, meaning, to attack the enemy soldiers.
Note that Gideon and Phurah went to the camp, but not very far, only to the “outside” or perhaps the outermost quarters where the enemy soldiers were staying. Phurah is not mentioned again after here but we can hope he stayed with Gideon and served the LORD faithfully.
12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels (were) without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
This is another figure of speech to show there was a very great multitude. According to Judges 8:10 there were 135,000 soldiers in this camp. If only 10 per cent of these soldiers rode camels, that meant there were at least 13,500 camels plus no doubt more for reserves, cargo carrying, etc.
Compare this with the time Israel was described as grasshoppers. In Numbers 13, when the 10 spies reported to Israel that yes, God had promised victory but, hey, we looked like grasshoppers, all the rest of the nation except Joshua and Caleb wanted to return to Egypt!
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).