Judges 7:2
And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
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(2) The people that are with thee are too many for me.—This must have put the faith of Gideon to a severe trial, since the Midianites were 135,000 in number (Judges 8:10), and Gideon’s forces only 32,000 (Judges 7:4).

Lest Israel vaunt themselves.—See Deuteronomy 8:17.

Jdg 7:2. The people that are with thee are too many — The army consisted of thirty-two thousand men, a small army in comparison of what Israel might have raised on so great an occasion, and a very small one in comparison with that which the Midianites had now brought into the field. Gideon, doubtless, was ready to think they were too few; but God comes to him and tells him they were too many. It is indeed the same thing with God to save by many or by few; but man being prone to attribute every thing to natural causes rather than to God, it is one great design of God in all his dispensations, both of providence and grace, to counteract this evil disposition in our nature which robs God of his glory, and to cause us to consider him, and see his hand more in all things.

7:1-8. God provides that the praise of victory may be wholly to himself, by appointing only three hundred men to be employed. Activity and prudence go with dependence upon God for help in our lawful undertakings. When the Lord sees that men would overlook him, and through unbelief, would shrink from perilous services, or that through pride they would vaunt themselves against him, he will set them aside, and do his work by other instruments. Pretences will be found by many, for deserting the cause and escaping the cross. But though a religious society may thus be made fewer in numbers, yet it will gain as to purity, and may expect an increased blessing from the Lord. God chooses to employ such as are not only well affected, but zealously affected in a good thing. They grudged not at the liberty of the others who were dismissed. In doing the duties required by God, we must not regard the forwardness or backwardness of others, nor what they do, but what God looks for at our hands. He is a rare person who can endure that others should excel him in gifts or blessings, or in liberty; so that we may say, it is by the special grace of God that we regard what God says to us, and not look to men what they do.The well of Harod - i. e. of trembling, evidently so called from the people who were afraid Judges 7:3. It is identified with great probability with Ain Jalud, a spacious pool at the foot of Gilboa; (by Conder, with Ain el Jem'ain (the spring of the two troops)).

Moreh was, probably, the little Hermon, the Jebel ed-Duhy of the Arabs, which encloses the plain two or three miles north of Gilboa, which shuts it in on the south.

2. the Lord said unto Gideon, The people … are too many—Although the Israelitish army mustered only thirty-two thousand (or one-sixth of the Midianitish host), the number was too great, for it was the Lord's purpose to teach Israel a memorable lesson of dependence on Him. Too many for me, i.e. for my purpose; which is, so to deliver Israel, that it may appear to be my own miraculous act, that so I may have all the glory of it, and they may be more strongly obliged to love and serve me.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, the people that are with thee are too many,.... It appears, by what follows, that there were 32,000 of them, which was but a small army to engage with one of 100,000 more than they; for such was the army of the Midianites and their associates, see Judges 8:10 but the people were too many, says the Lord:

for me to give the Midianites into their hands; who would be apt to ascribe the victory to themselves, and not to the Lord; to their number, strength, and valour, and not to the hand of the Lord:

lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, mine own hand hath saved me; or glory over me, take the glory from me, and ascribe it to themselves, boasting that by their power and prowess they had obtained the victory.

And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel {a} vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

(a) God will not that any creature deprive him of his glory.

2. The people that are with thee] Whatever is to be understood by these words in Jdg 7:1, here they must refer to the host mentioned in Jdg 6:35.

lest Israel vaunt themselves against me] For the thought cf. Deuteronomy 8:11-17; Deuteronomy 9:4 f.; the same word vaunt occurs in Isaiah 10:15. The army is to be reduced in order that Jehovah’s intervention on behalf of Israel may be the more striking and all the glory His; cf. 1 Samuel 14:6, Psalm 44:3, 1 Corinthians 1:25-27.

Verse 2. - And the Lord said, etc. It must be remembered that this whole movement was essentially a religious one. It began with prayer (Judges 6:6, 7), it was followed up by repentance (Judges 6:27, 28), and the great purpose of it was to turn the hearts of the nation back to the God of their fathers. The Lord himself, therefore, graciously forwarded this end by making it plain that the deliverance from their oppression was his work, and his only. For the general sentiment compare Deuteronomy 8:10-18; Psalm 44:3-8; Zechariah 3:6, etc. Judges 7:2The army of the Israelites amounted to 32,000 men (Judges 7:4), but that of the Midianites and their allies was about 135,000 (Judges 8:10), so that they were greatly superior to the Israelites in numbers. Nevertheless the Lord said to Gideon, "The people that are with thee are too many for me to give Midian into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, My hand hath helped me." רב followed by מן is to be understood as a comparative. Gideon was therefore to have a proclamation made before all the people: "Whosoever is fearful and despondent, let him turn and go back from Mount Gilead." The ἁπ. λεγ. צפר, judging from the Arabic, which signifies to plait, viz., hair, ropes, etc., and the noun צפירה, a circle or circuitous orbit, probably signifies to twist one's self round; hence in this instance to return in windings, to slink away in bypaths. The expression "from Mount Gilead," however, is very obscure. The mountain (or the mountains) of Gilead was on the eastern side of the Jordan; but the Israelitish army was encamped in or near the plain of Jezreel, in the country to the west of the Jordan, and had been gathered from the western tribes alone; so that even the inadmissible rendering, Let him turn and go home to the mountains of Gilead, would not give any appropriate sense. The only course left therefore is either to pronounce it an error of the text, as Clericus and Bertheau have done, and to regard "Gilead" as a mistake for "Gilboa," or to conclude that there was also a mountain or mountain range named Gilead by the plain of Jezreel in western Palestine, just as, according to Joshua 15:10, there was a mountain, or range of mountains, called Seir, in the territory of Judah, of which nothing further is known. The appeal which Gideon is here directed to make to the army was prescribed in the law (Deuteronomy 20:8) for every war in which the Israelites should be engaged, and its general object was to fortify the spirit of the army be removing the cowardly and desponding. But in the case before us the intention of the Lord was to deprive His people of all ground for self-glorification. Hence the result of the appeal was one which Gideon himself certainly did not expect, - namely, that more than two-thirds of the soldiers gathered round him - 22,000 men of the people - turned back, and only 10,000 remained.
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