Thursday, August 14, 2008

Old Testament Violence (17) - Trumpets and Torches

The defeat of the Midianites when Gideon was leader of Israel is another example of the way that God defends his people. The Israelites had turned away from God, so he gave them into the hands of Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were so oppressive that the children of Israel had to hide in the mountains and watch all their crops being stolen or destroyed. They were so impoverished that they called out to God. He raised up Gideon to deliver them. Gideon gathered together twenty-two thousand men, but God reduced his army to just thee hundred men.

The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place" (Jud 7:7).
These three hundred men did not have swords. All they had was trumpets. They surrounded the Midanite camp at night with a covered torch burning in one hand and a trumpet in the other. When Gideon gave the signal, the uncovered their torches, sounded their trumpets and shouted.
While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled (Jud 7:21-22)
Three hundred men armed only with trumpets and torches defeated an army too large to be counted (Jud 7:12) when God sent confusion and they killed each other as they fled in the dark. That is how God likes to defend his people

Despites receiving God’s grace, Gideon responded by going over the top.
Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them (Jud 7:24).
Although God had specifically told Gideon to send these people home, Gideon called them out again. These soldiers killed some of the Midianites who were fleeing. This is what usually happened in Israel. When God gave them victory, they responded with unnecessary destruction and slaughter.

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