Posted by / Tuesday 17 January 2017 / No comments

Gideon's defeat of the Midianites

After Deborah and Barak had led the people of Israel to defeat Sisera and king Jabin of Canaan, Israel enjoyed peace for forty years. As was usual with Israel, they sinned against God again by following the gods of the Canaanites. So God gave them into the hands of the Midianites for seven years.

The people of Midian molested Israel for a long time. They always came before the harvest of their farm produce with their cattle, destroy the crops on the farms, leaving the people of Israel with no form of sustenance. This action of the Midianites persisted for a long time and brought Israel to her knees.The people of Israel went to the mountains to dig caves in which they hid anytime the people of Midian came.

Israel cried out to God and God heard their cry and he decided to save them from their calamity. God called Gideon the son of Joash, the Abiezrite to deliver the people of Israel. An angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon under the Oak tree at Ophrah and told him to go and deliver the people of Israel.

To confirm that the message was from God, Gideon offered a sacrifice of a kid and unleavened cake to the messenger of God. The angel told him to put the sacrifice on a particular rock. The angel touched it with the tip of his staff and the sacrifice was consumed by fire. This confirmed to Gideon that he had met the Lord face to face. Immediately, the angel vanished.

By night, Gideon selected ten servants and went to destroy the gods of his father. He destroyed the altar of Baal and the Asherah all by night and in its place, he erected an altar for God. When the next day the people saw the destruction that had happened, they inquired and found out that it was Gideon who had destroyed the altar. They sought to kill him but his father opposed them saying Baal must contend for himself if he is god. From that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal or “Let Baal contend against him.”

The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the people of the east joined forces and came up against Israel. Gideon also gathered soldiers from among the people. He got thirty-two thousand men from Manasseh, Asher, Zebulon and Naphtali. 

God asked Gideon to slash the number of the soldiers because if they won the battle, they might be tempted to attribute the victory to their own strength. Following God’s instruction, first, Gideon asked those who were afraid to go home and the number reduced by twenty-two thousand. God asked the number to be further reduced. This time, Gideon took them to a spring of water close by. As the soldiers drunk water from the spring, some did so by kneeling down to drink and others also put one hand on their sword and lapped the water like dogs. Those who lapped the water like dogs were three hundred. God told Gideon to take only these three hundred to the battle and the rest were asked to go home.

Gideon attacked the enemies by night. He divided the soldiers into three groups. The Moon had tarried that night so under the cover of darkness, Gideon and his team sprung a surprise on the enemies. They blew trumpets and broke jars and made a great noise. When the enemy heard the noise, they assumed that it was a great army that had come up against them so they fled.

Gideon sent a message to the people of Ephraim to cut off their escape. They arrested the two princes of Midian called Oreb and Zeeb. They beheaded them and brought their heads to Gideon.

After his success on the battle field, the people of Israel decided to make Gideon a king but he refused. The reason why Gideon refused was that God was their king so he could not be made king.

1. Courage

2. Humility

3. Obedience

4. Zeal

5. Caution 

6. God fearing too.

1. a. Give an account Gideon’s leadership of the Israelites.
    b. Why did he refuse to become the king of Israel?

2. a. Narrate the story of the defeat of the Midianites by Gideon.
    b. Identify five leadership qualities in Gideon.

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