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The Story of Gideon.

(From the 6th and 7th Chapters of Judges.)

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Midianites seven years. And the children of Israel were greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and they cried unto the Lord.

Then there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak as Gideon threshed wheat, and said unto him, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor; and thou shalt sa ve Israel from the hand of the Midianites.” And Gideon said, “Oh, my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel ? behold, my family is poor, and I am the least of my father's house." And the Lord said unto him, “Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.” And he said unto him, “If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee.” And he said, “I will tarry until thou come again.” And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and cakes, and broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, “Take the flesh and the cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth." And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock and consumed the flesh and the cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. And Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord. Then Gideon built there an altar to the Lord. And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, « Take thy father's young bullock, and throw down the altar of Baal, and cut down the grove that is by it, and build an altar unto the Lord thy God, and take the bullock and offer a burntsacrifice with the wood of the grove, which thou shalt cut down.” Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. And when the men of the city rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. And they said one to another, “Who hath done this thing ?” And when they inquired and asked, they said, “Gideon, the son of Joash, hath done this thing.” Then the men of the city said unto Joash, “ Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it." And Joash said, “ If Baal be a god, let him plead for himself against him, if he hath thrown down his altar.”

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Then all the Midianites gathered themselves together, a great host. And the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, and a host also were gathered after him, and came up to meet them.

And Gideon said unto God, “If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.” And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, “ Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

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. Now therefore, go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, "Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return.?” And there returned of the people twenty-andtwo thousand; and there remained ten thousand. And the Lord said unto Gideon, “ The people are yet too many ; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there." So he brought down the people unto the water, and the Lord

said unto Gideon, “Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself ; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.” And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gideon, “ By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand : and let all the other people go every man unto his place.”

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. But if thou fear to go down, go thou forth alone with thy servant down to the host, and hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host.” Then went he down with his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. 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. And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along." And his fellow answered and said, “This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel : for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.”

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