Places of Interest
Gideon’s Spring, or also known as Harod Spring, is located in the fertile Jezreel Valley about 26 miles (42 km.) from the Mediterranean Sea and about 17 miles (28 km.) from the Sea of Galilee. Just to the south of Gideon’s Spring are the Gilboa Mountains.
1. The period of the Judges saw the nation of Israel experience many cycles of obedience and disobedience.
2. They would walk with God for a bit and then fall away.
3. One verse is repeated several times in the book of the Judges that summarizes the mentality of their day: "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6, 21:25).
4. In order to bring the nation of Israel back to Himself, God would send them oppressors to make their lives difficult.
5. As a result, the Israelites would look to the Lord and He would send them a deliverer, or also known as a Judge.
6. Gideon was one of these deliverers that God raised up to deliver the Israelites out of the hand of the Midianites who were oppressing Israel at that time.
7. There were a total of 13 Judges or Deliverers in the book of Judges.
8. Gideon was the 6th Judge.
Places of Interest
1. Hill of Moreh: Hill area where the Midianites camped.
2. Midianite Camp
3. Jezreel Valley
4. Battle Area
5. Gideon’s Spring: Area where Gideon chose 300 men for battle.
6. Gilboa Mountains: Where the Israelites hid out in.
7. Hankin House Museum: Located above spring entrance.
Gideon’s Spring in the Bible
1. God gave the Israelites into the hands of the Midianites because they abandoned and disobeyed Him.
Judges 6:1–6: Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord gave them into the hands of Midian seven years. 2 The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. 3 For it was when Israel had sown, that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the sons of the east and go against them. 4 So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like locusts for number, both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to devastate it. 6 So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried to the Lord.
2. God hears the prayers of the Israelites and decides to deliver them.
Judges 6:7–10: Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord on account of Midian, 8 that the Lord sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery. 9 I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors, and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land, 10 and I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me.”
3. God visits Gideon through an angel and chooses to deliver the Israelites through him.
Judges 6:11–12: Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.”
4. Gideon responds by saying that his family was the least in the tribe of Manasseh and that he was the youngest in his family (Judges 6:15). This is similar to the response of Moses when God called him.
5. God allows the angel to show Gideon a couple of miracles to prove God will help him.
Judges 6:21: Then the angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.
6. God commands Gideon to tear down the altars to Baal that his father had erected and to erect an altar to the Lord in their place (Judges 6:28–32).
7. Shortly afterward, many nations gather together to wipe out the Israelites.
Judges 6:33–35: Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel [just north of Gideon’s Spring]. 34 So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites [descendants of Abiezer, the son of Gilead] were called together to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.
The Midianites were the descendants of Midian and therefore, children of Abraham. They settled in “the land of the east.” When Moses fled the wrath of Pharaoh, he traveled to Midian (Exodus 2:15). There, Moses met and married his wife, Zipporah, and served his father-in-law, Jethro, as a shepherd for forty years.
The Amalekites were the first ones to attack the Israelites upon their exodus from Egypt. Genesis 36 refers to the descendants of Amalek, the son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau, as Amalekites. So, the Amalekites were somehow related to, but distinct from, the Edomites.
8. As a result of the nations who had gathered together to wipe out the Israelites, Gideon asks for a sign from God that he will be successful. The sign of the wet and dry fleeces is used by Gideon to seek assurance of God’s help (Judges 6:36–40). However, it reveals a lack of faith in what God had said He would do.
9. God commands Gideon to choose 300 men for battle so that He gets all the glory for the victory.
Judges 7:1-7: Then Jerubbaal [Gideon] and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod. And the camp of Midian was north of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.' 3 Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.'" Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. 4 And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' shall not go." 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, everyone who kneels down to drink." 6 And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the LORD said to Gideon, "With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”
It's believed God chose those who lapped like dogs because they were less civilized. This would give God even more glory for the victory.
10. The size of the opposing army was enormous.
Judges 7:12: Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore.
11. God allows Gideon to visit the camp of the opposing army to be assured of victory.
Judges 7:13–14: When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.”
12. God delivers the nations into the victorious hands of the Israelites.
Judges 7:15-25: As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, "Arise, for the LORD has given the host of Midian into your hand." 16 And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. 17 And he said to them, "Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, 'For the LORD and for Gideon.'" 9 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!" 21 Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. 22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the LORD set every man's sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath [cities by the Jordan River directly east]. 23 And the men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and from Asher and from all Manasseh, and they pursued after Midian. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites and capture the waters against them, as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan." So all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they captured the waters as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan. 25 And they captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. Then they pursued Midian, and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan.
Faith Lesson from Gideon’s Spring
1. God often puts us in difficult situations, so He gets all the glory when He helps us with our problems.
2. We, like the Israelites, can worship idols as well. An idol is anything that distracts us from our time and attention on God. What is distracting you away from God at this time in your life?
3. We should look at the size of our God rather than the size of our difficulties.
4. God delights in our faith but is grieved over our lack of it.
5. God chooses the weak things to show His glory: But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God (1 Cor. 27-29).
6. Even if we have weaknesses, God can use us if we trust and follow Him.