GIDEON'S BRAVE BAND 65
Israelites to live on, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass; for they came up with their cattle and their tents. The Israelites were so robbed by the Midianites, that they cried to Jehovah for help.
Then the angel of Jehovah came and sat down under the oak which was in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezerite; and his son, Gideon, was beating out wheat in the wine-press to hide it from the Midianites. The angel of Jehovah appeared to him and said, "Jehovah is with you, able warrior!" Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if Jehovah is with us, why then has all this overtaken us? Where are all his wonderful acts of which our fathers told us, saying, 'Did not Jehovah bring us from Egypt?' But now Jehovah has cast us off and given us into the power of the Midianites."
Then Jehovah turned to him and said, "With this strength which you have go and save Israel from the rule of the Midianites: do I not send you?" But Gideon said to him, "O Jehovah, how can I save Israel? See, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." Jehovah said to him, "I will surely be with you, and you shall overthrow the Midianites as if they wTere only one man."
Then the spirit of Jehovah took possession of Gideon, and he sounded the war trumpet, and the Abiezerites assembled under his leadership. He also sent messengers throughout all the land of the Manassites, and they assembled under his leadership; and he sent messengers to the Asherites, the Zebulunites, and the Naphtalites, and they went up to join him. But Jehovah said to Gideon, "You have too many people with you; if I give the Midianites up to the Israelites they will boast, ' We have saved ourselves!' Therefore, proclaim to your people, 'Whoever is afraid may go home.'"
Then Gideon separated them, so that twenty-two thousand of the people went back home, but ten thousand stayed. But Jehovah said to him, "The people are still too many; take them down to the water, and I will try them out for you there. Every one of wbom I say to you, 'This one shall go with you,' shall go with you; and every one of whom I say to you, 'This one shall not go with you,' shall not go."
So Gideon brought the people down to the water. And Jehovah said to him, "You shall put by themselves all who lap the water with their tongues, as a dog laps, and all who kneel down on their knees to drink by themselves." The number of those who lapped with their tongue, putting their hand to their mouth, were three