As the armies were gathering to fight, Gideon Baal-Fighter went walking along Harod Spring. There God talked to him and was all, look man, you’ve got too many fighters. I know I told you to rally the troops, Gideon, but c’mon! How will anybody attribute your victory to a miracle by me with these thousands of troops? You got to get rid of ’em.
So Gideon went back and harangued the troops and told anyone afraid to go on home. So about 20,000 men left and went back home.
But God was all, 10,000 are still too many, Gideon. I know. Bring everyone down here to the creek and watch them drink. The ones that drink by lapping like a dog are the ones to take with you. Send the ones that kneel and drink with their hands home.
That left Gideon with a band of 300 (mostly Ishmaelites?) These men geared up for battle in the morning.
But that night, in his tent, Gideon started doubting. God told him it was time to rally and attack, but Gideon was all, I’m just a farmer! I can’t lead these men in battle! God was all, have some self-confidence, dude. Fine, slip out and hear what the men are saying. Too afraid? Then take your squire Purah and eavesdrop. So Gideon slipped out into the dark and headed to the edges of the camp. He looked out at the numberless campfires of the Midianite forces. Just as his heart began failing him, he heard one of the sentries tell his mate about a dream he had of a barley cake rolling through and flattening the Midian camp. The other guy was all, clearly that dream means that Gideon’s sword (the barley cake) will defeat the enemies tomorrow. This restored Gideon’s courage and he worshiped God for the imminent victory. Then he summoned all his men for a surprise attack on the still-sleeping enemy.
Gideon gave every man a jar with a torch in it and a trumpet and told everyone to follow his lead. They spread out along the edges of the camp. Then everyone blew their trumpets and threw their jars far into the camp. The Midianite and Amalekites awoke in panic, thinking a huge force was attacking them, and in reality, fighting and killing each other in the dark.
The rest of the armies fled, but into Hebrew strongholds instead of away. Gideon and his band pursued them, calling out the tribes through whose lands they passed–Asher, Naphtali, and Manasseh–to join the fight.
Ephraim heard the general call, and pinned the fleeing Midianite and Amalekite forces down for awhile on the banks of the Jordan near Beth-borah, where they captured and beheaded two Midianite princes, Oreb and Zeeb.