The surprise attack (Judg 7:16-7:22)

“After Gideon divided the three hundred men into three companies, he put trumpets into the hands of all of them. He also put empty jars, with torches inside the jars. He said to them. ‘Look at me. Do the same. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, you shall do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets around the whole camp, and shout, ‘for Yahweh and for Gideon.’”

Gideon had a plan. Each of the three companies of a hundred men would have a trumpet, a torch, and a jar. In fact, they did not seem to have swords. They were going to sound the trumpet from three different directions. At the same time, they would scream ‘for Yahweh and Gideon.’

“Gideon and the hundred 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. They blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. So the three companies blew their trumpets and broke their jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. They cried, ‘a sword for Yahweh and for Gideon!’ Every man stood in his place all around the camp. All the men in camp ran. They cried out and fled. When they blew the three hundred trumpets, Yahweh set every man’s sword against his fellow man and against all the army. The army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.”

It appears that they attacked in the middle of the night from 3 different directions without any swords. They sounded the horns, broke the jars, shouted, and held their torches. The Midianites were surprised and shocked so they started killing each other as they fled the area. The towns of Zererah and Tabbath are only mentioned here and not elsewhere in the biblical books.

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