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with thee: and of whomsoever I say unto thee, * This shall not go with thee,' the same shall not go.”

So when Gideon had brought the people down to the water, the LORD bade him note how the people drank from it: the men who lapped the water from their hands he was to put apart from those who knelt down to drink from the stream. Gideon obeyed—and all save three hundred of the men went down

upon their knees to drink. Then God said to 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."

Gideon obeyed, and during the night that followed, the LORD said unto him, “ Arise, get thee down unto the host, for I have delivered it into thine hand, and thou shalt hear what they say, and afterwards shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host.” God also bade him take Phurah his servant, and go down and hear what the Midianites said. So in the stillness of the night, Gideon and his single follower went down into the outskirts of the enemy's host. Well might Gideon require a sign of the Lord to make him

believe that with three hundred men he could destroy this mighty army; for 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 seaside for multitude.

Now as Gideon passed along in the darkness, he heard one Midianite soldier telling his dream to another. Behold,” he said, “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.

Then the other soldier 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.” When Gideon heard this dream, and the interpretation given by the Midianite soldier, he worshipped the LORD, and went back to the army of Israel, and said, “ Arise, for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.”

Then Gideon divided the three hundred men into three companies, and to every man he gave a pitcher which had nothing within it save a lamp or torch, and in the other hand he made each man carry a trumpet. And he said unto them, “Look on me and do likewise, and behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be, that as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon."

So at the appointed time, just after the watch was newly set, Gideon and his company came to the enemy's camp, and all at once they blew their trumpets, and breaking the pitchers held up their lamps, and with mighty voice they cried, “ The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon." Then all the hosts of Midian were afraid, and they cried out, and ran hither and thither, and tried to fly, and in their dismay and confusion, they fell upon one another, and were quite defeated.

After this Gideon gained some more victories over several kings and princes of Midian, so that they lifted up their heads no more, and the Israelites were at peace for forty years.

ABIMELECH.

gave him

Gideon died in a good old age, and as soon as he was dead, the people returned to their wicked ways, and served the heathen idols. So God punished them through the sons of their judge and deliverer Gideon. Gideon had left a very large family, and one of his sons, whose name was Abimelech, rose up and asked the people to make him their king. Some of his relations

money,

and with that he hired a company of idle light followers, and going to his father's house at Ophrah, murdered all his brethren except one—the youngest of Gideon's sons, Jotham, who contrived to hide himself, and so escaped. Then he and his followers called Abimelech king.

When Jotham heard what Abimelech had done, he went out to the top of Mount Gerizim, and spoke to the people of Shechem in a parable, asking whether they had done truly and rightly by their late chief Jerubbaal (or Gideon,) in killing so many of his sons, to set up one of the least worthy ? 'If ye have dealt truly,” Jotham said, “then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you; but if not, let fire come out and devour both Abimelech and his followers.”

Then Jotham fled, and hid himself for fear of Abimelech. For three years Abimelech ruled, and then God allowed division and ill-will to spring up between him and the people, and the men of Shechem in their turn dealt treacherously with Abimelech ; till after several battles and much warfare he was killed, while seeking to take the strong tower of a city called Thebez. Abimelech was trying to burn the tower-door, when a woman from above cast a piece of millstone upon his head. Then Abimelech called hastily to his armourbearer, and said, “ Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him."

And the armourbearer killed him. Thus God punished both Abimelech and the people who followed him in his wickedness, and fulfilled Jotham's curse

upon them.

JEPHTHAH.

AFTER this other judges rose up to defend Israel :-Tola, and Jair. But after Jair's death the people forsook the Lord, and served Him not, and His anger was hot against them, and

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