7:1 Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and his men 1 got up the next morning and camped near the spring of Harod. 2 The Midianites 3 were camped north of them near the hill of Moreh in the valley. 7:2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you. 4 Israel might brag, 5 ‘Our own strength has delivered us.’ 6 7:3 Now, announce to the men, 7 ‘Whoever is shaking with fear 8 may turn around and leave Mount Gilead.’” 9 Twenty-two thousand men 10 went home; 11 ten thousand remained. 7:4 The Lord spoke to Gideon again, “There are still too many men. 12 Bring them down to the water and I will thin the ranks some more. 13 When I say, ‘This one should go with you,’ pick him to go; 14 when I say, 15 ‘This one should not go with you,’ do not take him.” 16 7:5 So he brought the men 17 down to the water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “Separate those who lap the water as a dog laps from those who kneel to drink.” 18 7:6 Three hundred men lapped; 19 the rest of the men 20 kneeled to drink water. 7:7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men who lapped I will deliver the whole army 21 and I will hand Midian over to you. 22 The rest of the men should go home.” 23 7:8 The men 24 who were chosen 25 took supplies 26 and their trumpets. Gideon 27 sent all the men of Israel back to their homes; 28 he kept only three hundred men. Now the Midianites 29 were camped down below 30 in the valley.
[7:3] 9 tc Many interpreters reject the MT reading “and leave Mount Gilead” for geographical reasons. A possible alternative, involving rather radical emendation of the Hebrew text, would be, “So Gideon tested them” (i.e., thinned the ranks in this manner).
[7:6] 19 tc The Hebrew text adds, “with their hands to their mouths,” This makes no sense in light of v. 5, which distinguishes between dog-like lappers (who would not use their hands to drink) and those who kneel (who would use their hands). It seems likely that the words “with their hands to their mouths” have been misplaced from v. 6. They fit better at the end of v. 5 or v. 6. Perhaps these words were originally a marginal scribal note which was later accidentally inserted into the text in the wrong place.