Discovering St. Gideon in Scripture

St. Gideon
Detail from a Wall Hanging or Tapestry 

The story of St. Gideon begins with the ancient Midianites (probably sometime within the years of 1090-1000 BC) terrorizing Israel, reducing the nation to desperate poverty.  The LORD chose Gideon to rescue Israel from the oppression ... however ... Gideon doubted this charge and asked for a sign from God.

Israel was reduced to utter poverty by Midian, and so the Israelites cried out to the LORD.
- Judges 6:6

"If you look on me with favor, give me a sign that you are the one speaking with me."
- St. Gideon (Judges 6:17b)

Judges 6:20-21
One miraculous sign was a spontaneous fire upon some meat and unleavened cakes.

Judges 6:36-40
Another sign from God was Gideon finding wet woolen fleece on dry ground, and later finding dry fleece on wet ground.

He squeezed enough dew from it [the fleece] to fill a bowl.
- Judges 6:38b

St. Gideon Praying
Illuminated Manuscript
Judges 7:1-7
After the signs from God, Gideon felt the confidence he needed to pull together an army to fight the Midianites. However, God felt as though Gideon's forces of 32,000 soldiers was too large.  He guided Gideon in reducing the number to only 300 so that the Israelites would know that it would be God who would be responsible for their upcoming victory.

The LORD said to Gideon: You have too many soldiers with you for me to deliver Midian into their power, lest Israel vaunt itself against me and say, "My own power saved me."
- Judges 7:2

God Selecting the Troops to Fight With St. Gideon
17th Century Painting

Judges 7:16-22
Gideon's army of 300 men equipped with horns, clay jars, and torches made a frightful scene at the Midianite camp, throwing the Midianites into complete chaos and confusion, prompting them to flee in terror.

Gideon Leading His Army to Victory

After this amazing victory, the Israelites wanted Gideon to become their ruler.  However, Gideon refused, saying:

"I will not rule over you ... The LORD must rule over you."
- Gideon (Judges 8:23)

The Israelites then had peace for forty years.