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[Shofetim 7 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]

1 Then Jerubbaal [Yerubaal], who is [Gid'on] [ Gid'on], and all the people [ kol haAm] that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod [encamped by Ein Charod;]: so that the host of the Midianites [Machaneh Midyan]were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

2 And Yahweh said unto [Gid'on], The people that are with thee are too many [rav] for Me to give the Midianites [Midyan] into their hands, lest Israel [Yisroel] vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand [yad] hath saved me.

First 'pruning'

3 Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people [oznei haAm], saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead [Har HaGil'ad]. And there returned of the people 22 000; and there remained 10 000.

More than half the fighting men were afraid! With reduced numbers the 10 000 were depleted, further testing their courage.

32 000 Israelites, responding to the trumpet call of [Gid'on], mustered at the well of Harod on the north edge of the Jezreel valley with the object of overthrowing and driving out the enemy from Yahweh's land.

This theatre of battle is where Barak and Deborah had smashed Sisera and the northern confederacy of Canaanites and their 900 chariots (Jdg 4,5), and 'great will be the day of Jezreel' when Yahweh will avenge the blood of Jezreel' (Hos 1; Eze 38,39).

20 000 departed from the battle being fearful and afraid. Faith casteth our fear. In the truth courage and fortitude are necessary in contending against diabolos. Yahweh had no need of such numbers, lest the numerical odds caused them to boast in their own arm of the flesh. *

7 And Yahweh said unto 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.

THE smallness of the number of those who are known as 'Christadelphians' is often a subject of contemptuous allusion. It is perfectly natural it should be so. The importance of a community, in all ordinary human calculations, is measurable by numbers. It has never been so in Divine directions. The multitude has always been in an unacceptable attitude towards God, and He has always spoken disparagingly of the stress that men put on numbers.

Men incline to glory in numbers, and this is always offensive to God. Gideon had to reduce his 32,000 to 300 before God would deliver Israel by his hand, 'Lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me' (Jud. vi. 2). David sinned grievously in numbering Israel for the glory of the thing (2 Sam. xxiv. 10).

When people have asked a census of the Christadelphians, we have always felt the powerful objections arising out of these considerations. 'How many are we?' Leave that alone. Our position does not depend on that, and might even be destroyed by that.

'He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.'"

Bro Roberts