Judges 7:2

Hebrew Bible

1 Jerub Baal (that is, Gideon) and his men got up the next morning and camped near the spring of Harod. The Midianites were camped north of them near the hill of Moreh in the valley. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you. Israel might brag, ‘Our own strength has delivered us.’ 3 Now, announce to the men, ‘Whoever is shaking with fear may turn around and leave Mount Gilead.’” Twenty-two thousand men went home; 10,000 remained. 4 The Lord spoke to Gideon again, “There are still too many men. Bring them down to the water, and I will thin the ranks some more. When I say, ‘This one should go with you,’ pick him to go; when I say, ‘This one should not go with you,’ do not take him.”

Zechariah 4:6

Hebrew Bible

4 Then I asked the messenger who spoke with me, “What are these, sir?” 5 He replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” So I responded, “No, sir.” 6 Therefore he told me, “This is the Lord’s message to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 7 “What are you, you great mountain? Because of Zerubbabel you will become a level plain! And he will bring forth the temple capstone with shoutings of ‘Grace! Grace!’ because of this.” 8 Moreover, the Lord’s message came to me as follows:

 Notes and References

"... The tale found in Judges 7 is famous for twice reducing the number of Gideon’s military forces (from 32,000 to 10,000, and then to 300) that were to face the already overwhelming 135,000 Midianite troops (Judges 8:10). The reason given is explicit: “lest Israel claim for themselves the glory due to [Yahweh]” by asserting that they achieved military victory through their own machinations (Judges 7:2). With the odds set outlandishly against them (450 to 1), only Yahweh could receive the glory. A similar notion is found elsewhere in the Deuteronomistic History when we read of Jonathan instructing his armor bearer that “nothing can hinder Yahweh from a military conquest, by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6) ... Such notions are echoed in Psalm 44:4 and in the divine speech to Zerubbabel: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Yahweh of Armies” (Zechariah 4:6). The enduring legacy of such teaching, providing hope for the marginalized as it warns against relying on humans alone, can be illustrated by the choice of Zechariah 4:6 for the Haftarah for the First Shabbat of Hanukkah ..."

Lewis, Theodore J. The Origin and Character of God: Ancient Israelite Religion through the Lens of Divinity (p. 465) Oxford University Press, 2020

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