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From the July 1914 issue of The Christian Science Journal

THE time once came when the children of Israel had urgent need to learn a lesson. Left without a leader after the passing away of Joshua, they so lapsed into evil ways that they at last found themselves fugitives in the land of Midian, hiding in dens and caves in the mountains for fear of the depredations of those around them. This they endured for seven miserable years; then, as had so often happened, in their dire extremity they "called upon the Lord," and He sent them a deliverer.

When Gideon, at the divine command, left his father's threshing field to become their leader, he was confronted with a somewhat unique situation, for he found that the thirty-two thousand unhappy, frightened fugitives so far exceeded the Midianites in number that they might easily at any time, but for their fears, have asserted their freedom. Even under their new leader, however, they were not to depend upon numerical supremacy for their ultimate release. The mere incident of numbers weighed not one whit in the balances of God; and that was the lesson which they had need to learn, lest in their newfound courage following Gideon's appearance they should "vaunt themselves," and say, "Mine own hand hath saved me." And the way in which they were taught this lesson was indeed a strange one.

The decisive hour had arrived. On one side of the hill were the Midianites, and not far from them the camp of Israel, "beside the well of Harod;" but before the fighting was allowed to begin, those of the Israelites who were afraid were told to depart. Whereupon "there returned of the people twenty and two thousand." The ten thousand remaining were then told to go to the water's edge and drink. "And the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you."