It was the early evening of the day in which Gideon had told his army that all who were faint of heart could return to their homes. A group of soldiers were gathered around their campfire, and they were explaining to one another why they had all decided to return to their homes in just an hour or so.
It was the eve of battle, and so their various explanations rang a little hollow. But they all protested Gideon’s mischaracterization of their motives, saying that to describe 22,000 men as “fearful and afraid” was surely a rash generalization.
One man said that he had decided to go home after he had seen the swagger in the three hundred who were the remaining force that had inexplicably been chosen by Gideon — by methods that were, to say the least, unorthodox and bizarre. “There is not enough humility there,” he said. “We need to have more tears and introspection as we deal with the enemies of God. Those men seemed positively eager to fight.”
“I agree completely,” another man said. “That is why I have been feeding information to the Daily Midianite. If there is corruption and sin in our ranks, shouldn’t we be willing to have the facts made public? And I know Gideon is a tax protester.”
“Exactly,” said a third man. “I never liked the colors of this uniform either. On top of that, I live next door to one of the ‘the so-called elite 300,’ and he has a dog that he can’t keep out of my yard. These are grave concerns.”
But not only was it the eve of battle, but it was the eve of an Old Testament Agincourt, a victory against all odds. And tens of thousands of covenant men were not there because their cowardice robbed them of all sense of proportion.