Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
Thirty-two thousand men followed Gideon. But Jehovah will not have so many. He alone must be glorified in their deliverance. Their faith was indeed so weak, even while the Spirit of God was at work, that, when in the presence of the enemy, twenty-two thousand men were content to return at Gideon's invitation. The movement produced by the faith of another is quite a different thing from personal faith. But ten thousand men are still too many. Jehovah's hand alone must be seen. Those only may remain who do not stop to quench their thirst at their ease, but who refresh themselves hastily, as opportunity offers, more occupied with the combat than with their own comforts by the way. This was what was needed for Israel-that Jehovah should have His place in their hearts and faith; and it suited the just judgment of God in Israel that they should, as to their place in the work, be left out of the glory of it.
Gideon now displays entire confidence in God. Previously, the weakness of his faith had made him look too much at himself, instead of simply looking to God. His deep sense of Israel's condition prevented his hesitating for a moment because the people were not with him; what could be done with this people? In the mistrust which arose from a disposition to look too much to himself, what he needed was the certainty that Jehovah was with him. But, having now the assurance that Jehovah will deliver Israel by his means, he trusts entirely to Him.
Jehovah throws terror and alarm into the midst of the enemy; and acquaints Gideon with this. It is affecting to see the care which God takes to impart confidence to His servant, suitably to the need which the state of things had created. Already the name of Gideon resounded with dread in the numerous army of the Midianites. Then, terror-stricken, they destroy each other. The confidence of the Midianites, founded only on Israel's want of power, melted away before the energy of faith; for the enemy's instruments have always a bad conscience. It is Jehovah who does everything. The trumpets and the lamps alone announce His presence, and that of His servant Gideon. The multitude of Israel pursue the enemy, profiting by the work of faith, although without faith themselves: the usual result of such a movement.