Judges 7:10-12: Gideon's Midnight Reconnaissance, Part 1

Verse 10:[1] But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host…

[If thou fear to go alone, etc.] For in dangers and darkness solitude is wont to increase fear (Bonfrerius). Now, the presence of one or many is of great comfort or help in all terrors (Menochius).

If thou fear to go down, to wit, without some further assurance of thy success, I will condescend so far to thee, as to give thee another sign.

[Thy young man[2]] That is, thy servant (Bonfrerius). See Genesis 42:22[3] (Drusius).

Verse 11:[4] And thou shalt (Judg. 7:13-15; see Gen. 24:14; 1 Sam. 14:9, 10) hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men (or, ranks by five;[5] Ex. 13:18[6]) that were in the host.

[Thine hands shall be strengthened] That is, thy martial strength, which was diminished now through fear (Vatablus). Gideon is reassured by God, that the fortitude and faith of him and his soldiers would be further enlarged: for if, while they were thirty-two thousand, so many were afraid, what is to be thought of the remaining three hundred, except the Lord had increased courage to them (Menochius out of Serarius)?

Afterward shall thine hands be strengthened; thou wilt be encouraged to proceed, notwithstanding the smallness of thy number, which may deter thee.

[Unto part of the camp, etc., אֶל־קְצֵ֥ה הַחֲמֻשִׁ֖ים וגו״[7]] Unto the end, or extremity, of the armed men (Munster, Pagnine, Jonathan), or, of the ranks of five, or of the fives (Montanus, Piscator) (because in a battle line five were advancing together [Piscator]): or, of the military ranks (Junius and Tremellius). Unto the beginning (since the beginning of whatever thing is also its extremity) of the fifty (Septuagint), that is, of the soldiers under one pentacontarch (Bonfrerius). Near the commander of fifty soldiers (Syriac, similarly the Arabic). Unto a part of the armed men that were in the camp, that is, unto that part of the camp where the armed soldiers were. For, if these that were so properly armed, and in whom the whole hope of the army was placed, were so afraid for themselves, in what spirit the rest might be was easily gathered (Vatablus). [See concerning the word חֲמֻשִׁים what things we gathered on Exodus 13:18.]