Gideon Bible Story Summary With Lesson

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

Gideon was the fifth judge over Israel in the book of Judges. He is introduced in chapter 6 of the book while he was collecting wheat and hiding it from the enemy. An angel came to him and asked him to take on the task of overthrowing the Midianites.

The story of Gideon is full of little lessons that we can learn today. This story is a popular children’s story for Sunday School, but it is very applicable for adults as well.

Angel Messenger

While Gideon was threshing wheat an angel spoke to him and addressed him as a mighty man of valor. Some people see this as humorous because Gideon was hiding from the enemy and Gideon’s response was that he came from a poor family and was not a hero. However, I think Gideon was acting very heroically and that his response was a response of humility, not fear. Here’s why.

Who else was out threshing wheat for the nation while the enemy loomed around them? The Bible does not say who was or was not (besides Gideon), but I imagine many people were hiding at home and possibly starving because the Midianites besieged the land (Judges 6:1-6). Gideon was out there actively doing something for his people.

Gideon’s response to the angel was one of humility. The angel said that Gideon would save Israel (Judges 6:14). Gideon had already questioned the angel harshly. He asked that if God was for Israel, where was He now. Had God abandoned them? When the angel replied that God was sending Gideon to lead Israel into battle Gideon said that he was from a poor humble family. God responded through the angel that Gideon would lead the country to victory.

If Gideon were a coward, as many suggest, he would have continued to argue. But Gideon knew the scriptures and understood the power of God. Gideon knew that God could do what He said He would do. However, Gideon asked God to prove Himself several times in the story. Right after this first conversation Gideon asked the messenger of God to stick around and enjoy a meal with him. He got more than he asked for when the angel took the meal and made a sacrifice to God with it (Judges 6:18-24).

Gideon Bible Story

Gideon learned to trust God step by step.

Altar of Baal

The first big task God asked of Gideon was to overthrow the altar of Baal that the people of Israel had erected. He was then to build an altar to God. Gideon knew he was going to make people mad when he did this. He took ten servants with him and they destroyed the altar at night so that no one knew who had done it.

The next morning it was discovered that Gideon was the one to blame for destroying their idol. The men of Israel were upset and wanted Gideon to be delivered to them so that they could kill him on behalf of Baal. Gideon’s father said that if Baal had been a true god then Baal could kill Gideon himself. Needless to say, Gideon was not killed (Judges 6:25-32).

Gideon’s Fleece

Gideon called on the men from the surrounding area to join him and build an army against the Midianites. When they came together Gideon again asked God to confirm that he was doing the right thing in preparing for war.

Gideon set out a sheepskin, or a fleece, and asked God to make the fleece full of dew, but the ground around the fleece dry. That night the fleece was saturated and the ground was dry. Then Gideon asked for the opposite to happen the next night. The fleece would be dry and the ground wet if God wanted Gideon to proceed to mount an attack against the enemy (Judges 6:36-40)

Maybe you have heard of “putting out a fleece” to confirm something would or would not happen. That phrase comes from this story in the Bible.

Too Many Men

Gideon was convinced that God wanted him to lead this group of men who had gathered around him. But God said that Gideon had too many men. God wanted Israel to know that it was not the might of 32,000 men that saved Israel, but God Himself. God asked Gideon to pare down his army.

Gideon said that the men who were afraid to go to battle were welcome to return home. It must have been disheartening to see 22,000 men turn around and walk away. But Gideon was left with 10,000 brave men (Judges 7:2, 3).

Even though these men were brave, they were not all wise. God asked Gideon to take them down to the river and watch them drink. The number of those who drank while keeping guard of their surroundings was 300 men. The other 9,700 bowed down to the water losing sight of potential enemy attacks. God said that the 300 would become Gideon’s army to fight against the Midianites (Judges 7:4-8). According to Judges 8:10 there were at least 135,000 enemy troops against Gideon’s 300 soldiers.

An Encouraging Dream

Gideon and his men prepared themselves for battle. God told Gideon and his servant to go down into the camp of the Midianites and hear some encouraging news. They listened in while one soldier told his dream to another. The dream was that a great barley loaf rolled into the camp and flattened a tent. The second soldier said that the dream meant that Gideon and the Israelites would destroy the camp of Midian (Judges 7:9-14).

Gideon and his servant returned to the troops excited about what God was going to do through them.


Gideon prepared his men. They were each equipped with a lamp and a horn. The lamp was covered in a pitcher so that their lights did not shine out yet. Gideon spread out the 300 men on the hillside into 3 companies.

They crept down toward the camp with their eye on Gideon. He instructed them that when he blew his trumpet and broke the pitcher containing the lamp, the soldiers were to do the same. They also yelled out, “the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”

When they all broke their pitchers and blew their trumpets (creating a great noise) the men inside the enemy camp awoke with fear. Gideon’s men yelled out, but did not attack. They stood their ground and did not engage the enemy. The Bible does not say that Gideon’s men had any kind of weapons, only trumpets, broken pitchers and lamps (Judges 7:15-22).

The enemy soldiers began fighting those around them instead of with Gideon and his men. Those who survived the self-inflicted battle fled to the outer regions of Israel—right into the home territory of the 30,000 soldiers who were sent home previously. These out of work soldiers then rose up and picked off the enemy army as they fled through their land (Judges 7:23-8:3).

Gideon and his 300 continued to pursue the enemy until they captured kings and princes of the enemy armies. Gideon’s victory won the respect of the Hebrew nation. They wanted him to become their king and lead the country. Gideon refused saying that God would lead Israel.

The fear of Gideon and his mighty army spread throughout the region. During his pursuit of the enemy armies, Gideon had trouble from some of the tribes of Israel that would not give food to Gideon’s army so that they could continue to fight. Gideon came back and slew those uncooperative men. The fear of Gideon and his men was great enough that Israel lived in peace and worshiped God for the next 40 years until Gideon’s death (Judges 8).

Lessons from Gideon

Gideon learned to trust God step by step. If the angel had told Gideon that he would defeat the 135,000 person army of the Midianites with just 300 men, Gideon would have had an impossible time believing that the message really was from God. God led him step by step. Paring down the army in such a way that Gideon knew God was in control.

The purpose for having such a small army was that God wanted Israel to know that it was He, and not Gideon and his men, who defeated the enemy (Judges 7:2).

What is it God wants you to do? Do you find it impossible to believe? The truth is, whatever God wants from you, it probably will be even more impossible than you could imagine. Yet, when you obey Him and trust Him each step of the way, it will make sense what He wants you to do. God is accomplishing His purposes on earth through men and women today. It is a great thing to be obedient to God and be part of His plan.

Did you like this article?

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The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack Wellman October 26, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Thanks David. I need to apply this lesson to my life for the battle is the Lord’s, but sadly, how many times do I forget and trust in myself instead. Thank you sir.


amy October 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

Thank you for this study! I ahve heard soooo many preachers and studies claiming Gidoen was coward and the angel was being sarchastic when he called Gideon a mighty warrior of God. I could not believe God’s messengers were sarschastic! I always thought Gideon was very brave and was taking care of his family at the risk of his own life when he was threshing grain. That is not what a coward does!
I named my youngest son Gideon and then kept hearing about Gideon being a coward and it just bothered me that no one saw the scripture the way I was seeing it. A man of God takes care of his family no matter what!


Mr Abdul March 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I really appreciate ur site,its full of inspirations


Njah Gideon April 12, 2013 at 6:19 am

Gideon is really a mighty man of valour. Am name Gideon and always appreciate my parent for giving me this name. Before i got married in 2010, i had read through this passage several times and reminded God of my name and how He had proven to him who He(God) was. I told God, ” Father i don’t need a wife someone else had led to Christ, but let me be the one to lead her to Christ” He answered me. I put God to many other test and He answered me according and today am leaving happily with my wife doing great in our spiritual lives. Ever than am proud of the name ” Gideon” he isn’t a caward but a” mighty man of valour” before God and man. Thanks for reminding me of who and the value this name entails, it makes me remember the Gideons International. All Gideons are mighty men. Godbless you for the inspiration.


erin October 26, 2013 at 7:51 am

,,thanks for this, through this I at least I grasped the gist of the lesson I’ll be teaching to the kids,,
really helpful 🙂

Keep up!


isaack chumba May 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Good exposition on gideon


manyowa tawanda May 20, 2013 at 8:29 am



Isaac October 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Now it’s clear to me, that God wants to use me. Step by step. I shall forget about my doubts and obey and trust in God to see me through.

I thank God for a servant like you Sir. God richly bless you for shedding a limitless insight into a scripture that i personally didn’t ever imagine would be all that i needed to do.


erin October 26, 2013 at 8:06 am

Great lesson….
sometimes we view things as difficult to do,, impossible for us to accomplish but really there’s nothing impossible with God if only we put our trust to Him and ask Him to help us instead than set back and doubt 🙂

God wants us to trust Him fully and surely he will lead us the way 🙂

Yes, He had chosen us to fulfill His plan… we may do it through His guidance and leading…


Tresha S. August 2, 2015 at 10:21 am

Gideon makes a bad decision in the end: I’m surprised so many websites skirt this issue, as I think it, too, is a good lesson to ponder. My question is this: Why did Gideon have the people shout his name as well as the phrase “the sword of the LORD;” was that a little prideful (not to be judgemental). When I put myself in Gideon’s place I have always thought, even as a child, “Ugh! I would not want people shouting my name next to God’s.”


Jack Wellman August 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Thank you Tresha for your question. If you read the rest of Judges 7 you can see that it WAS the sword of the Lord that delivered them. The people shouted this and not Gideon as Gideon was God’s earthly representative. I am only guessing that this is why the shouted the Lord’s and Gideon’s name in the same sentence but you do bring up a good point to ponder. Thank you.


mstair August 8, 2015 at 7:54 am

“You really can’t blame Gideon for wanting to make sure. From a human perspective, God was asking him to do a very foolish thing. He, the weakest member of the weakest clan, was asked to militarily deliver the entire people of Israel. It was another example of God purposely choosing the least of creation for the largest of purposes. When we sense the call of God hounding us to behave in an imprudent way — be it to leave a career, use our vacation for a mission trip, decline a promotion on principle, make an offering with money we need, end a relationship, stay in a relationship — we enter the world of Gideon.


Use by January 9, 2016 at 4:18 am

This is such an eye opener .May God continue to reveal himself in you and through you. You are a light that God is using to shine in difficult places may God continue to shine through you as you walk humble before him.


Use by Ujeny January 9, 2016 at 4:25 am

This is such a eye opener , may God continue to reveal himself in you, and through you. You are an inspiration. A light God is using to shine through difficult places. Continue to walk humble under the mighty hand of God.


Carol Brooks February 8, 2016 at 5:18 am

Thank you so much for this story of Gideon it truly reminds me that whatever we face in life. The battle is not ours, but the Lords!


susan June 24, 2016 at 10:35 pm

I am always encourage by the story of Gideon, and how God told him that it was okay to get more affirmation before proceeding. You know, our God doesn’t do the peanut under the shell game with us…He wants us to touch base with Him on things we are having trouble believing, and HE is the author AND finisher or our faith! Wonderful lesson, thanks for sharing


susan June 24, 2016 at 10:39 pm

One more thing, David, I’m starting a Vacation Bible School and the enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be their when I approach people about helping. Yet i really believe God wants me to do this! Would you please pray that God would help me not dispair with His people? Thank you!


Vera Bethel September 12, 2017 at 7:58 am

This was enlightening .Read it this morning and it just gave me some motivation


Prodeep Kumar Daimary October 19, 2017 at 11:43 am

Very good and encouraging article indeed.


Moses March 15, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Gideon started well, but his end wasn’t like when he started.
As a Christian what are the steps to follow in other to finish our race in Christ perfectly?


Jack Wellman March 15, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Hello Moses. Here is what I suggest and what I too must do. You need to sit under good Bible teaching/preaching, Sunday school and Bible study just like I do. We need one another (Heb 10:24-25) as seek to do what Jesus commands us to do (Matt 25:34-39) as we do it to Him (Matt 25:40) or we do nothing for Him (Matt 25:41- and that’s not good (Matt 7:21-23).


Yvette Gwamura October 25, 2019 at 1:04 am

I have learned a lot from the story of Gidion ….and l have seen that God has plans for me and my family and l am the Gidion of my family nomatter how impossible it may look ..l must just trust in God and he will lead me step by step


Margaret August 20, 2020 at 12:32 am

Iam greatly inspired by Gideon’s story and the amazing things our God can do through those that are humble and wait upon Him. Gideon was very determined to take risks and fend for his family no matter the circumstances. When we trust in the Lord and submit to Him there is nothing that’s impossible with God.


Kevin Patrick February 8, 2021 at 12:30 pm

That was one of the best articles I’ve ever read in my life!!! On any account in the Bible! Especially at the end where your summarize what the lessons were for us to learn! God bless you and thank you so much for sharing.


Jack Wellman February 8, 2021 at 2:45 pm

I agree with you Mr. Patrick. Mr. Peach is a fine writer and did an outstanding work on this. Thank you for encouraging him sir.


Kevin Patrick February 8, 2021 at 12:33 pm

That was one of the most fantastic articles I’ve ever read in my life!! About any subject in the Bible!! And at the end when you summarize what the lessons were that we had to learn!! Just wonderful thank you so much for sharing!


Garry Rintoule November 17, 2021 at 8:06 pm

Gideon learned to trust God step by step. The Holy Spirit knows us and knows how to lead us. All we need to do is trust and let go of our own desires for our lives because we know who has the best plan. Thank you for this lesson it has helped me focus on my trusting not in my own wisdom but His. Praise the Lord!!


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