The Story of Gideon and His Three Hundred Soldiers /p2
Then the Lord told Gideon that before setting his people free from the Midianites, he must first set them free from the service of Baal and Asherah, the two idols most worshipped among them. Near the house of Gideon's own father stood an altar to Baal, and the image of Asherah.
On that night, Gideon went out with ten men, and threw down the image of Baal, and cut in pieces the wooden image of Asherah, and destroyed the altar before these idols. And in its place he built an altar to the God of Israel; and on it laid the broken pieces of the idols for wood, and with them offered a young ox as a burnt-offering.
On the next morning, when the people of the village went out to worship their idols, they found them cut in pieces, the altar taken away; in its place an altar of the Lord, and on it the pieces of the Asherah were burning as wood under a sacrifice to the Lord. The people looked at the broken and burning idols; and they said: "Who has done this?"
Some one said: "Gideon, the son of Joash, did this last night."
Then they came to Joash, Gideon's father, and said:
"We are going to kill your son because he has destroyed the image of Baal, who is our god."
And Joash, Gideon's father, said: "If Baal is a god, he can take care of himself, and punish the man who has destroyed his image. Why should you help Baal? Let Baal help himself."
And when they saw that Baal could not harm the man who had broken down his altar and his image, the people turned from Baal, back to their own Lord God.
Gideon sent messengers through all Manasseh on the west of Jordan, and the tribes near on the north; and the men of the tribes gathered around him, with a few swords and spears, but very few, for the Israelites were not ready for war. They met beside a great spring on Mount Gilboa, called "the fountain of Harod." Mount Gilboa is one of the three mountains on the east of the plain of Esdraelon, or the plain of Jezreel, where once there had been a great battle. On the plain, stretching up the side of another of these mountains, called "the Hill of Moreh," was the camp of a vast Midianite army. For as soon as the Midianites heard that Gideon had undertaken to set his people free, they came against him with a mighty host.
Gideon was a man of faith. He wished to be sure that God was leading him, and he prayed to God and said: