The Story of Gideon and His Three Hundred Soldiers /p3
Very early the next morning, Gideon came to look at the fleece. He found it wringing wet with dew, while all around the grass was dry. But Gideon was not yet satisfied. He said to the Lord:
"O Lord, be not angry with me; but give me just one more sign. To-morrow morning let the fleece be dry, and let the dew fall all around it, and then I will doubt no more."
The next morning, Gideon found the grass, and the bushes wet with dew, while the fleece of wool was dry. And Gideon was now sure that God had called him, and that God would give him victory over the enemies of Israel.
The Lord said to Gideon: "Your army is too large. If Israel should win the victory, they would say, 'we won it by our own might.' Send home all those who are afraid to fight."
For many of the people were frightened, as they looked at the host of their enemies, and the Lord knew that these men would only hinder the rest in the battle. So Gideon sent word through the camp:
"Whoever is afraid of the enemy may go home." And twenty-two thousand people went away, leaving only ten thousand in Gideon's army. But the army was stronger though it was smaller, for the cowards had gone, and only the brave men were left.
But the Lord said to Gideon: "The people are yet too many. You need only a few of the bravest and best men to fight in this battle. Bring the men down the mountain, past the water, and I will show you there how to find the men whom you need."
In the morning Gideon, by God's command called his ten thousand men out, and made them march down the hill, just as though they were going to attack the enemy. And as they were beside the water, he noticed how they drank, and set them apart in two companies, according to their way of drinking.
When they came to the water, most of the men threw aside their shields and spears, and knelt down and scooped up a draft of the water with both hands together like a cup. These men Gideon commanded to stand in one company.
There were a few men who did not stop to take a large draft of water. Holding spear and shield in the right hand, to be ready for the enemy if one should suddenly appear, they merely caught up a handful of the water in passing and marched on, lapping up the water from one hand. God said to Gideon:
"Set by themselves these men who lapped up each a handful of water. These are the men whom I have chosen to set Israel free."