Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study Table of Contents

About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand.  In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form. 


The Book of Judges

The Israelites moved into Canaan. They had wars with the groups of people who lived in Canaan. They won the wars, and most of the other groups of people died or left Canaan. But some of the other people continued to live in Canaan.

In the book of Joshua, the Israelites obeyed God. They did not worship the other people's false gods. But in the book of Judges, the Israelites do not always obey God. Sometimes they worship false gods. Then God punishes them. Other people come and have wars with the Israelites.

The Israelite judges were leaders. Many of them were leaders of the army. They led the Israelites to win in wars.  This book covers 350 years from the year 1390 B.C. to 1050 B.C.
There were 14 judges in these years.  Some of the judges were Deborah, Gideon, and Samson.


Bible Timeline
 
Here is a good timeline to see the book of Judges in the history of the Bible
http://www.sundayschoolresources.com/timeline.htm


 


Judges 4 - 6
Deborah and Barak lead the Israelites in war.
God calls Gideon to lead the Israelites.

 


Judges 4


Deborah and Barak lead the Israelites in war against Jabin and the leader of his army, Sisera.


After Ehud died, the Israelites started to sin again.
[1] And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead.
 

Because they sinned, God did not help the Israelites. The king of Canaan, Jabin, who lived in Hazor defeated the Israelites. The leader of Jabin's army was Sisera.  Sisera lived in the area of Harosheth.
[2] And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles.


For 20 years, Jabin ruled over the Israelites.  Jabin had 900 chariots made of iron. The Israelites cried and prayed to God to help them.
[3] And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
 

Deborah
by J. Wylie
From the
Christian Theological Seminary web site.

Deborah was married to Lapidoth. She was a judge and a prophetess. Prophets and prophetesses were people who told other people what God said and told about the future. She sat under a palm tree in the area between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim.  The other Israelites came to her when they did not agree about something, and she would tell them how to solve their problems.
[4] And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
[5] And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
 

Barak was a man whose father's name was Abinoam.  He was in the area of Kedesh-naphtali. Deborah called Barak. She gave him a message from God.  She told him to go to the mountain named Tabor and take 30,000 men with him.  The men should be from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. God will bring Sisera to the river named Kishon.  Sisera will have many men and chariots with him, but the Israelites will defeat him in a war. God will help the Israelites defeat Sisera.
[6] And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
[7] And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.


Barak said he would go if Deborah went with him. If Deborah would not go, then Barak would not go either. 
[8] And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.


Deborah said she will go.  But she warned Barak that he will not get the glory and honor when the Israelites win.  God will allow a woman to defeat Sisera.  So, Deborah went with Barak. They traveled to Kedesh.

[9] And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.


Barak called men from the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali to come to Kedesh. Deborah, Barak, and 10,000 men went to fight Sisera.
[10] And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.
 

Some confusion about Moses' father-in-law

In different books of the Bible, Moses' father-in-law is called by different names. He is called: Jethro, Reuel, Raguel, and Hobab.


There was a man named Heber living in this area.  Heber was part of the group of people called the Kenites. The Kenites were descendants of Moses' father-in-law.  Heber separated from the other Kenites. He lived near the place called Zaanaim which is near Kedesh.  
[11] Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.


Sisera learned that Barak and his army were at the mountain called Tabor.  Sisera got his army together.  His army had 900 iron chariots and many men.  They traveled from the place called Harosheth of the Gentiles to the Kishon River.
[12] And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor.
[13] And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.


Deborah told Barak that it was the day for the war with Sisera. Deborah said the Israelites would defeat Sisera. Deborah said that God was leading the Israelites today.  Barak's army had 10,000 men. Barak and his army went down from Mt. Tabor.
[14] And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.

God made Sisera and his army afraid. Barak's men killed many of Sisera's men.  Sisera got off his chariot and ran away.
[15] And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.


Barak and his army chased all of Sisera's chariots and soldiers. They chased them back to the area called Harosheth of the Gentiles. All of the men in Sisera's army were killed. There were none left.
[16] But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.


Sisera ran away on foot. He arrived at Jael's tent. (Heber was the Kenite man from verse 11 above.  Heber's wife was Jael. In those times, the women had separate tents.) Heber and Jabin the king (Sisera's king) had a peace treaty.
[17] Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.


Jael went out and met Sisera. She invited him into her tent. She told him that he should not be afraid.  He went in the tent, and Jael covered him with a blanket.
[18] And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.


Sisera asked for some water to drink. He said he was thirsty.  Jael opened some milk and gave him some to drink. Then she covered him up again.
[19] And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him.


Sisera asked Jael to stand in the door of the tent. He said that if someone comes and asks her if a man is there, she should say no.
[20] Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

 

Jael and Sisera
From the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod web site,
www.wels.net
They were scanned from  woodcut illustrations by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld that were originally printed in Das Buch der Bcher in Bilden.

Sisera was very tired and was sleeping. Then Jael got a hammer and nail. She sneaked up on Sisera. She hit the nail with the hammer and made the nail go into the side of Sisera's head. The nail went all the way into the ground under Sisera's head, and he died.
[21] Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.


Barak was chasing Sisera. Jael went out to meet him.  She told him to come into her tent and find Sisera. Barak went into the tent and saw Sisera dead.

[22] And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.

 

On that day, God helped the Israelites be strong and defeat Jabin, the king of Canaan.
[23] So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.
[24] And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
 



Judges 5


Deborah sings a song about the war.
 

This chapter contains the poem, "The Song of Deborah". It tells the story about the Israelites' war with Sisera and King Jabin's army.

Deborah and Barak sang a song to praise God. This is their song.
[1] Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying,
 

Praise the Lord for helping the Israelites in the war.  The Israelites volunteered to fight.
[2] Praise ye the LORD for the avenging of Israel, when the people willingly offered themselves.
 

"Deborah's Song of Triumph" by Gustave Dore
The Dore Gallery of Bible Illustrations, Volume 3 Illustrated
From the
Project Gutenberg web site

I will sing praises to God.  All kings and princes should pay attention and listen.
[3] Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.


God, when you went out of Seir and marched out of Edom, the earth shook.  It rained.
[4] LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.


The mountains shook, and even Mt. Sinai shook.
[5] The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel.


In the time when Shamgar was the Israelite judge and Jael (the woman who killed Sisera) was living there, the roads were not safe.  Bad people robbed and stole from people traveling. People who were traveling could not use the roads. They had to travel on private land or small roads.
[6] In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through byways.


The people living in small cities were not safe.  They moved to the larger cities with walls around them. Then Deborah became the judge. She was like a mother to the Israelites.
[7] The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.


When the Israelites worshiped false gods, there was war. The Israelites did not have shields or spears (weapons for fighting in wars).
[8] They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?


Deborah thanked the Israelites who remembered the laws and taught the other Israelites. She asks God to bless them.
[9] My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD.


It doesn't matter if someone rides on a white donkey or walks everywhere. They should talk about the Israelites winning the war.  The people at the wells should also talk about God helping the Israelites.  Then the Israelites marched from their cities.
[10] Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment, and walk by the way.
[11] They that are delivered from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, even the righteous acts toward the inhabitants of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.


The Israelites yelled for Deborah to go forward and lead them. They will sing and march.  They yelled for Barak to lead them in war, too.
[12] Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.


The Israelites who were left came to fight.
[13] Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty.


The tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin,  Zebulun, and Issachar came to help Deborah and Barak in the war. But the tribe of Reuben did not help. They stayed with their sheep.
[14] Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.
[15] And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.
[16] Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart.


The tribes of Dan and Asher did not help fight.
[17] Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.


The tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali came and helped in the war.
[18] Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.



They fought in the area of Taanach by the waters of Meggido.  They did not get paid to fight.
[19] The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.


The stars fought the war, too. They fought against Sisera.
[20] They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.


The Kishon River flooded, and the enemies drowned.
[21] The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.


The horses were galloping (running fast).
[22] Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones.


God's angel cursed Meroz (to make bad things happen to Meroz). The people who lived in Meroz did not help the Israelites.
[23] Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.


Jael is blessed. She was Heber's wife. Sisera asked Jael for water. Jael brought him milk. Then she killed him with the long nail. She hammered the nail into the side of his head.
[24] Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.
[25] He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
[26] She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples.


Sisera fell down by Jael's feet, and he died there.
[27] At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

Sisera's mother was waiting for him. She watched out the window. She asked why he was late.
[28] The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots?


Sisera's friends were with her. They thought Sisera was late because he won the war. They said he was busy dividing the Israelites' things.
[29] Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself,
[30] Have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil?


Deborah prayed that all of God's enemies die like Sisera. But the people who love God should be strong like the sun. Then Israel had peace for 40 years.
[31] So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

 



Judges 6


The Midianites control the Israelites


After the war with Sisera, Israel had peace for 40 years. But after that, they started to sin again.
There was a group of people called the Midianites. God allowed the Midianites to defeat the Israelites. The Midianites controlled the Israelites for 7 years.

[1] And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.


The Midianites were strong. The Israelites ran away and hid in the mountains and caves.
[2] And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds.


When the Israelites planted food on the farms, the Midianites and the people named the Amalekites destroyed all of the food in the ground. They destroyed the farms all the way to the place called Gaza. They destroyed the farm animals, too, so that the Israelites had nothing to eat.
[3] And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them;
[4] And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.


There were many, many Midianites. They also had many camels. They covered the Israelites' land like grasshoppers.
[5] For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.


The Israelites became very poor. They prayed and cried to God for help.
[6] And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.

 



God calls Gideon to lead the Israelites.


God sent a prophet to talk to the Israelites. The prophet told them what God said. God said that He brought them out of Egypt, and they were not slaves anymore. God helped them win many wars and made the other groups of people leave Canaan. God told them not to worship the other groups of people's false gods. But the Israelites did not obey God.
[7] And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
[8] That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage;
[9] And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land;
[10] And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice.


God sent an angel to the place called Ophrah.  The angel sat down under an oak tree. The land belonged to a man named Joash. Joash was an Abierzite (he was a descendant of Joseph). Joash's son was named Gideon. Gideon was working near the oak tree. He was threshing wheat on the winepress. He was working secretly so the Midianites wouldn't see him. If the Midianites saw him, they would steal his wheat. 
[11] And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.


The angel talked to Gideon.  He said that God was with Gideon and that he was a strong and brave man.
[12] And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
 

Gideon asked the angel why these bad things happened to the Israelites. Gideon wondered why, if God is with them, the Midianites are controlling them now.  God brought them out of Egypt, and God did many miracles. Gideon thinks that God has forgotten the Israelites.
[13] And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.


Then God talked to Gideon. He told Gideon that he was sending him to save Israel.  He should go and be strong and save Israel from the Midianites.
[14] And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?


Gideon asked God how he could save Israel.  He said his family is the weakest family in the tribe of Manasseh. He said he is the least important person in his family.
[15] And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.


God said that He would be with Gideon. Gideon will defeat all of the Midianites the same as he would defeat one man.
[16] And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
 

Gideon wanted proof that God had really talked to him. He asked God to stay so he could go and bring a gift for him.  God said He would wait.
[17] And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
[18] Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again.
 

Gideon went into the house. He cooked a goat and some flat bread. He put the meat in a basket and the meat broth (soup) in a pot. He brought the food to the oak tree and gave it to God.
[19] And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.
 

Gideon and the Angel of God
From the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod web site, www.wels.netThey were scanned from  woodcut illustrations by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld that were originally printed in Das Buch der Bcher in Bilden.

God's angel told Gideon to put the meat and bread on the rock. Then he should pour the broth on them. Gideon did this.
[20] And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.


The angel had a staff (tall stick). He touched the food with the staff. Fire came up out of the rock. The fire burned the meat and bread. Then the angel left.
[21] Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.



Gideon knew then it was really an angel. He was afraid. He said he would die because he saw one of God's angels face-to-face. But God told him he should not be afraid. He would not die.

[22] And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
[23] And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.


Gideon built an altar to God. He named the altar Jehovah-shalom. When this book of the Bible was written, the altar was still there in the place called Ophrah.
[24] Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

 



Gideon destroys the altar to the false god, Baal.



Gideon's father had built an altar to the false god, Baal. He also had a grove of trees for the false god, Asherah. That night, God told Gideon to get 2 of his father's bulls. He should tear down the altar and cut down the grove of trees. Then he should build an altar to God. Gideon should take the 2nd bull and burn it on the altar. He should use the wood from the grove of trees to make the fire.
[25] And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
[26] And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.


Gideon took 10 of the servant men. They did what God told them to do. Gideon was afraid of the other people in his family, so they worked at night.
[27] Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.


The next morning, the men in the city saw that Baal's altar was gone. They saw that the grove of trees was cut down. They saw the bull on the altar.  They asked who had done this.  They found out that Gideon, the son of Joash, had done these things.
[28] And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.
[29] And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.


The men told Joash they would kill Gideon. They told Joash to bring him out to them.
[30] Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.


Joash talked to the men. He asked why they were supporting Baal. He said that if Baal is a god, he can stand up for himself.  He said that anyone standing up for Baal will die that morning.
[31] And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.


Joash changed Gideon's name to Jerubbaal. The name means "let Baal stand up for himself because it was his altar".
[32] Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.


Then the groups of people called the Midianites, the Amalekites, and other groups of people from the east met together. They all camped in the Jezreel Valley.
[33] Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.


God's spirit was on Gideon. Gideon blew a trumpet. The men in the Abiezer family of the tribe of Manasseh followed him.
[34] But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abi-ezer was gathered after him.


Gideon sent people to take messages to the other tribes.  The messengers went to the tribes of Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali.  The men from these tribes came and joined Gideon.
[35] And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

 



Gideon tests God.



Gideon wanted to make sure that God would help him.  He prayed to God.  He had a test for God.  He said he would put a piece of wool on the ground. In the morning, he would feel the wool.  If God would help him lead the Israelites, the wool would be wet but the ground would be dry.
[36] And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
[37] Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
 

Gideon sees that the wool is wet.
From
The Gutenberg Project

The next morning, Gideon felt the piece of wool. It was very wet. He wrung (twisted) the wool, and a bowl full of water came out.
[38] And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.


He didn't want God to be mad at him, but Gideon wanted to test God again. He said he would put the piece of wool on the ground again. He would check it in the morning. If the wool was dry but the ground was wet, then he would know that God would help him lead the Israelites. 
[39] And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.


God did what Gideon asked him to do. The next morning, the wool was dry but the ground around it was wet.
[40] And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
 


 

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