10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their [h]armies with them, about 15,000 men, all who were left of the entire [i]army of the sons of the east; for the fallen were 120,000 [j]swordsmen. 11 Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and [k]attacked the camp when the camp was [l]unsuspecting. 12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the whole [m]army.
13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle [n]by the ascent of Heres. 14 And he captured a youth [o]from Succoth and questioned him. Then the youth wrote down for him the princes of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15 He came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, ‘[p]Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’” 16 He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he [q]disciplined the men of Succoth with them. 17 He tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
There is a contrast here, although it may not be obvious. We first see Gideon attacking a camp of 15,000 menu. Sure, they’ve already dispatched 120,000 swordsmen, with the help of those who rallied in response to his call.
But here he is, with the original 300 men, taking on 15,000 men. Gideon had forgotten his timidity, and knew the Lord was on his side. Whatever you might say about Gideon, he was not a coward. He was fearful (for good reason), but when he knew God would help him against insurmountable odds, Gideon stood strong.
The elders of Succoth, however, were a bit different. Why didn’t they help Gideon the first time? Because they were afraid, didn’t trust in the Lord, and were flat out cowards who had taken on the robes of princes.
How is it, that a town which has seventy-seven princes and elders, stands by while an outsider flogs those seventy-seven with thorns and briers? I suspect it was because they knew the sort of men who had taken on the mantle of power in their town, and they despised them for their cowardice.
What kind of person are you? So afraid that you won’t even listen when God calls? When God calls, be bold and fearless, and don’t let the naysayers hold you back.