Judges 7:13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.”
a cake (KJV): Jdg 3:15,31 4:9,21 6:15 Isa 41:14,15 1Co 1:27
WHEN GIDEON CAME, BEHOLD, A MAN WAS RELATING A DREAM TO HIS FRIEND. AND HE SAID, “BEHOLD, I HAD A DREAM:
God had given one of the soldiers a dream, and that dream told Gideon that God would deliver the Midianites into his hand. The Lord had already told Gideon this fact, but now Gideon heard it from the lips of the enemy!
In the biblical record, you often find God communicating His truth through dreams. Among the believers He spoke to through dreams are Jacob (Gen. 28, 31), Joseph (Gen. 37), Solomon (1 Kings 3), Daniel (Dan. 7), and Joseph, the husband of Mary (Matt. 1:20–21; 2:13–22). But He also spoke to unbelievers this way, including Abimelech (Gen. 20), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2, 4), Joseph’s fellow prisoners (Gen. 40), Pharaoh (Gen. 41), and Pilate’s wife (Matt. 27:19). However, we must not conclude from these examples that this is the Lord’s normal method of communicating with people or that we should seek His guidance in our dreams today. Dreams can be deceptive (Jer. 23:32; Zech. 10:2), and apart from divine instruction we can’t know the correct interpretation. The best way to get God’s guidance is through the Word of God, prayer, and sensitivity to the Spirit as we watch circumstances.
A LOAF OF BARLEY BREAD WAS TUMBLING INTO THE CAMP OF MIDIAN:
This bread metaphor pictures the 300 soldiers of Israel, and tents the nomadic Midianites. The interpretation by a Midianite gave Gideon final assurance.
The specific fact that this is barley (rather than wheat) represents the poor farmers of Israel. The interpretation by the Midianite gave Gideon the final assurance he needed to complete his task.
SO THAT THE TENT LAY FLAT:
Lay flat (napal) means to fall, to lie, to overthrow and can be used literally of something falling down. This same verb describing the tent’s collapse was used to depict the fallen Eglon (Jdg 3:28) and Sisera (Jdg 4:22; 5:27). The dream therefore portends Midian’s destiny would be the same as Israel’s other oppressors.
Like most dreams, incoherent and grotesque! Who ever heard of a cake of barley bread upsetting a tent! To the dreamer and his comrade, there was no sense in it. But how much it meant to the two Hebrews, who had crept up to the other side of the curtain, in the thick darkness, and were drinking in each word!
The dream was very humbling — It brought Gideon back to the simplicity and helplessness of his own resources. In the gathering of these crowds of warriors, in the notoriety he had achieved, in the loyalty of the three hundred, there was much to inflate his pride. Therefore God brought him face to face with himself. He was only a cake of barley bread at the best. Before God can uplift, use, and anoint us, He must show us what we are, humbling and emptying us, bringing us into the dust of death. Before God can use thee to work a great deliverance, He must convince thee of being only a cake of barley bread. “Five barley loaves, and two small fishes.”
It was full of hope — A cake of barley bread might be a worthless thing; but if God were behind it, it would upset a tent! So when the weakest life is placed at the disposal of the Almighty, and taken in hand by Him, it becomes mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.
It is full of teaching — How much has to be learned by us on these lines! We are too strong for God. We vaunt our might, we count our warriors, we magnify our generalship. This may not be! So God brings us down to the brook and tests us there; and reduces our force to three hundred men, and ourselves to barley-cakes, and there gets the victory with his right hand, and his holy arm.
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
A cake of barley bread.