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Gideon

god fleece caused battle

Gideon appears in the Old Testament book of Judges and is mentioned in the New Testament as a man of faith who both tested and was tested by *God. He was visited by an *angel, called upon to save the Israelites from the Bedouin Midianites, and succeeded in leading an army which drove out the Midianites. While carrying out these deeds, he several times was offered, or asked God for, proof of God’s support. Thus God, at Gideon’s request, caused a fleece laid on the ground to become covered with dew while the ground around it remained dry and also caused the fleece to remain dry while the ground around it became damp with dew. When preparing for battle against the Midianites, God sorted out the appropriate 300 soldiers for Gideon’s army in a test involving the men’s way of drinking, or lapping, water at a stream. Although victorious, Gideon later set up an *idol and caused apostasy in his city. Early Christian and medieval theologians linked the (meat and bread) sacrifice of Gideon (Judges 6:19-21) to the Eucharist, the sorting of his army at the stream to a type of *Baptism, and the miraculously dew-covered fleece to the incarnation of *Christ and the virginity of *Mary. Gideon’s fleece may thus be found in medieval art accompanying scenes of the *Annunciation, *Nativity, and *Tree of Jesse. Other scenes, in manuscripts and sculpture, include his visit by the angel, his destruction of the altar to Baal, his preparing his men for battle, and the victorious battle.
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