Gideon’s story begins in chapter 6 of the book of Judges, when the Lord calls him into His service.
Upon meeting Angel of the Lord, Gideon honors Him by asking if he could bring an offering to Him. The angel tells him that God is with him, but Gideon thinks the reference is to the people of Israel, who has been oppressed for 7 years by the Midianites.
The Lord then confirmed that Gideon is the one that is blessed of the Lord. Gideon confirmed his calling by asking the Lord for a test of the fleece. Then the Lord told Gideon to take a second bull, tear down the Baal altar and build an altar for the Lord. His obedience brought great favor from the Lord.
Thus, chapter 7, he is about to go into battle against the Midianites. He asked the Lord to confirm the victory that God promised him. So God sent him to the camp of the Midianites to listen to their conversation. There he overheard one Midianite tell another Midianite about a dream he had had.
Jdg 7:12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels [were] without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.
Jdg 7:13 And when Gideon was come, behold, [there was] a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.
Jdg 7:14 And his fellow answered and said, This [is] nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: [for] into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.
1) dream a) dream (ordinary) b) dream (with prophetic meaning)
a grain much cultivated in Egypt (Exd 9:31) and in Palestine (Lev 27:16; Deu 8:8). It was usually the food of horses (1Ki 4:28). Barley bread was used by the poorer people (Jdg 7:13; 2Ki 4:42). Barley of the first crop was ready for the harvest by the time of the Passover, in the middle of April (Rth 1:22; 2Sa 21:9). Mention is made of barley-meal (Num 5:15). Our Lord fed five thousand with “five barley loaves and two small fishes”(Jhn 6:9).
I couldn’t understand the meaning of this dream until I found that definition. I knew the barley was the key to unraveling the meaning of the dream.
The barley was used by the poorer people, and in this case, the reference was to people who were more oppressed. The dream means that the oppressed people had gained the strength and power to roll into the camp of their enemies and knock them down. Since the Midianites had been oppressing the Jews for 7 years, they knew that this meant they would be defeated.
God made sure to instruct Gideon prior to this event, to take only 300 men. This was so that it could not be said by Israel that they accomplished this by their own strength.