The Righteous Gideon, whose name means “destroyer,” appears in chapters 6-8 of Judges. He was the son of Joash the Abiezrite. One day, as he was beating out wheat in the wine press, the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and commanded him to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Gideon gathered an army of men from various towns to fight the Midianites, then asked God to give him a sign that he would be able to deliver Israel. First, he placed a fleece of wool on the floor of the threshing room. Then he said, “If there is dew on the fleece alone, and if the ground is dry, then I shall know that thou wilt deliver Israel by my hand, as thou hast said.”
The next morning Gideon got up early and squeezed the fleece, wringing out enough water to fill a bowl. Then he asked God to let the fleece remain dry and to let there be dew on the ground. When Gideon saw that this had been done, the powerful warrior of Manasseh led an army of 300 men to victory over the Midianites.
The people entreated him to be their ruler, and also his son and grandson, but he would not agree to this, because the Lord was their ruler. However, Gideon was a Judge for forty years, and during that time the land had rest.
The Righteous Gideon is referenced in Ode 9 of the second Canon for the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos: “Let us all magnify the radiant cloud, in which the Master of all descended, as dew from Heaven upon the fleece” (Judges 6:37). He is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:32 with others “who through faith conquered kingdoms.”