"And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place" (Judges 7:7).
The Midianites had been permitted by God to terrorize the Israelites for seven years because "the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD" (Judges 6:1). Their offense against God appears to have been in worshipping the gods of the Amorites in whose land they were living (Judges 6:10), for which cause "Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD" (Judges 6:6). In answer, God prepared Gideon to save the people as the leader of Israel's army.
To accomplish His purposes, God directed Gideon to reduce the number of recruits from 32,000 to 300 by employing two behavioral tests: First, there was a "fear test" that selected 10,000 unfearful soldiers for the army (31%). Next, there was a "lapping test" that selected 3% of those left. God knew how to screen the recruits because he knows the genetic makeup of mankind. When nature selects a trait, we call it natural selection; when man selects a trait, we call it artificial selection or breeding; when God selects a trait, it might be called divine selection. From the outset, when God decided to solve the problem, He already knew His options. All He had to do was to gain Gideon's cooperation and explain what to do.
Fearless/fearful and lapping/bowing were the alternate traits from which God selected. Unlike anatomical or fixed parts of the body, the traits of bravery and watchfulness are behavioral traits. Very few behavioral traits are understood by man, even today, but God knows which alternate expressions are possible. He can use all our traits in His service, as we obey His voice. KBC