So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon,
Every one that laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, him shall you set by himself; likewise every one that bows down upon his knees to drink.
Read Chapter 7
George Leo Haydock
Tongues. Some Latin copies add, "and hand "as it is expressed in Hebrew, in the following verse. They resembled dogs more in the hurry than in the method of taking water. An old proverb says, "the dog drinks and flees away "(Calmet) alluding to the dogs of Egypt, who, through fear of the crocodiles which infest the banks of the Nile, lap the water with all expedition, "like a dog from the Nile. "(Erasmus; Haydock; Macrob. ii. 2.)
Hence we might infer, that these 300 men were the most cowardly in the army, as Josephus, ( v. 8,) Theodoret, (q. 15,) have done; (Calmet) and thus the glory of the victory would belong more incontrovertibly to God. (Haydock)
But as these 300, on this supposition, ought to have been disbanded, as well as the rest, we may rather conclude that they showed greater courage and temperance by their posture, and were therefore retained (Calmet) to accompany their heroic leader in his perilous expedition. We must, nevertheless remark, that only those who preferred to acknowledge their fear, were disbanded according to the law; and as, among those who were not quite so cowardly, (Haydock) there would be some less courageous than others, (Amama) these might be selected by God, that no flesh should glory in his sight, 1 Corinthians i. 29. (Haydock)