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In Judges 7:13 (NASB)

When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent collapsed.”

What does the barley bread symbolize? Also, what does the tent represent?

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A loaf of barley bread came against the tent of the Midian army tent. It seems comical, reminded me of the Marshmallow Man who is supposed to be the scary monster in the movie Ghostbuster.

I read a few commentaries on this verse. MacLaren's Expositions is the one that I enjoy the most.

A BATTLE WITHOUT A SWORD

What a title!

A round loaf of barley {the commonest kind of bread} was dreamed of as rolling down from a height and upsetting ‘the tent.’ The use of the definite article seems to point to some particular tent, perhaps simply the one in which the dreamer lay, or perhaps the general’s; but the noun may be used as a collective, and what is meant may be that the loaf went through the camp, overturning all the tents in its way.

So, the loaf of barley bread symbolizes Gidean's meager force and the tent represents the entire army camp of the Midians.

A rock thundering down the hillside might have mass and momentum enough to level a line of tents, but one poor loaf to do it! Some mightier than human hand must have set it going on its career. So the soldier interprets that God had delivered the army into Gideon’s hand.

The Midian soldiers experienced a nameless fear symbolized by a loaf of barley bread. The dread of the Lord was upon them. There was no way out. The entire army will collapse.

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  • Ahhh Nice image, the "Marshmallow Man"... I can see why! 😆 – Tiago Martins Peres 李大仁 Mar 16 at 18:37
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    One of my favorite movies. BTW, Dan Aykroyd was raised in the Catholic Church. Before he was famous, he wanted to become a priest and worked as a comedian in various Canadian nightclubs including Club 505, in Toronto for several years. The place is not far from where I live now. – Tony Chan Mar 16 at 18:43
  • Oh know the drill... Both my twin brother and I grew up in a home of (non-practicing) Catholics, went through an atheistic phase during college, and the gospel came up already when we were in the job market. Consequently, we understand what it means to be a Catholic (Mary's role as advocate, helper, benefactor, and mediator; Justification not only by faith but by works; No possibility of certainty of salvation; Infallibility of the pope) and a skeptic (Opposition between science and faith; Thinking we are good people; Moral relativism). As a result, we speak in a very unique way. – Tiago Martins Peres 李大仁 Mar 16 at 18:49
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Representation of “loaf of barley bread” and “tent”

What does the barley bread symbolize? Also, what does the tent represent?

The barley bread represented Gideon's army of mere three hundred men, the tent or camp represented the Midianite army of about 135,000 men. Read Judges 7:9-15

Judges 7:9-15 (NET Bible)

Gideon Reassured of Victory

9 That night the Lord said to Gideon,[a] “Get up! Attack[b] the camp, for I am handing it over to you.[c] 10 But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with Purah your servant 11 and listen to what they are saying. Then you will be brave[d] and attack the camp.” So he went down with Purah his servant to where the sentries were guarding the camp.[e] 12 Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people from the east covered the valley like a swarm of locusts.[f] Their camels could not be counted; they were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore. 13 When Gideon arrived, he heard a man telling another man about a dream he had.[g] The man[h] said, “Look! I had a dream. I saw[i] a stale cake of barley bread rolling into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent so hard it knocked it over and turned it upside down. The tent just collapsed.”[j] 14 The other man said,[k] “Without a doubt this symbolizes[l] the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God is handing Midian and all the army over to him.”

Gideon Routs the Enemy

15 When Gideon heard the report of the dream and its interpretation, he praised God.[m] Then he went back to the Israelite camp and said, “Get up, for the Lord is handing the Midianite army over to you!”

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