What comes to mind when you hear the number 300? If you are a student of Texas history, you will immediately think of the Old 300 settlers who received land grants in Mexican Texas under the leadership of Stephen F. Austin.
Although there were only 297 actual grantees, the term Old 300 has remained part of Texas tradition as those who helped to establish the vast territory along the southern stretches of the Brazos River.
If you are a student of Greek history, hearing the term 300 may cause you to think of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. King Leonidas of Sparta (Greece) was fighting the invading armies of Persian King Xerxes. Because he was far outnumbered, King Leonidas dismissed the majority of his army and kept only 300 of the most courageous men with him. Their mission was to stand against the overwhelming Persian army so that the retreating army could do so in safety.
It is interesting to note that the timeline of the Battle of Thermopylae fits exactly with Biblical events. You will find King Xerxes in the Old Testament books of Esther and Ezra. The story of Queen Esther and her successful attempt to save her people is detailed in the book of Esther. Here, you will also find Xerxes or “Ahasuerus” is the king. In Ezra, Xerxes (Cyrus) is the king when the Children of Israel are in exile in Babylon.
300 is an important number in the Bible. King Solomon was so wealthy that he made 300 full body shields out of gold for an estimated value of over $75,000 each in today’s currency (1 Kings 10). When God told Noah to build the Ark, He specified that the Ark be 300 cubits long (Genesis 6). In Judges 15, Samson captured 300 foxes and tied a torch to their tails and set them on fire!
In the New Testament book of John 12, Jesus was at dinner in the home of Lazarus. While Martha served, Mary took expensive perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped them with her hair. The value of that perfume was 300 denarii, or a years’ wages.
And then there was this awesome story in Judges 8. Gideon was instructed by God to defeat the Persian (Midian) army. But the army he amassed was too large to please God. So, after a series of cuts, Gideon was left with an army of 300. In a story similar to the Battle of Thermopylae but with better results, Gideon’s army of 300 defeated a Persian army of over 135,000 soldiers!
If you feel that the enemy is about to overwhelm you, consider 2 Kings 6:16, “’Don’t be afraid!’ Elisha told him. ‘For there are more on our side than on theirs!’” One with God is a majority!