|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:33-40 These signs are truly miraculous, and very significant. Gideon and his men were going to fight the Midianites; could God distinguish between a small fleece of Israel, and the vast floor of Midian? Gideon is made to know that God could do so. Is Gideon desirous that the dew of Divine grace might come down upon himself in particular? He sees the fleece wet with dew to assure him of it. Does he desire that God will be as the dew to all Israel? Behold, all the ground is wet. What cause we sinners of the Gentiles have, to bless the Lord that the dew of heavenly blessings, once confined to Israel, is now sent to all the inhabitants of the earth! Yet still the means of grace are in different measures, according to the purposes of God. In the same congregation, one man's soul is like Gideon's moistened fleece, another like the dry ground.
Verse 33. - The Midianites, etc. See ver. 3, note. The valley of Jezreel. Rather, the plain, "the great plain of Esdraelon," as the Book of Judith styles it (Judith 1:8; see Judges 4:13, note). The great plain of Jezreel, or Esdraelon (which is the Greek form of the name), through which the Kishon flows, is eight hours in length from east to west, and five hours (twelve miles) in breadth from north to south. It is described as "a very extensive and fertile plain shut in between the mountain ranges of Samaria and Mount Carmel on the south, and of Galilee on the north," and extending from the Mediterranean at the Gulf of Caipha, or Haipha, to the valley of the Jordan. The access to it from the fords of Jordan in the neighbourhood of Bethshan (or Beishan, called by the Greeks Scythopolis) made it the natural place for invasion by the wild tribes east of Jordan, as it is to this day. Particular parts of this great plain are called "the valley, of Megiddo" and "the plain of Samaria." For a full account of the plain of Esdraelon see Stanley, 'Sinai and Palestine,' ch. 9. Went over, i.e. crossed the Jordan. It appears from vers. 3-5 that these invasions were repeated at certain seasons. When they had plundered all they could get, and eaten up all the produce of the land, they would go back for a while to their own country east of Jordan, and then return again. So they did now, but they met with a different reception this time.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then all the Midianites, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east,.... The Arabians, Judges 6:3 were gathered together; not as being alarmed with this fact of Gideon in destroying the altar of Baal, and so came to avenge it; but it was their usual time of gathering together to come into Canaan, being harvest time, as appears by Gideon being employed in threshing, to fetch away the increase of the earth, as they had done for some years past:
and went over; the river Jordan, which lay between the Midianites and the Israelites:
and pitched in the valley of Jezreel; a very large, delightful, and fruitful plain; of which See Gill on Hosea 1:5; a very proper place for such a large number to pitch on, and from whence they might receive much; and a suitable place to bring the increase of the land to, from the several parts of it, which was the business they came upon; and as this lay on the borders of Issachar and Manasseh, it was not far from Gideon, and this gave him an opportunity of exerting himself, and executing his commission.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jud 6:33-39. The Signs.
33. all the Midianites … pitched in Jezreel—The confederated troops of Midian, Amalek, and their neighbors, crossing the Jordan to make a fresh inroad on Canaan, encamped in the plains of Esdraelon (anciently Jezreel). The southern part of the Ghor lies in a very low level, so that there is a steep and difficult descent into Canaan by the southern wadies. Keeping this in view, we see the reason why the Midianite army, from the east of Jordan, entered Canaan by the northern wadies of the Ghor, opposite Jezreel.
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