Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then all the Midianites.—See Judges 6:3. They came down for their usual annual raid to get the wheat which, doubtless, thousands besides Gideon had been gathering in and threshing in secret places as soon as it was barely ripe.
In the valley of Jezreel.—As the Philistines did afterwards (1Samuel 29:1; 1Samuel 29:11). Crossing the fords near Bethshean, they were probably encamped, not in the broad part of the plain of Jezreel, but in the valley between Gilboa and Little Hermon. The word Jezreel means “God’s sowing.” (See Hosea 2:22.)Jdg 6:33-34. Then all the Midianites were gathered together, &c. — As was their usual custom every year, that they might waste the country. And pitched in the valley of Jezreel — Not Jezreel in Judah, but another place of that name in the borders of Manasseh and Issachar, which was not far distant from Ophrah, where Gideon dwelt. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon — Inspiring him with extraordinary wisdom, and courage, and zeal, to vindicate God’s honour and his country’s liberty. The Hebrew is, The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon; clothed him as a robe, to put honour upon him; clothed him as a coat of mail, to put a defence upon him. Those are well clad that are thus clothed. Abi-ezer — That is, the Abi- ezrites, his kindred, and their servants, and others; who, finding no harm coming to him for destroying Baal, but rather a blessing from God, in giving him strength and courage for so great an attempt, changed their minds, and followed him as the person by whose hands God would deliver them.Judges 6:3). But the Israelites, instead of hiding in dens and caves, and tamely leaving all their substance as pIunder to the invaders, now rally around their leader.
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.Not that Jezreel in Judah, of which Joshua 15:56; but another in the borders of Manasseh and Issachar, Joshua 17:16 19:18, which is not far distant from Ophrah, where Gideon dwelt, and now was. 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.Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)The Midianite invasion; the sign of the fleece
33. Then all the Midianites … assembled themselves] Better, Now all the M.… had assembled themselves. This verse may be connected with Jdg 6:7-10; Jdg 6:25-32; it prepares the way for the account of the battle in ch. 7 For the Amalekites etc. see on Jdg 6:3.
the valley of Jezreel] Joshua 17:16, Hosea 1:5; not the Great Plain west of Jezreel, but the broad, deep valley which descends eastwards from Jezreel down to the Jordan. It was not till after OT. times that the Great Plain was called the Plain of Esdraçlon (the Greek form of Jezreel), Jdt 1:8. The Midianites advanced from the E., passed over Jordan, and entered Palestine by the valley (Wâdi Jâlud) which leads up to Jezreel (Zer‘în).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.
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