Judges 6:4
And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.
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(4) They encamped against them.—It is not implied that there were any battles. The Israelites were too wretched and helpless to offer any resistance. These Arabs would swarm over the Jordan, at the fords of Bethshean, about harvest-time, and would sweep away the produce of the rich plain of Jezreel and the whole Shephelah, even as far south as Gaza. (Comp. the Scythian invasion, alluded to in Zephaniah 2:5-6.)

Destroyed the increase of the earth.—“Ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it” (Leviticus 26:16). (Comp. Deuteronomy 28:30; Deuteronomy 28:51; Micah 6:15.)

No sustenance for Israel.—No support of life, or, as some render the word, “nothing alive.”

Sheep.—The margin has, “or goat.” The word means “smaller cattle.”

6:1-6 Israel's sin was renewed, and Israel's troubles were repeated. Let all that sin expect to suffer. The Israelites hid themselves in dens and caves; such was the effect of a guilty conscience. Sin dispirits men. The invaders left no food for Israel, except what was taken into the caves. They prepared that for Baal with which God should have been served, now God justly sends an enemy to take it away in the season thereof.Gaza indicates the extreme point south to which they spread their devastations, crossing the Jordan near Bethshan (Scythopolls), and entering by the valley of Jezreel, and sweeping along the whole of the maritime plain or Shephelah. 2. made … dens … in the mountains and caves—not, of course, excavating them, for they were already, but making them fit for habitation. Till thou come unto Gaza, i.e. from the east, on which side they entered, to the west, where Gaza was near the sea; so they destroyed the whole land.

And they encamped against them,.... Formed a camp, from whence they sent out parties to plunder the people; or"they were fixing their tents among them,''as the Vulgate Latin version; and so the Targum,"they dwelt by them,''or fixed their habitations by them; for they seem not to have come as a regular army, but as a sort of banditti to pillage, and plunder, and destroy the fruits of the earth; and the Midianites and Arabians dwelt in tents chiefly:

and destroyed the increase of the earth; the corn and grass before they were well ripe, and fit to cut down; this they did, and gave it to their cattle, and the rest they carried off:

till thou come unto Gaza; a principality of the Philistines, which lay in the western part of Canaan, on the shore of the Mediterranean sea; so that as these people came out of the east, and entered the eastern part, they went through the whole land from east to west, cutting down all the fruits of the earth for forage for their cattle:

and left no sustenance for Israel; nothing to support life with, cutting down their corn and their grass, their vines and olives, so that they had nothing to live upon:

neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass; not anything for those creatures to live upon, nor did not leave any of them, but carried them all away.

And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto {b} Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

(b) Even almost the whole country.

4. Gaza] in the far south-west, near the coast; a long way from the Manassite district.

Verse 4. - Left no sustenance, etc., i.e. neither grass, nor corn, nor fruit. It is added, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. These all either died for want of food or were seized by the Midianites. The next verse explains that the enormous multitudes of their cattle and camels consumed the whole produce of the ground. Judges 6:4When the Israelites had sown, the Midianites and their allies came upon them, encamped against them, and destroyed the produce of the land (the fruits of the field and soil) as far as Gaza, in the extreme south-west of the land ("till thou come," as in Genesis 10:19, etc.). As the enemy invaded the land with their camels and flocks, and on repeated occasions encamped in the valley of Jezreel (Judges 6:33), they must have entered the land on the west of the Jordan by the main road which connects the countries on the east with Palestine on the west, crossing the Jordan near Beisan, and passing through the plain of Jezreel; and from this point they spread over Palestine to the sea-coast of Gaza. "They left no sustenance (in the shape of produce of the field and soil) in Israel, and neither sheep, nor oxen, nor asses. For they came on with their flocks, and their tents came like grasshoppers in multitude." The Chethibh יבאוּ is not to be altered into וּבאוּ, according to the Keri and certain Codd. If we connect ואהליהם with the previous words, according to the Masoretic pointing, we have a simple asyndeton. It is more probable, however, that ואהליהם belongs to what follows: "And their tents came in such numbers as grasshoppers." כּדי, lit. like a multitude of grasshoppers, in such abundance. "Thus they came into the land to devastate it."
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