Judges 6:5
For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.
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(5) As grasshoppers.—See Judges 7:12. Rather, as locusts. The magnificent imagery of Joel 2:2-11 enables us to realise the force of the metaphor, and Exodus 10:4-6 the number of locusts, which are a common metaphor for countless hordes. Aristophanes (Ach. 150) speaks of an army so numerous that the Athenians will cry out, “What a mass of locusts is coming!” The Bedouin call the locusts Gurrud Allah, “Host of God” (Wetzstein, Hauran, p. 138).

Their camels.—These were very uncommon in Palestine, and were brought by the invaders from the Eastern deserts.

Without number.—This is Oriental hyperbole. “When Burckhardt asked a Bedouin, who belonged to a tribe of 300 tents, how many brothers he had, he flung a handful of sand into the air, and replied, ‘Equally numberless’” (Cassel).

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.Grasshoppers - Rather locusts (compare Exodus 10:4-6, Exodus 10:14-15; Joel 1; 2; Psalm 78:46) 2. made … dens … in the mountains and caves—not, of course, excavating them, for they were already, but making them fit for habitation. Without number, i.e. so many that it was not easy to number them. It is an hyperbole.

For they came up with their cattle, and their tents,.... Brought their flocks and their herds with them, to eat up the increase of the earth, and their tents, which they pitched and removed from place to place, for the convenience of feeding their cattle, and while they cut down the fruit of the earth everywhere, which serves to confirm the sense of the Targum and Vulgate Latin version of Judges 6:5.

and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; or "as locusts" (c), they were like them for their number, and for devouring all they came to:

and their camels were without number; which they brought with them, to load and carry off their plunder they could not eat. Midian was a place famous for camels and dromedaries, Isaiah 60:6 and so Arabia, the people of which joined the Midianites in this expedition; of whom Leo Africanus says (d), that they reckon of their riches and possessions by their camels; wherefore if anyone speaks of the riches of such a prince or nobleman, he says that he is possessed of so many camels, and not of so many thousands of pieces of gold, see Job 1:3.

and they entered into the city to destroy it; this was their sole view. In suchlike manner as this did Alyattes king of the Lydians make war with the Milesinns, as Herodotus (e) relates; which passage Grotius has quoted at large.

(c) "tanquam locustae", Pagninus, V. L. Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (d) Descriptio Africae, l. 9. p. 745. (e) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 17.

For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.
5. as locusts] Repeated in Jdg 7:12; for the comparison see Jeremiah 46:23. The text of Jdg 6:3-5 shews signs of a mixed origin. Thus the grammar is irregular, frequentative tenses in Jdg 6:3 are followed by narrative aorists in Jdg 6:4, and these again by frequentatives in Jdg 6:5. Notice the repetition of came up in Jdg 6:3 and came into in Jdg 6:5; the Amalekites, and the children of the east is due to the same hand as Jdg 6:33 and Jdg 7:12; till thou come to Gaza has the look of an editorial exaggeration. Perhaps in their simplest form the verses may have run: “(3) And it used to happen that when Israel had sown, Midian used to come up against him, (4) and they used to leave no sustenance … nor ass, (5) for they and their cattle used to come up, and their tents, and come into the land to destroy it.” This may have formed the introduction to the earlier of the two narratives which are combined in 6–8; and the remaining sentences may have been derived from the introduction to the later of the two narratives (Moore, Nowack, Lagrange), or they may be merely glosses (Budde). The whole passage has been pieced together by the Dtc. editor.

Verse 5. - As grasshoppers. See the striking description of the destruction caused by locusts in Joel 3. I have heard travellers in India describe the sudden darkening of the sky by a flight of locusts. Judges 6:5When 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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