Judges 8:11
And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure.
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(11) By the way of them that dwelt in tents.—He seems to have taken a wide circuit, through some nomad district, leaving the main road, which runs through Nobah and Jogbehah, so as once more to make up for his inferior numbers (for there were still 15,000 left of these children of the East) by surprise and stratagem.

Nobah.—In Gilead, belonging to the half-tribe of Manasseh (Numbers 32:42). It was originally called Kenath, but the name was altered in honour of a Manassite hero, who is otherwise unrecorded. Jewish tradition says that he was born in Egypt, and died during the passage of the Jordan (Seder Olam Rabba). The original name displaced its rival, for the site is now called Kenâwat.

Jogbehah.—In Gad (Numbers 32:34). It is not mentioned elsewhere, and has not been identified.

The host was secure.—They would have thought it most unlikely that the Israelites, with their mere handful of men, would pursue so large an army for so long a distance. They fancied themselves beyond the reach of pursuit because they miscalculated the energy and powers of Gideon, who, not improbably, once more attacked them by night.

Jdg 8:11. By the way of them that dwelt in tents — That is, the Arabians, termed Scenitæ, from their dwelling in tents. He fetched a compass by their country, and so poured in upon the rear of Zebah and Zalmunna, where they suspected no danger. He smote the host; for the host was secure — Being now got safe over Jordan, and a great way from the place of battle. And as they had fled as fast as they could the day before, and part of the preceding night, and were therefore weary, and now thought themselves out of all danger, it is probable they were gone to take their rest, and that Gideon fell upon them when they were fast asleep, as he had done at first on their main army.

8:4-12 Gideon's men were faint, yet pursuing; fatigued with what they had done, yet eager to do more against their enemies. It is many a time the true Christian's case, fainting, and yet pursuing. The world knows but little of the persevering and successful struggle the real believer maintains with his sinful heart. But he betakes himself to that Divine strength, in the faith of which he began his conflict, and by the supply of which alone he can finish it in triumph.Zebah and Zalmunna seem to have fled nearly due east to Karkor, which was probably an enclosure of some kind (perhaps a walled sheepfold, compare Numbers 31:32 note). Its site is unknown; but it was near Nobah, in the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead Numbers 32:40, and Jogbehah was in the tribe of Gad Numbers 32:34-35. Gideon, perhaps taking a circuit so as to come upon them from the east, fell suddenly upon them, apparently at night, surprised them, and smote them. 11. Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east—He tracked the fugitives across the mountain range of Gilead to the northeast of the Jabbok, and there came upon them unexpectedly while they were resting secure among their own nomadic tribes. Jogbehah is supposed to be Ramoth-gilead; and, therefore, the Midianites must have found refuge at or near Abela, "Abel-cheramim," "the plain of the vineyards." Of them that dwelt in tents, i.e. of the Arabians; so fetching a compass, and falling upon them where they least expected it.

Nobah and Jogbehah; of which cities see Numbers 32:35,42.

The host was secure; being now got safe over Jordan, and a great way from the place of battle; and, probably, supposing Gideon’s men, to be so tired with their hard service, and the great slaughter which they had made, that they would have neither strength nor will to pursue them so far.

And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwell in tents,.... That is of the Arabians and Kedarenes, who dwelt in tents for the sake of feeding their flocks, as the Targum and Jarchi; he did not pursue them in the direct road, but went a roundabout way, where these people dwelt, that he might surprise the host of the kings of Midian at an unawares: and he came upon them:

on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah; the first was in the tribe of Manasseh, and the latter in the tribe of Gad, and both it seems were on the confines of those tribes; see Numbers 32:35 the Targum calls the latter Ramatha; both words have the signification of height in them, this city very probably being built on an eminence. According to Bunting (x) Penuel was two miles from Succoth, Nobah two miles from Penuel, and Jogbehah four miles from Nobah and Karkor four miles from Jogbehah, whither he pursued the kings, and took them, after he had discomfited the army:

and smote the host, for the host was secure: having got over Jordan, and at night very probably, they thought themselves safe from Gideon's army, who they could have no thought that they would come up with them so soon, on foot, weary, and fatigued.

(x) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 109.

And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in {h} tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure.

(h) He went by the wilderness where the Arabians dwelt in tents.

11. Describes Gideon’s route going E. from Penuel. by the way of them that dwelt in tents is a doubtful rendering of a doubtful text. With slight corrections we may transl. towards the way of the tent-dwellers, i.e. the Bedouin route, such, for instance, as the present Haj road from Damascus to Mecca. The Targ. paraphrases, ‘by the way to the camp of the Arabs who encamp in tents in the desert east of Nobah.’ Strictly by the way of ought to be by the way to a place; hence Moore supposes that the tent-dwellers is a corruption of some place-name.

Nobah] has been identified, on the strength of Numbers 32:42 (Nobah = Kenath), with Ḳanawât on the west of the Ḥaurân mountains; but this is much too far north. Jogbehah (belonging to Gad, Numbers 32:35) has survived in the modern ‘Ajbçhât, a ruined site 6 m. N.N.W. of ‘Ammân.

secure] Not expecting an attack; cf. Jdg 18:7; Genesis 34:25; Micah 2:8.

Verse 11. - Gideon went up. See ver. 8, note. Implying that his direction was eastward away from the Jordan valley. Nobah was in the half-tribe of Manasseh. Nobah, who gave his name to the city, which was before called Kenath, seems to have been of the family of Machir (Numbers 32:42). Jogbehah was in the tribe of Gad (Numbers 32:35). These two cities appear to have been on the eastern frontier of their respective tribes, but the exact site of them is utterly unknown. It is a conjecture that possibly Kunawat may be Nobah, retaining its ancient name of Kenath. East of these cities was the desert, inhabited by nomads dwelling in tents, where Karkor was, and where Zebah and Zalmunna had encamped out of reach, as they thought, of their pursuers. But Gideon, falling suddenly upon them, routed the host, and took the two kings prisoners (see Psalm 83:11). Judges 8:11The Midianitish kings were at Karkor with all the remnant of their army, about fifteen thousand men, a hundred and twenty thousand having already fallen. Gideon followed them thither by the road of the dwellers in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbeha; and falling upon them unawares, smote the whole camp, which thought itself quite secure, and took the two kings prisoners, after discomfiting all the camp. The situation of Karkor, which is only mentioned here, cannot be determined with certainty. The statement of Eusebius and Jerome (Onom. s. v. Καρκὰ, Carcar), that it was the castle of Carcaria, a day's journey from Petra, is decidedly wrong, since this castle is much too far to the south, as Gesenius (Thes. p. 1210) has shown. Karkor cannot have been very far from Nobah and Jogbeha. These two places are probably preserved in the ruins of Nowakis and Jebeiha, on the north-west of Ammn (Rabbath-ammon; see at Numbers 21:31). Now, as Burckhardt (Syr. p. 612) also mentions a ruin in the neighbourhood, called Karkagheisch, on the left of the road from Szalt to Ammn, and at the most an hour and a half to the north-west of Ammn, Knobel (on Numbers 32:42) is inclined to regard this ruin as Karkor. If this supposition could be proved to be correct, Gideon would have fallen upon the camp of the enemy from the north-east. For "the way of the dwellers in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbeha" cannot well be any other than the way which ran to the east of Nobah and Jogbeha, past the most easterly frontier city of the Gadites, to the nomads who dwelt in the desert. באללים השּׁכוּני has the article attached to the governing noun, which may easily be explained in this instance from the intervening preposition. The passive participle שׁכוּן has an intransitive force (see Ewald, 149, a.). The verb החריד in the circumstantial clause acquires the force of the pluperfect from the context. When he had startled the camp out of its security, having alarmed it by his unexpected attack, he succeeded in taking the two kings prisoners.
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