|Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia|
mid'-i-an, mid'-i-an-its (midhyan, midhyanim; Madiam, Madienaioi):
1. The See d of Abraham to the Time of the Judges:
Midian was a son of Abraham by his concubine Keturah. To him were born 5 sons, Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah (Genesis 25:2, 4 1 Chronicles 1:32 f). Bearing gifts from Abraham, he and his brothers, each with his own household, moved off from Isaac into "the east country" (Genesis 25:6). The first recorded incident in the history of the tribe is a defeat suffered "in the field of Moab" at the hands of Hadad, king of Edom. Of this nothing beyond the fact is known (Genesis 36:35 1 Chronicles 1:46). The Midianites next appear as merchantmen traveling from Gilead to Egypt, with "spicery and balm and myrrh," with no prejudice against a turn of slave-dealing (Genesis 37:25). Moses, on fleeing from Egypt, found refuge in the land of Midian, and became son-in-law of Jethro, the priest of Midian (Exodus 2:15, 21). In Midian Moses received his commission to Israel in Egypt (Exodus 4:19). A Midianite, familiar with the desert, acted as guide ("instead of eyes") to the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings (Numbers 10:29). The friendly relations between Israel and Midian, which seem to have prevailed at first, had been ruptured, and we find the elders of Midian acting with those of Moab in calling Balaam to curse Israel (Numbers 22:4-7). Because of the grievous sin into which they had seduced Israel on the shrewd advice of Balaam, a war of vengeance was made against the Midianites in which five of their chiefs perished; the males were ruthlessly slain, and Balaam also was put to death (Numbers 25:15, 17; Numbers 31:2). We next hear of Midian as oppressing Israel for 7 years. Along with the Amalekites and the children of the East they swarmed across the Jordan, and their multitudinous beasts swept up the produce of the earth. Overwhelming disaster befell this horde at the onset of Gideon's chosen men. In the battle and pursuit "there fell a hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword"; their kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, and their princes, Oreb and Zeeb, sharing the common fate (Judges 6; Judges 7; Judges 7 8). Echoes of this glorious victory-"the day of Midian"-are heard in later literature (Psalm 83:9 Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 10:26 Habakkuk 3:7).
2. The Kenite Branch:
The Kenites appear to have been a branch of the Midianites. Jethro could hardly have attained the dignity of the priesthood in Midian had he been of alien blood (Judges 1:16). See KENITES. Again, the tribesmen are named indifferently Ishmaelites and Midianites (Genesis 37:25, 28, 36 Judges 8:22, 24). They must therefore have stood in close relations with the descendants of Hagar's son.
3. Modern Arabs:
The representations of Midian in Scripture are consistent with what we know of the immemorial ways of Arabian tribes, now engaged in pastoral pursuits, again as carriers of merchandise, and yet again as freebooters. Such tribes often roam through wide circles. They appear not to have practiced circumcision (Exodus 4:25), which is now practically universal among the Arabs. The men wore golden ornaments, as do the modern nomads (Judges 8:24).
4. Historical References:
The name of "Midian" is not found in Egyptian or Assyrian documents. Delitzsch (Wo lag das Paradies? 304) suggests that Ephah (Genesis 25:4) may be identical with Chayapa of the cuneiform inscriptions. If this is correct the references point to the existence of this Midianite tribe in the North of el-Chijaz in the times of Tiglath-pileser and Sargon (745-705 B.C.). Isaiah speaks of Midian and Ephah apparently as separate tribes, whose dromedaries bear gold and frankincense to Zion (60:6); but he gives no hint of the districts they occupied. The tribe of Ghifar, found in the neighborhood of Medina in Mohammed's day, Knobel would identify with Epher, another of Midian's sons.
No boundaries can now be assigned to "the land of Midian." It included territory on the West as well as on the East of the Gulf of `Aqaba (Exodus 4:19). It lay between Edom and Paran (1 Kings 11:18). In the time of the Judges their district seems to have extended northward to the East of Gilead (8:10).
A trace of the ancient name is found in that of Madyah, a place mentioned by the Arabic geographers, with a plentiful supply of water, now called Maghair Sho`aib. It lies East of the Gulf of `Aqaba, some miles from the coast, almost opposite the point of the Sinaitic peninsula. The name Sho`aib, given by Mohammed to Jethro, may here be due to ancient Midianite tradition.
Midianites (30 Occurrences)
Genesis 36:35 And at the death of Husham, Hadad, son of Bedad, who overcame the Midianites in the field of Moab, became king; his chief town was named Avith. (BBE)
Genesis 37:28 Midianites who were merchants passed by, and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. They brought Joseph into Egypt. (WEB KJV JPS ASV WBS)
Genesis 37:36 The Midianites sold him into Egypt to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS NIV)
Numbers 25:17 "Harass the Midianites, and strike them; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Numbers 31:2 "Avenge the children of Israel for the Midianites. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Numbers 31:3 And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian. (KJV WBS NIV)
Numbers 31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. (KJV WBS)
Numbers 31:10 All their cities in the places in which they lived, and all their encampments, they burnt with fire. (See NIV)
Judges 6:1 And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. (See NIV)
Judges 6:2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. (KJV BBE WBS)
Judges 6:3 So it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east; they came up against them; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS NAS NIV)
Judges 6:6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD. (KJV WBS)
Judges 6:7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, (KJV WBS)
Judges 6:11 The angel of Yahweh came, and sat under the oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained to Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Judges 6:13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. (KJV WBS)
Judges 6:14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? (KJV WBS)
Judges 6:16 Yahweh said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS YLT NIV)
Judges 6:33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east assembled themselves together; and they passed over, and encamped in the valley of Jezreel. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS NAS NIV)
Judges 7:1 Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. (KJV WBS)
Judges 7:2 Yahweh said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying,'My own hand has saved me.' (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS)
Judges 7:7 Yahweh said to Gideon, "By the three hundred men who lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, each to his own place." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS NAS NIV)
Judges 7:12 The Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand which is on the seashore for multitude. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS NAS NIV)
Judges 7:14 And his fellow answered and said: 'This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: into his hand God hath delivered Midian, and all the host.' (See NIV)
Judges 7:21 They stood every man in his place around the camp; and all the army ran; and they shouted, and put them to flight. (See NIV)
Judges 7:23 And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites. (KJV WBS NIV)
Judges 7:24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. (KJV WBS NIV)
Judges 7:25 And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan. (KJV WBS NIV)
Judges 8:1 And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply. (KJV WBS)
Judges 8:28 So Midian was broken before the children of Israel and the Midianites never got back their strength. And the land had peace for forty years, in the days of Gideon. (BBE)
Psalms 83:9 Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: (KJV BBE WBS)