Judges 7:25 MEANING

Judges 7:25
(25) Oreb and Zeeb.--The names mean "raven" and "wolf": but these are common names for warriors among rude tribes, and there is no reason to look on them as names given in scorn by the Israelites. Such names are common among nomads. The capture of these two powerful sheykhs was the result of the second part of the battle, and was not accomplished without a terrible slaughter. See Psalm 73:9-12, where the word rendered "houses" of God should be "pastures" of God. It is remarkable that in this passage there seems to be almost an identification of the victories of Barak and Gideon, as though they were the result of one great combined movement. In the phrase "became as the dung of the earth" we see that tradition preserved a memory of the fertilisation of the ground by the dead bodies (see Note on Judges 4:16; Judges 5:21). The completeness of the victory is also ailuded to in Isaiah 60:4 : "Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden . . . as in the day of Midian"; and Isaiah 10:26. The brief narrative of Judges perhaps hardly enables us to realise the three acts of this great tragedy of Midianite slaughter--at Gilboa, the Fords, and Karkor.

Upon the rock Oreb.--Rather, at the raven's rock. Only again mentioned in Isaiah 10:26 : "according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb." Reland identifies it with Orbo, near Bethshean.

To Gideon on the other side Jordan.--i.e., beyond the Jordan ("trans fluenta Jordani," Vulg.). This notice is given by anticipation, for Gideon's crossing the Jordan is not mentioned till Judges 8:4. The words literally mean "from beyond the Jordan," as the LXX. render them (apo peran), but this is idiomatic for "from one place to another," as in Joshua 13:22, &c-

Verse 25. - Oreb, a raven, and Zeeb, a wolf. The rock known afterwards as the rock of Oreb (Isaiah 10:26), and the wine-press (see Judges 6:11) known as the wine-press of Zeeb, were so called from being the places where these two princes were taken and slain by the Eph-raimites. In like manner the well of Harod is called by the name it afterwards received (ver. 1), and the palm tree of Deborah in like manner (Judges 2:5), and Lehi (Judges 15:9). These are valuable indications (to which many more might be added) of a living tradition older than the written history. The capture of Oreb and Zeeb is celebrated in Psalm 83:11 and Isaiah 10:26. On the other side Jordan, i.e. the east side of the river, which Gideon had now crossed, as is related in Judges 8:4. The narrative runs on here to complete the history of the doings of the men of Ephraim, and goes back at Judges 8:4 to take up the thread of the history of Gideon (see Judges 2:1-6, note).

7:23-25 Two chief commanders of the host of Midian were taken and slain by the men of Ephraim. It were to be wished that we all did as these did, and that where help is needed, that it were willingly and readily performed by another. And that if there were any excellent and profitable matter begun, we were willing to have fellow-labourers to the finishing and perfecting the same, and not, as often, hinder one another.And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb,.... The one signifies a "raven", and the other a "wolf"; which were either nicknames given them because of their voraciousness and cruelty, or which they took themselves, or their ancestors before them, to make themselves terrible to others; so the Romans had the families of the Corvini, &c.

and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb; perhaps they found him in a cave of the rock, and dragging him out slew him, from whence the rock afterwards had its name. So we read of the rock Corax in Homer (p), which was in Ithaca, and another high mountain of the same name in Aetolia, mentioned by Livy (q) and which signifies the same as Oreb. This is a different rock or mountain from Horeb, the same with Sinai, from whence the law was given; which always ought to be written with an "H" or "Ch", to distinguish it from this; though that is written Oreb by Lactantius (r), and so by Milton (s), contrary to the propriety of the language:

and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb; the Targum is, the plain of Zeeb, which, as Kimchi and Ben Gersom suppose, was in the form of a winepress, having high lips or hills around it, and which afterwards took its name from this prince being slain in it:

and pursued Midian; the rest of the Midianites, even beyond Jordan, those that got over it:

and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan; that is, when he had passed over it the next morning, as Jarchi remarks; for after this we read of Gideon's going over Jordan, Judges 8:4 unless this is said by way of anticipation; though the phrase will bear to be rendered, "on this side Jordan", for it signifies both. It seems they cut off the heads of those two princes, and presented them to Gideon, as it has been usual to bring the heads of enemies to kings and conquerors; see 1 Samuel 17:54.

(p) Odyss. 13. "prope finem". (q) Hist. l. 36. c. 30. (r) De vera Sap. l. 4. c. 17. (s) Paradise Lost, l. 1. ver. 7.

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