Midian – Enemy and Instrument

Midian – Enemy and Instrument

Midian was a son of Abraham by his third wife Keturah (Genesis 25).  His descendants played an important role in the Exodus story and into the Judges’ time period.   Some experts think that Midian was several groups of people and or a geographic area and not just a single nation.  They start their part in the story of Israel when Joseph’s brother sold him into Egypt (Genesis 37).  This is also where Moses fled when he ran away from Pharaoh; his wife, father-in-law, and children were Midianites.

In Numbers 22 the story of Moab and Midian working together to stop Israel by bring in Balaam is told.  It seems that Balak, king of Moab, takes the lead and even in Numbers 25 it first mentions Moabite women as being the lure to get Israel to sin.  A Midianite woman is killed in verse 8 and it stops a plague; in verse 16 the Lord says to treat Midian as enemies and kill them because of the deception with the Baal of Peor.  In Numbers 31 Moses is to lead a campaign against them and then he will die.  It must have been quite an attack because many important people including kings and Balaam were killed.

A thought that should disturb the people of God is that sex was used as a weapon in the name of religion to defeat God’s people.  The devil crossed and confused the lines then and is still doing it today.

The other big reference to Midianites is with Gideon in Judges 6, 7, and 8.  This story also ends with the Midianites being beaten severely.    There are references in Psalm 83, Isaiah 9, and 10 that talk about how badly Midian was beaten.  They don’t say if it was Moses or Gideon but the context makes it sounds like the beatings were bad and that a similar beating was wished on the current enemy.

Living in the “now” of troubles and testing compared to analyzing them later will produce two very different views.  This is a “later” point of view; God used the Midianites to push Israel to deeper walk and expose things that still needed to dealt with.  One example is the army killing the men and keeping the women who were the instrument that got them into trouble.  Even later the Israelites were still dealing with the troubles of Peor , possibly, the girl slaves and the children born from them.  Midianite DNA and mindset were spread into every tribe of Israel, including Levi.  Be careful what you choose to live with no matter how you got it.

TEST,TEST,TEST

Since school has just finished and I end the year giving all kinds of “test” when I read Psalm 66 I had to reopen the idea of being tested. This verse follows a section that refers to when Israel was in Egypt and came out of there.

Psalm 66

10 For You, God, tested us; You refined us like silver
11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.

12 You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water,
but You brought us to a place of abundance.

Testing here is bahan (# 1043 Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, 2 Edition – all my definitions for this study will be taken from here), which means to try, probe or examine to learn the genuineness of an object like testing for the purity of the metal. And we think we get tested – prison, burdens, rode over (a sign of derision), fire and water. Some of you have endured these things but most of us are clueless about this level of testing. But look where it will bring you “a place of abundance.”

This passage led me to Deuteronomy and several passages where Moses is describing/reminding the children and grandchildren of the people who came out of Egypt what had happened for them.

Deuteronomy

4:34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

Testings here is nasa (# 5814) (don’t you love Hebrew into English) and refers to proving character or faithfulness; if it is done toward God it implies lack of confidence in Him (a sin).

Signs ot #253 sign, mark or symbol that communicates a supernatural. NIV translators changed it from signs to miraculous signs over the years.

Wondersmopet #4603 wonder, sign, miracle, portent, symbol

Warmilhama #4878 fighting, battle, war and many other words like soldiers, warrior, etc.

Mighty handmighty- hazaq #2617 powerful, strong, hard, physical and internal strength, (negative) hardness of heart; hand –yad #3338 hand, arm, finger, figuratively control, power, strength, direction, care. It is added to other words for many meanings. If you exchange words it takes on many great meanings. It is the same phrase for the rest of the verses.

Outstretched armoutstretched –nata #5742 to spread out, be extended; arm – zeroa #2432 arm, forearm, shoulder, power, strength, force

Great and awesome deedsawesome deeds- mora #4616 fear, terror, respect, reverence, awesome deeds; great- gadol #1524 large, much, more, this can refer to physical size, quantity, degree, and social status

I think the testings were for Israel (the first three plagues) then the others were for Egypt and showed how serious God was about letting them go. The Lord was educating His people and showing them His concern and intent toward them. 

7:17 You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out? ” 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. 

Remember this is to the children of the original group who actually saw these things. God is willing to repeat these test and signs to get them into the land. Look at the teaching – recall a lesson learned and project to a new situation.

11:1 Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws, and his commands always. Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt, both to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his whole country… It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the wilderness until you arrived at this place, and what he did to Dathan and Abiram… But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done.

The reason for the testing is verse 1 so that they can take strength in what they saw and the previous lessons learned. But now it was their turn to teach this to their children.

27:7 Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey… 11 Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.

With the test came the promise in Psalm 66 and then a new lesson in vs.11. It is also a reteach time as all of these verses have been.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Amalekites: An enemy from Moses to Mordecai to_______! Part 2

Balaam mentions the Amalekites when he was supposed to be cursing the Israelites and says that they were “first among the nations.” (See Numbers 24:7,20)  See Lord my/your Lord. 

They are mentioned several times in the Book of Judges but the next big dealing is when King Saul is trying to wipe them out in order to fulfill the command of God against them. See Amalekites: Part 1   This really is the start of his downfall when he was caught up in the greed of the Amalek animals, we can only speculate why he kept Agag the king alive; possibly to ransom him for more money.  So it is fitting that after the Philistines wounded him that an Amalekite is the one to kill him (2 Samuel 1:1 – 16).

David did better when it came to the Amalekites, he killed the young Amalekite who killed Saul and also wiped out the raiding party that burned his town of Ziglag. He had other battles with them and caused a great deal of destruction on them and the Edomites in general.  All of this may have caused them to flee the area and find a home in Persia and Babylon. Which is where Esther and Mordecai find a man with a hatred of the Jews named Agag (See Numbers 24:7).

Amalekites: An enemy from Moses to Mordecai to_______! Part 1

We are not finished with Esau and his descendants and the trouble they are going to be to Jacob’s side of the family. Esau had Eliphaz, by Adah his first wife, who had a concubine named Timna who had Amalek (Gen. 36:12). She is attributed to Adah (a true wife in the genealogy) but is listed last. For Timna see 1 Chronicles 1:36-39.

The Amalekites are cursed and the Israelites are to be fighting them from generation to generation because they attacked the Israel column (Exodus 17:8-15) as they headed to the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 25:17 – 19 is a serious statement to the Israelites about that incident; it is that commission that King Saul is trying to accomplish in I Samuel 14 and 15.

Josephus 2.1.2 assigns Amalek to the country of Idumea; this is where King Herod came from. Davis Dictionary of the Bible says the Idumeans had circumcision forced on them after being conquered by John Hyrcanus a Maccabaean ruler. This is why the Jews hated Herod so much, he was not a Jew and very possibly an Edomite and he could have even been an Amalekite.

A side thought on this – there was always some kind of contention within Abraham’s family; Ishmael and Esau did not seem like contented brothers and uncles but their genealogies made it into the Bible so that tells me that some communication did exist between parts of the family.  Since Moses is credited with writing Genesis and parts of Esau’s history was definitely happening while they were in Egypt there was communication.  Moses may have gotten some of the information while he was in Midian.

Other references to Esau/Edom/Amalek being destroyed or facing the judgment of God.

Jeremiah 2:

Ezekiel 35

Obadiah

Malachi 1:2-5

https://ificouldteachthebible.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/ishmael-and-es…and-foe-part-2

Moabites and Ammonites: Family and Foe – Part 3

https://ificouldteachthebible.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/ishmael-and-es…and-foe-part-1

https://ificouldteachthebible.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/ishmael-and-es…and-foe-part-2/

I find it unsettling that four of Israel’s major enemies are “family.”  Now at times they were civil towards one another and we have to remember that Ruth, David’s and Jesus’ grandmother, was a Moabitess.  But Edom, Moab and Ammon are frequently mentioned together as joining forces to fight Israel and in many of the Prophetic Books they are together when the Lord is handing out judgment.

It should also be noted that God warns Moses and the Israelites about fighting with them on the way back to the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 2:5,9,19 it is stated that each of them had been given that land by the Lord and Israel was not to start trouble.

Lot is the father of Moab and Ammon (see Timeline) by his daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30 – 38). Now a question that has been asked is whether they should have ever been there to begin with!  Abraham was to leave his country and family and go to the Promised Land but there is Lot with his uncle as he leaves the rest of the family.