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 bringing 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 a deeper walk and expose things that still they needed to deal 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.