It is worth our time here to consider the slaughter of Midyan, is it not? Who is Midyan, and when did this slaughter occur?
Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 25:1-2
And again Avraham took a woman, and her name was Qeturah. 2 And she bore him את eth-Zimran, and את eth-Yoqshan, and את eth-Medan, and את eth-Midyan, and את eth-Yishbaq, and את eth-Shuach.
Midyan was a son of Avraham! Yet he was a son who had no inheritance, for this passage in Bere’shiyth 25 ends with “And Avraham gave את eth-all that he had unto Yitschaq.” V. 5. So we see that again, the disposition of the yachiyd – the beloved child – and the disinheritance of the other sons. Consider the condition that results between Qayin and Hevel, between Yitschaq and Ishma’el, between Ya’akov and Esau, between Reu’ven and Yoceph; one is the yachiyd, and the other is disinherited.
This jealousy between the disinherited heirs and the yachiyd shows its talons in the story of Yoceph. Consider the beginning of the evil disposition that overtakes him:
Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 37:23-28
And it came to pass, when Yoceph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped את eth-Yoceph out of את eth-his coat, his את eth-coat of many colours that was on him; 24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. 25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Yish-ma`e’liym came from Gil`ad with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Mitsrayim. 26 And Yahudah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay את eth-our brother, and conceal את eth-his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Yishma`e’liym, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. 28 Then there passed by Midyaniym merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up את eth-Yoceph out of the pit, and sold את eth-Yoceph to the Yishma`e’liym for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought את eth-Yoceph into Mitsrayim.
Isn’t this a fine kettle of fish? The brothers conspire to sell their brother into slavery rather than slay him. This decision would later become the modus operandi of all slave traders who would come to find more value in the sale of the slave than the killing of the victim. In this case, the brothers make the election to sell their brother to the Ishma’eliym – that would be their first cousins once removed. And it is the Midyaniym – another set of cousins once removed, who draw and lift up Yoceph out of the pit and sell him to the Ishama’eliym for twenty pieces of silver. Do the Midyaniym foretell of Judas Iscariot? Maybe.
Shemot (Exodus) 2:15-21
Now when Phar`oh heard את eth-this thing, he sought to slay את eth-Mosheh. But Mosheh fled from the face of Phar`oh, and dwelt in the land of Midyan: and he sat down by a well. 16 Now the priest of Midyan had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled את eth-the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Mosheh stood up and helped them, and watered את eth-their flock. 18 And when they came to Re’u’el their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon today? 19 And they said, A Mitsriy delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered את eth-the flock. 20 And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left את eth-the man? call him, that he may eat bread. 21 And Mosheh was content to dwell with את eth-the man: and he gave Mosheh את eth-Tsipporah his daughter. 22 And she bore him a son, and he called את eth-his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.
Consider the Hebrew of this last passage. It reads “and she bare (yelid) him a son (ben), and he called his name (shem) Gershom (גֵּרְשֹׁם) which could also read ger-shem: for he said, I have been a stranger (ger) in a strange (nokriy) land (eretz). In other words, Moshe named his son stranger is his name.
However, it would come to pass that when Mosheh led the house of Isra’el – Yasharon – out of Mitzrayim and into the wilderness, that they would confront the Midyaniym in battle.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 31:1-12
AND YAHUAH spoke unto Mosheh, saying, 2 Avenge the children of Yisra’el of the Midyaniym: afterward shall you be gathered unto your people. 3 And Mosheh spoke unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midyaniym, and avenge YAHUAH of Midyan. 4 Of every tribe a thousand, throughout all the tribes of Yisra’el, shall ye send to the war. 5 So there were delivered out of the thousands of Yisra’el, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. 6 And Mosheh sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and את eth-Piynechac the son of El`azar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand. 7 And they warred against the Midyaniym, as YAHUAH commanded את eth-Mosheh; and they slew all the males. 8 And they slew את eth-the kings of Midyan, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, את eth-Eviy, and את eth-Reqem, and את eth-Tsur, and את eth-Choriy, and את eth-Reva, five kings of Midyan: את eth Bil`am also the son of Be`or they slew with the sword. 9 And the children of Yisra’el took את eth-all the women of Midyan captives, and את eth-their little ones, and took the spoil of את eth-all their cattle, and את eth-all their flocks, and את eth-all their goods. 10 And they burnt את eth-all their cities wherein they dwelt, and את eth-all their goodly castles, with fire. 11 And they took את eth-all the spoil, and את eth all the prey, both of men and of beasts. 12 And they brought את eth-the captives, and את eth-the prey, and את eth-the spoil, unto Mosheh, and El`azar the priest, and unto the assembly of the children of Yisra’el, unto the camp at the plains of Mo’av, which are by Yarden near Yeriycho.