And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb,
&c.] 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
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 F16,
which was in Ithaca, and another high mountain of the same name in
Aetolia, mentioned by Livy F17 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 F18, and so by Milton F19, contrary to the propriety of the
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
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) (2 Samuel 4:2,8) .
F16 Odyss. 13. "prope finem".
F17 Hist. l. 36. c. 30.
F18 De vera Sap. l. 4. c. 17.
F19 Paradise Lost, l. 1. ver. 7.