Judges 6:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 6:4, NIV: They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys.

Judges 6:4, ESV: They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey.

Judges 6:4, KJV: And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass.

Judges 6:4, NASB: So they would camp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel, nor a sheep, ox, or donkey.

Judges 6:4, NLT: camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys.

Judges 6:4, CSB: They encamped against them and destroyed the produce of the land, even as far as Gaza. They left nothing for Israel to eat, as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey.

What does Judges 6:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Midian's oppression against Israel takes the form of regular raids on crops and livestock. The Midianites, along with the Amalekites and other allies, would strike deep into the heart of Israel from as far east as the other side of the Jordan River. They would come every harvest season, set up their vast camps, and take everything they could find in Israel for food, even as far south as Gaza. Rather than invading and permanently taking territory, they would launch surprise attacks. Anything not hidden would be stolen.

Modern readers might miss the impact such raids would have. In the ancient world, resources were scarcer than they are in most nations today. Having a crop stolen was financially crippling. It was also potentially deadly. A successful enemy raid would mean having almost no sustenance, including crops, sheep, ox, and even donkeys, for as long as a full year. The constant threat of losing everything would have made the people bitter, weak, and fearful (Judges 6:6).