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Judges 8:28

ESV So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.
NIV Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon's lifetime, the land had peace forty years.
NASB So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon.
CSB So Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and they were no longer a threat. The land had peace for forty years during the days of Gideon.
NLT That is the story of how the people of Israel defeated Midian, which never recovered. Throughout the rest of Gideon’s lifetime — about forty years — there was peace in the land.
KJV Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

What does Judges 8:28 mean?

This verse follows the familiar pattern of Judges, though with some differences. When the people cried out (Judges 6:1–5), God raised up a deliverer in Gideon (Judges 6:11–12). God worked through Gideon to subdue the Midianites completely (Judges 8:10–12). They ceased to be a threat to Israel.

One way to interpret this verse's reference to "raising heads" is in regards to Israel. When Midian was oppressing the people, God's people were on constant alert, worried that they would be attacked. Now, thanks to a thorough victory, the people had no need to raise their heads to look for raiders. The other, more likely interpretation is that the ones no longer "[raising] their heads" are the Midianites: they are subdued and don't presume to challenge Israel.

This relative peace continued for forty years—an entire generation—in connection to the life of Gideon. What is left out is any mention that Gideon or others acknowledged that the Lord God, not their own power, had saved Israel once again (Judges 7:2). Instead, Gideon seems to have received all the credit from his countrymen. The last verses of chapter 8 include other ways in which Gideon's story differs from others in this book.
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