What does Judges 6:33 mean?
ESV: Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel.
NIV: Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.
NASB: Then all the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the people of the east assembled together; and they crossed over and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.
CSB: All the Midianites, Amalekites, and people of the east gathered together, crossed over the Jordan, and camped in the Jezreel Valley.
NLT: Soon afterward the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel.
KJV: Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.
NKJV: Then all the Midianites and Amalekites, the people of the East, gathered together; and they crossed over and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel.
Verse Commentary:
At the time The Angel of the Lord came to call Gideon (Judges 6:11–12), Gideon was attempting to hide food from marauding Midianites. This means these events—including Gideon's demolition of a pagan altar (Judges 6:25–28)—happened at the time of year when such raids were common. Midianites, Amalekites, and their allies from the east of the Jordan River invaded the land of Canaan. They camped in vast numbers in the Valley of Jezreel. Each year, they would take crops and livestock from the Israelites—anything that could be used for food. Israel had been helpless against them for seven years (Judges 6:1–5).

The Valley of Jezreel is named for the town at its eastern end. It runs about 15 miles, or 24 kilometers, between the range of hills known as Carmel and the lower part of Galilee. It is sometimes called the plain of Megiddo and has been the site of major battles throughout history. One day, this naturally perfect battlefield will host what is known as the Battle of Armageddon; this name is derived from the name of Mount Megiddo.

At this moment, the valley is packed with camels and tents full of the pillagers from across the Jordan. This time, though, Yahweh has raised up a deliverer. Things will go differently.
Verse Context:
Judges 6:28–35 describes what happens when Gideon's neighbors discover he has toppled the Baal altar and Asherah pole and replaced them with an altar to Yahweh. They demand Gideon's father Joash let them kill Gideon. Joash defends his son, challenging Baal to fight his own battles, if he cares to. This earns Gideon the nickname Jerubbaal, implying his conflict with Baal. When the Midianites return on another raid to take Israel's food (Judges 6:1–5), God empowers Gideon and people from several tribes to battle against Midian and her allies from east of the Jordan.
Chapter Summary:
Israel follows the sad pattern of the book of Judges, and once again turns to evil and idols. God turns them over to the Midianites. These foreign raiders spend the next seven years invading and consuming Israel's crops and livestock. Israel cries for help to the Lord. His first step is to send a prophet to remind them of God's goodness and their disobedience. The Lord then appears to Gideon, commanding him to save Israel because God will be with him. Gideon obeys God's command to tear down a Baal altar and build one to Yahweh in its place. He calls his countrymen to follow him and asks for signs from God.
Chapter Context:
The book of Judges contains a series of stories with a common theme: Israel falls into sin, suffers, and is rescued by God, only to fall once again (Judges 1—2). The next phase in Israel's downward spiral comes after 40 years of peace, won by Deborah and Barak (Judges 4—5). Israel is punished for sin through the Midianites. After seven years, the Israelites cry out for help. The Lord appears to Gideon, challenging the timid man to lead the battle against Israel's oppressors. Empowered by the Spirit, Gideon calls for his people to follow him, but still asks the Lord for signs. Gideon's successful campaigns are depicted in chapters 7 and 8.
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
Accessed 5/29/2024 2:55:42 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.