War with the Midianites

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For Our Admonition Part 20

Purging the Midianite Kings

Verses:  Jdg 8:10 – 17

Our study of our exploits about judge Gideon, which is our experience as all things written are indeed ours (1Co 3:21)!   The root of the Midianite spirits, the two kings are captured and killed and the land within us, under Midianite influence is brought into subjection.

Jdg 8:10  Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east: for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword. 


The two kings are in a place called Karkor [H1754], the only reference in all Scripture.  Christ must judge all nations within and without and Karkor is where Christ in us is sent to finish the war against the striving and contention of our unbelieving old man. Karkor means foundation and comes from a root word [H6979] that is translated as “break down, cast out, or destroy”.  This meaning reflects just how significant killing the Midianite kings is to our walking the narrow way. When Gideon arrives at our inward Karkor, so has the fire (Word) which is beginning the laying of a proper foundation.

1Co 3:11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

1Co 3:12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 

1Co 3:13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 

It is only after we have been proven in the battle and have overcome and established a foundation on the Truth that we are ready to pursue (1Co 10:13) the greater pursuits and go after the Midianite kings.  Our baptism with fiery trials creates the foundation where success leads to more success in delivering Israel within us little by little.  Being weaned off milk and made to pursue kings takes time.

Isa 28:9  Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 

Isa 28:10  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 

We see information in our first verse (Jud 8:10), that appears to be a contradiction regarding the original size and number of the Midianite army.  We were told earlier a couple of times that this host or army was without number, a multitude that was uncountable.

Jdg 6:5  For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. 

Enemies of God that draw the sword are enemies that exalt themselves against the Words of Christ and His Doctrines and narrow way.  God purposefully created us to have enmity against Christ (Gen 315, Rom, 8:20, Jer 18:4) so that He makes us over putting us under subjection to His Word in order to find the peace of Christ, a resting place.

Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 

Rom 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 

Here we are now told the original army was 135,000 men strong, if we take the number remaining and add in the number that fell (15,000 remain plus 120,000 which fell = 135,000).  The fact 120,000 fell and 15,000 remain to be felled are not conveying literal numbers but spiritual lessons (Joh 6:63) and truths which are “is, was and will be” truths.  There is no contradiction to the spiritual man who is given to discern spiritual truths conveyed and hidden to the natural man.

1Co 2:13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 

1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 

Twelve is the number for foundation just as Karkor means the same.  It was the slaying of the 120,000 (12 x 10 x 10 x 10) which “is, was and will be”, the process (the number 3) by which we are being matured.  This is our preparation, the foundation on which we are established before we are able to continue and endure wars and tribulations all the way to the end.  The number 15,000, the Midianite remnant remaining symbolizes the continued battle once the foundation is established.   It is grace by faith in the process of our judgment in the day of the Lord by which we are “being” saved little by little (5 x 3 x 10 x 10 x 10).  The enemy could not be literally numbered as Judges 6:35 stated.  The further detail in Judges 8:10 is giving us spiritual revelation of the principles of the Lord’s process of setting us firmly on His foundation before we are able to then begin to overcome the remnant and slay the Midianite kings.

We learn more details in how Gideon found the two Midianite kings.

Jdg 8:11  And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure. 

Jdg 8:12  And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host. 


Nobah [H5025] is only mentioned one other place Scripture yet we can deduce some significance of its meaning in this scripture.

Num 32:42  And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name. 

It has been a theme of a Midianite of making a name for oneself.

Gen 11:4  And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 

We are going to find Midianite kings where we have ambition and motive to make a name for ourselves!  Contrast this ambition with the example of lowliness and meekness set by our Lord for us to follow.

Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 

The root of Nobah comes from H5024 and means bark in its only use in the Bible.  All of this is speaking of Israel acting out of faith (i.e. the dogs outside the city).  Midianite kings keep thriving in our land make us spiritually blind and dumb and loving to sleep like physical dogs.  It’s the same spirit that is defining the Midianite kings, outward sacrifice at the expense of obedience (Zebah) and denying entry into the shade and protection of Christ (Zalumma).

Isa 56:10  His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark [H5024]; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 

Isa 56:11  Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. 

Jogbehah is a second witness of the same spiritual condition and place in our heart where the Midianite kings reside.  It comes from a root H1361 that means to soar and be exalted and lifted up.  Here is a verse we should all be familiar with that speaks to a SELF EXALTED state and is derived from the root of Jogbehah.

Eze 28:2  Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up [H1361] and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: 

These Midianites and the remnant army (host) are dwelling quite safely in these two places in the land within us.  That is until the Lord’s army and judges comes to these villages bearing the sword of the Lord.

Jdg 8:12  And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host. 

As Christ enters into the nations and cities in rebellion to His ways, those thoughts which are the enemy armies within us will be discomfited.  Without a head, the host of the Midianites become afraid and trembling which is the more common meaning of discomfited.  Having our man of sin and lawlessness being revealed to us and then taken out of the way by Christ (2Th 2:3-7) is necessary for us to be made weak in the flesh so we can then be strong in the Spirit.

1Co 2:2  For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 

1Co 2:3  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 

1Co 2:4  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 

1Co 2:5  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 

Judgment on Succoth and Penuel

With the kings captured, Gideon now returns to judge and teach the cities that had defied him in our last study.

Jdg 8:13  And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up, 

Jdg 8:14  And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and enquired of him: and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men. 

Jdg 8:15  And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary? 

Jdg 8:16  And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. 

Jdg 8:17  And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city. 


About 50% of the English translations say Gideon returned from the “Ascent of Heres” instead of before the sun came up.  Either way it is saying the same things.  We, as God’s judges, are there to speak words of fire to those that are being judged.  We plant and water but only the Lord can raise the sun up from within a Midianite controlled land.

1Co 3:6  I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

The implanted and watered WORD that judges the old man and give life to the new man in the times appointed.  It is those who hear these words of fire that are being cleansed of the Midianite kings.

Joh 12:47  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 

Joh 12:48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Gideon is returning to Succoth and Penuel as he promised to render recompense for their refusal to serve and help when needed. It won’t appear this way to the old man, but Gideon is coming in peace as he said he would and tearing down the tower of idols that is needed to cleanse the temple and make room for Christ.

Jdg 8:9  And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.

Gideon’s return in type and shadow is Christ’s return to His Temple, which Temple we are!

Joh 2:15  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 

Joh 2:16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise (gain saying)

This is type and shadow of the second coming of Christ to all men in their appointed day of the Lord.  The prince of peace brings peace, yet that peace only comes by way of the sword. 

In the same way we gain our life only by losing the old one via fiery judgment.

Mat 10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 

Mat 10:39  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 

Gideon captures a young one [H5288] symbolizing a child of God seeking escape from the bondage and lies of Succoth.  A young child of God in Spirit will know the elders and key false doctrines that keep Succoth striving and contending against the Truth. The child writes down for Gideon the seventy-seven leaders of Succoth that Gideon will then retrain.

A summation from a study of the number eleven follows:

Eleven is simply the ruin and disintegration of the perfection of the flesh. Eleven plus one is a solid foundation for those who are God’s spiritual temple. Twelve minus one is a rebellious, very confusing, unbelieving state.  Eleven signifies that time when we have just met Christ and we are just now becoming aware of our total blindness. The time of our judgment still lies ahead of us.

The Number Seven symbolizes “completion” of whatever is the context of discussion and here we are talking about judgment.  Two seven’s or 77 is our complete witness we have in Christ from Adam to the mature man.  There are seventy-seven leaders or mindsets of Succoth we have to experience to go from Adam to having the mind of Christ.  All of our rebellion and carnal enmity with God must be met and converted in our day of judgment.  There are seventy-seven “generations” or mindsets from Adam to Christ according to the lineage listed by Luke in Chapter 3:23-38.

Jdg 8:16  And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. 

Jdg 8:17  Then he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city. 


Gideon begins teaching the men of Succoth the truth.  They are learning this truism about reaping what we sow.

Mat 7:2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 

Thorns and briars are the lies and false doctrines we learn in our wilderness experience in Babylon which remain with us and our burned out little by little.  It is the Succothites within and without ourselves to whom Gideon and all of Christ’s Christ are sent to speak words of fire.

Eze 2:6  And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. 

Eze 2:7  And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. 


In the day of the Lord, those words are heard in Succoth and the thorns and briars are no more.

Eze 28:24  And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD. 

We learn righteousness only by our judgment.  Tearing down the tower of Baal in Penuel is the same things that kills the old man of Peneul which is the same as being taught righteousness in Succoth.

Isa 26:9  With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. 

Isa 1:27  Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

This is the positive of briars and thorns. They are used as Gideon uses them to show us our erring and contrast the way of truth versus lies and godliness from inequity.  Nothing is wasted in God’s plan for our lives, it all works for good in the end (Rom 8:28).

Rev 22:13  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 

Jer 2:19  Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts. 

After Gideon’s swift judgment (teaching) the rebellious Succothites and Penuelites, the focus turns to the two kings who must be destroyed per the commandments of the Law of Moses.

Deu 20:16  But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth

A wise man learns from all his experiences even from his enemies.  Gideon now turns his attention to the kings to obey the Lord and leaving nothing alive that exalts itself against Christ in our heaven.  Gideon ask the kings a question and Lord willing, this is where we will start next time which should be our final disposition of the Midianites and Gideon’s exploits.

Jdg 8:18  And he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” So they answered, “As you are, so were they; each one resembled the son of a king.” 

Jdg 8:19  Then he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the LORD lives, if you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 

Jdg 8:20  And he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them!” But the youth would not draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. 

Jdg 8:21  So Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself, and kill us; for as a man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.