So the question was raised…what could the Midianites have done differently?
They could have demonstrated the same attitude as the Gibeonites who found themselves in the same position. . . Humility.
I divert to an excellent example!
Let me tell you about them.
They lived about six miles north of Jerusalem. And they heard…“The Israelites are coming! The Israelites are coming!” . . .
Maybe not quite like Paul Revere, but you see the point.
They were worried. They had just heard about Joshua and his winning battle at Jericho. These Canaanites of Gibson saw that a battle could not be won against a nation with divine backing.
So what did they do?
They tricked the Israelites! They sent representatives who posed as travelers from a distant land. Their suing for peace was successful. Israel ended up making a covenant with them and when the ruse was finally exposed, the Gibeonites became gatherers of wood and drawers of water for the Israelites.
You just may be thinking … what kind of life is That?
It is Life, as opposed to death. And really, it wasn’t a bad life. It was a job reassignment with perks, since Jehovah was not displeased with them. They actually gained divine favor and protection.
When five kings attacked the Gibeonites, Jehovah even performed the miracle of extending daylight for that battle. Joshua 9:3-27; 10:1-14.
So are you wondering: Do we have evidence that this people actually existed?
Yes, for excavators found on the mound where the city was located a deep pit, or pool, cut into solid rock. The Gibeonites could step down into this and obtain water from an underground chamber.
Did not 2 Samuel 2:13 mention “the pool of Gibeon”?
Archaeologists also discovered cellars cut into rock and a large amount of wine-making equipment.
This tells me that after a long hard day of toting, they knew how to relax. No need to feel too sorry for them 🙂
Plus, being a slave for the Jews then was not bad. Notice what the Jewish scholar Moses Mielziner stated:
A “slave could never cease to be a man, he was looked upon as a person possessing certain natural human rights, with which the master even could not with impunity interfere.”
Is this not a stark contrast to the abusive systems of slavery that mar the annals of history today?
So back to the original question: What could the Midianites have done differently than try to curse God’s people? … They could have sued for peace. Used their old noggins for coming up with an alternative to death.
How about Life? … Surely death was not preferable to a good clean life with divine protection and guidance?
It was for most of the Midianites and many other Canaanites nations. The obedient Israelites continued their conquests with Jehovah’s backing.
But things didn’t always fare well with them. Many times they also lacked humility, finding themselves later pleading for God’s forgiveness and direction.