ZEBAH AND ZALMUNNA


ZEBAH AND ZALMUNNA
ZEBAH AND ZALMUNNA (Heb. צַלְמֻנָּע ,זֶבַח), two Midianite kings. The Israelites under the leadership of Gideon won a decisive victory over the Midianites. oreb and zeeb , two princes of Midian, were captured and slain (Judg. 7:15–25). With the complete destruction of the Midianite forces, the Israelites were free of the terrors of yearly raids and crop stealing by the peoples from the east (Judg. 6:2–6). Gideon, however, was not satisfied. He was determined to find and kill Zebah and Zalmunna, two other Midianite kings who had managed to survive the great defeat and had fled eastward into the desert. This was a personal quest by Gideon, however, in order to exact revenge for the murder of his brothers, and he did not have the support of the tribes in this expedition. With his 300 men, he managed to rout the surviving Midianite forces and capture Zebah and Zalmunna. Gideon offered the privilege of executing blood revenge to his young son Jether, but the scared youth could not bring himself to draw his sword (Rashi, Judg. 8:20). Zebah and Zalmunna asked Gideon to execute them, so that they would die at the hands of a kingly person like themselves (Judg. 8:4–21; Ps. 83:12). Y. Kaufmann maintains that Gideon thought his brothers were still alive, otherwise the question "Where are the men…?" (Judg. 8:18) would make no sense. In the same verse he emends הרגתם ("you killed") to נהגתם ("you captured"; cf. Gen. 31:26; Deut. 28:37), as better fitting the meaning of the text. Gideon had heard only of his brothers' capture by the Midianites, and it was from the answer of Zebah and Zalmunna that he learned of their deaths. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: G.F. Moore, Judges (1949, ICC), 221ff.; Y. Kaufmann, Shofetim (1962), 185–8. (Gershon Bacon)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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