“And when they blew the three hundred shophar, Yahweh set each man’s sword against his comrade and against all of Midian. The camp fled as far as Beth-Hashittah by Tsererathah and as far as the border of Abel-Mecholah above Tabbath.”
The Midianites are thrown into a panic. Operating at night, hurriedly throwing on armor and grabbing weapons together, they burst from their tents and fell into battle with whomever was closest — everyone assuming that the Israelites were in their camp. Surely too, this is not a simple matter of confusion, but God has muddled and clouded their minds as part of his judgment upon them. Being broken, the army soon finds themselves in route, fleeing toward the Jordan river to return to their homelands.
What follows is a bit of a geography lesson, listing some towns that are between the encampment and the Jordan. The first, Beth-Hashittah, literally translates to the “House of Acacia Wood,” a kind of wood prized by the Israelites, which would be used for items in the temple (including the Ark of the Covenant — Deuteronomy 10:3), and Abel-Mecholah would eventually give birth to the prophet Elisha (1 Kings 19:16). There is still some debate as to exactly where some of these villages are, but they are located on the west of the Jordan river and in between the encampment of the Midianites and the ford to cross the river at Beth-Barah.
We have spoken a great deal about God being the warrior of Israel and that in this and every case, it is God who brings victory, not the might of men. It is important that we be reminded as well of the fact that it is God who either opens the mind or clouds the mind to see Truth. How often it is that we can get frustrated with those unbelievers in our midst that just don’t seem to understand things in the way we do — they just cannot see the Truth as to eternal things around them. The answer has more to do with God not opening their minds than anything else. Indeed, we ought always strive toward making good arguments, but at the same time, the blind will remain blind unless their eyes are opened by a rebirth brought about by the Holy Spirit. So, pray for those with whom you will debate and discuss matters of eternal Truth. Apart from the Spirit, their minds are as muddled as that of the Midianites.