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Midian (Hebrew: מדין, Miḏyān; Arabic: مدين, Maḏyān; "Name means::strife, judgment") was the fourth son of son of::Abraham and son of::Keturah. He is the progenitor of the Midianite people (Hebrew: מדיןים, Miḏyānīm), who were to play two pivotal roles in the history of the House of Israel.

Immediate family

The sons of Midian were father of::Ephah, father of::Epher, father of::Hanoch, father of::Abida and father of::Eldaah. The Bible gives no further details of Midianite genealogy.[1] (Genesis 25:2,4 )


After Joseph's jealous brothers threw him into a pit, they sold him to Midianite traders who then took him to Egypt to sell as a slave.[2]


In the winter of 2473 AM, Moses fled from Egypt to the Midianite country. There he befriended a Midianite priest named ancestor of::Jethro. This Jethro had seven daughters, including ancestor of::Zipporah, whom Moses married.[1][2][3] Years later, the Qenites, descendants of Qein, attached themselves to the Israelites. (Judges 1:16 )

But when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, the Midianites joined forces with the Moabites to attempt to exterminate the Israelites. In retaliation, Phinehas led an army of 12,000 men, 1,000 from each tribe, to crush the Midianites.[4][5][6] (Numbers 31 )


In 2764 AM, the Midianites oppressed the Israelites, who by then had occupied Canaan. The Midianites held this dominion for seven years, until Judge Gideon routed a combined Midianite-Moabite army with a force of three hundred.[5][7]


Biblical Midianites

The Arab historian and geographer, Yaqut al-Hamawi, tells us that the Midianite tribes of Arabia spoke the Hawil dialect of Arabic, and he also confirms the fact that Midian was the son of Abraham. The tribes of Midian are also known from Egyptian and other sources. Ptolemy, for example, records their name as Modiana, whilst the ancient pre-Islamic Arab city of Madyan, opposite the extremity of the Sinai Peninsula, is today known as Magha’ir Shu’aib ("the caves of Shu’aib"). However, he was also the father of other Middle Eastern peoples.

The Kurds

After being sent away by Abraham, the descendants of Midian settled in the region of the Caucasus, both north and south of the mountain range:

"And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country." - Genesis 25:5-6

They were sent east of Palestine, not south into modern Saudi Arabia, as many speculate. After multiplying greatly, they came pouring down into Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia (with some settling south of Edom in northwest Arabia), being known at that time as the Hurrians.[8] One branch of the Hurrians became known as the Mitanni and their rulers the Maryanni. They were evidently named after their forefather, Midian. Dr. Crowley suggests that these Mitanni are direct descendants of Midian.[9]

The Mitanni were of the Aryan (Indo-Iranian) branch of the Indo-Europeans[10]. Ayyaswami Kalyanaraman in his book, Aryatarangini: The Saga of the Indo-Aryans, describes the bust of Queen Nefertiti (a Midianitess) and the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten as "Nordic".[11] They invoked the actual gods of the Aryans of India and used their Vedic names. It may be significant that the first god they invoked was the Vedic Sun-god, Mitra or Mithra, which may have been Midian himself, deified. In so many ways they were quite similar to their neighbors, the Hittites.[12] The late Dr. Robert Gayre wrote:

"The evidence for the connection with Aryans rests not only on the evidence we have given, and their location, but on such things as god-names. This they had Teshup, who is identical with Tarku, Huthor of Anatolia. The nearby Hittite military aristocracy had Mitra, Urannna and (Nasaagiia, Mitra, Varunna, Indra, and Nasatya), One of the Mitannian tribes was called the Kharri, and some think this is Arya."[13]

Many Mitanni settled for a time in Asshur[14] which was merely the linking up of “contiguous” peoples,[15] as their military ruling classes were related.[16] Their royal names reflected their worship of the Aryan deities and they possessed specialized knowledge of horse-breeding like their relatives in north-west India.[17] One of their gods was Teshub, the god of battles, with his thunderbolt in his hand; he was later called Thor in Europe. Like the Hittites, their relatives, they were a very warlike people.[18]

What became of these mysterious Mitanni after their kingdom fell around 1400 BC? Haddon comments

"The 'Aryans' of the Mitanni were called by the Greeks Mattienoi; they are possibly the ancestors of the modern Kurds.[19]

Indeed, the Kurds may well be the mixed remnant of the Mitanni and Hittites. But what of those which did not mix? Of them, Field notes that "nothing more is heard of them; they disappear in unknown India."[20]

See Also

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Taylor, Paul S. "Midian." WebBible Encyclopedia, n.d. Accessed November 8, 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 Konig, George. "Midian." AboutBibleProphecy, 2008. Accessed November 8, 2008.
  3. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, pgh. 170
  4. Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 355, 357
  5. 5.0 5.1 Singer I and Seligsohn M. "Midian and Midianites." The Jewish Encyclopedia, n.d. Accessed November 8, 2008.
  6. Blank, Wayne. "Midian." Church of God Daily Bible Study, n.d. Accessed November 8, 2008.
  7. Jones, Floyd N. The Chronology of the Old Testament. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004, Chart 4.
  8. Cottrell, L (1975) The Concise Encyclopedia Of Archaeology. Hutchins Of London, 178
  9. Bristowe, S (1971) Sargon The Magnificent. Association Of The Covenant People, Vancouver, Canada, 12
  10. Bashan 1959:29
  11. Kalyanaraman, A (1969) Aryatarangini: The Saga of the Indo-Aryans, Vol. 1, 79
  12. Gayre of Gayre, R (1973) The Syro-Mesopotamian Ethnology As Revealed in Genesis X. The Armorial, Edinburgh, Scotland, 23
  13. ibid:23-24
  14. ibid ; 20-21
  15. ibid
  16. Kalyanaraman, A (1969) Aryatarangini: The Saga of the Indo-Aryans, Vol. 1, p. 178
  17. ibid
  18. Gayre of Gayre, R (1973) The Syro-Mesopotamian Ethnology As Revealed in Genesis X. The Armorial, Edinburgh, Scotland, p. 29
  19. Haddon, AC (1912) The Wandering Of Peoples. Oxford University Press, p. 29
  20. Field, H (1970) "Contributions To The Anthropology Of Iran", Field Museum Of Natural History. Chicago, Vol. 29, No. 1, p. 152

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