Last we saw there was singing and jubilation in Judges with Deborah and Barak singing the Triumphal poem, Song of Deborah. But nothing lasts forever and in the next chapter, six, evil has corrupted the hearts and minds of the Israelites once again and the Midianites have conquered them.
The Midianites are descended from Abraham by Keturah, his wife after Sarah died, Genesis 25:2. Keturah in Hebrew means “the perfume for sacrifice”.
Abraham took another wife whose name was Keturah. 2 She gave birth to his sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim.
4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All of these were the sons of Keturah.
Their territory is east of the Gulf at the northern extremity of the Red Sea including Edom Moab and possibly even Horeb where Moses met Jehovah and the burning bush. As the Midianites are nomads and many think that their territory is very similar to Bedouin Arabs. Linguistically Bedouin and Midian are the same name, because in Hebrew M and B are both labials or rounded vowels. Typical labial examples are Mummy, Mommy, Poppy, People, Baba, Baby, and when these letters are repeated in a word, or put in a sentence with other labial sounding words tend to confuse people. “p,” “b,” “f,” “v,” or “m”
This “Open Letter” is a nice write up on the problems of labials.
I got this from Rev. J. J. Lias’s book “Book of Judges” published in 1889 by Cambridge University Press. I use a lot of public domain books btw. Knowing a little Arabic and less Hebrew, I think Dr. Cassell makes a good case for the Midian/Beduoin connection. I have noticed in later books, published in the 20th Century, this theory was picked up and the same reasoning used and most bible dictionaries now states that Keturah’s sons fill the Arabian peninsula. But here’s the citation as well as the link above on HathiTrust.org.