For a period of about seven years the Israelites had to serve the Midianites (Judges 6:1-10). The reason for this servitude was the result of the evil the children of Israel engaged; actions that were contrary to the Lord’s purpose for them as a nation and as a people. The evil is not really identified, but the context includes the idea of choosing to worship another god along side of the Lord God. It seems that the Israelites failed to remember that the Lord will brook no compromise with anyone (cf. Exodus 20:1-3).
The Midianites were rather severe in the implementation of their “lordship” over Israel. So much so the children of Israel became impoverished as a result of this exactitude in service that was required.
Reflect for a moment on this impoverishment. The Scripture says there would be nothing left after Midian came in to this one particular area. You are a parent with four hungry children to feed; whatever crop you plant is not allowed to come to fruit, and if it does you have to do what you can to hide it (if you don’t you will lose it). You have hardly any earthly possessions, your clothes are ragged, the home in which you live is run down, and your family has been struck with seasonal sickness. It is enough to overwhelm a person.
The experience, the Lord said, was because of disobedience to His will and purpose for the nation’s life (Judges 6:8-10). As I sit here writing this I can’t help but to think of a wife and the children having to suffer because of the male leadership in the home not doing what was required of the Lord. When the man (husband/father) does not lead there is an impoverishment in the area where he fails. With regard to spiritual matters, the Lord will do with male exactly as He called Adam in the long ago (Genesis 3:9). RT