Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to Midianite: Mennonite, Moab, Moses


An ancient tribe in northwest Arabia, said in the Hebrew Scriptures to be descendants of Abraham.

[Hebrew midyān; see dyn in Semitic roots.]

Mid′i·an·ite′ adj. & n.


(ˈmɪd i əˌnaɪt)

(in the Bible) a member of a pastoral people of NW Arabia, said to be descendants of Midian.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
This simple phrase of implied surrender to a greater will echoes some of the oldest stories in Judaism-Abraham's answer to God, when he is commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac, and Moses' answer when God manifests Himself in a burning bush in the Midianite desert.
4) The area was associated with Midianite settlements, which was Moses's wife Zipporah's home.
Later on, Moses settles in Midian for 40 years (7:29-30), thus effectively becoming a Midianite.
In this other story, Moses marries Zipporah, the Midianite.
Moses was also a ger when he fled for his life from Pharaoh and was taken in by a Midianite priest.
Likewise, the foreign women who associate themselves with the Israelite tradition, including Moses's Midianite consort, Zipporah, as well as his unnamed Ethiopian wife (Numeros 12:1; Benbassa and Attias 70; Pardes 79-97; Kam 79-85).
In one of the most intriguing stories of the Torah, Moses' father-in-law Jethro, a Midianite priest, rebukes Moses for taking on the role of sole legislator, of being the channel of oracular Justice.
After the battle he ordered his victorious army to rape the Midianite women (Numbers 31:18).
Elizabeth McCombie, Midianite and Debussy: Unheard Music, Unseen Text, Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs (Oxford: Clarendon; New York: Oxford University Press, 20031: David Code, "Parting the Veils of Dehussy's Voiles," Scottish Music Review (online) I, no.
For those not convinced that the rights of a sexual assault victim were a low priority in the Bible, and that "legitimate rape" had a niche in biblical law, consider this: Deuteronomy 21:11 permits Israelite soldiers to force war captives into marriage; Numbers 31:18 states that, after the Israelites slaughtered the adult Midianite males, Moses ordered the soldiers to take all the young girls "who have not known a man by lying with him and keep alive for yourselves"; and Deuteronomy 22:23-24 makes clear that if a (betrothed) virgin is raped in a city and doesn't cry for help, she should be stoned to death along with the perpetrator.
Moses encountered Tzipporah, the daughter of a Midianite priest, while in exile from Egypt in the aftermath of his killing an Egyptian taskmaster who had been beating an Israelite slave.
Moses, fleeing from Egypt to the wilderness, joined himself to the Kenites, a Midianite tribe of nomads living in the desert about Sinai.