Oreb and Zeeb

views updated


OREB AND ZEEB (Heb. עוֹרֵב, עׂרֵב, "raven"; זְאֵב, "wolf "), two Midianite princes captured by the Ephraimites during a battle led by Gideon the judge (Judg. 7:25; 8:1–3). To commemorate the event, the places where the capture occurred were called "The Rock of Oreb" (Ẓur Orev) and "The Winepress of Zeeb" (Yekev Ze'ev). Their exact location is uncertain. The narrative relates that the two princes were decapitated and their heads brought across the Jordan to Gideon, apparently as testimony to the great valor and glory of the Ephraimites (7:25; 8:2–3). The defeat and execution of Oreb and Zeeb became proverbial as a paradigm for the annihilation of the enemies of Israel (Isa. 10:26; Ps. 83:11).


Y. Kaufmann, in: Tarbiz, 30 (1960/61), 139–47 (Heb.), 45 (Eng. summary); A. Malamat, in: peq, 85 (1953), 61–65; C.F. Whitley, in: vt, 7 (1957), 157–64.

[Nili Shupak]