And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel
They were too strong for them, and overcame them, and brought them into subjection to them, and no wonder, when the Lord delivered them into their hand:
and because of the Midianites;
because of their usage of them, their manner of coming upon them yearly, and pillaging and plundering their substance, as after related:
the children of Israel made them dens which are in the mountains;
the word for "dens" has the signification of light in it, and are so called either by an antiphrasis, because they were dark, or, as Kimchi thinks, because they had a window at the top of them, which let in the light
F1 but Ben Gersom conjectures they were torches, which gave a great light, and when they that held them saw from the mountains the Midianites, by these torches they made a signal to the Israelites to take care and hide themselves and their substance:
and caves, and strong holds;
the caves were for the poorer sort, and the strong holds for the richer to retire to with their goods; though, according to Jarchi, the latter were no other than fences they made in woods, by cutting down trees, and setting them round about them, perhaps much the same as the thickets, ( 1 Samuel 13:6 ) .
F1 So David de Pomis Lexic. fol. 90. 3. or "because men flowed and flocked to them for safety"; so Buxtorf.