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Bible Commentaries

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Judges 19

This history has no connection whatever with the preceding. The note of time Judges 20:28 shows that the date of it is in the lifetime of the first generation of settlers in Canaan.

Verse 1

A concubine - See the margin. The name does not imply any moral reproach. A concubine was as much the man’s wife as the woman so called, though she had not the same rights. See Judges 19:3-4.

Verse 2

Played the whore against him - Perhaps only meaning that she ran away from him, and left him, for she returned to her father’s house.

Verse 9

This is a perfect picture of the manners of the time. It is probable that the father showed more than usual hospitality, in order to ensure the kind treatment of his daughter by her husband. These particulars are given to account for their journey running so far into the evening, which was the immediate cause of the horrible catastrophe which followed.

Verse 12

City of a stranger - This shows how completely, even in these early days, the Jebusite population had excluded both the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Verse 14

Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin - See Joshua 18:24 note.

Verse 15

A street - Probably the square or place within the gates, where courts were held, bargains made, and where the chief men and strangers congregated.

Verse 16

Which was also of Mount Ephraim - i. e., of the country of the Levite. This single giver of hospitality was himself a stranger and sojourner at Gibeah.

Verse 18

The house of the Lord - Probably at Shiloh (marginal references). The Levite was probably one of those who ministered at the tabernacle. His two donkeys and servant show him to have been in good circumstances, and he had a home of his own.

Verse 23

This man is come into mine house - He appeals to the sacred rights of hospitality, just as Lot did Genesis 19:8. Both cases betray painfully the low place in the social scale occupied by woman in the old world, from which it is one of the glories of Christianity to have raised her.

Verse 29

A knife - Rather, “the” “knife”. The single household implement used, not like our knives at our meals, but for slaughtering and cutting up the animals into joints for eating Genesis 22:6, Genesis 22:10; Proverbs 30:14.

Together with her bones ... - Rather, “into her bones”, or “bone by bone, into twelve pieces”. The “pieces” are synonymous with the “bones” (compare Ezekiel 24:4-5). There is something truly terrible in the stern ferocity of grief and indignation which dictated this desperate effort to arouse his countrymen to avenge his wrong. Compare 1 Samuel 11:7.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Judges 19". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/judges-19.html. 1870.