Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Judges 20

Verses 1-48

  1. CIVIL WAR (Ch.20)
    1. Israel’s first Civil War.
    2. (2) Their intent...to take official action against the men of Gibeah.
      1. One of the few encouraging things in the whole story...that the country comes together united in heart & mind (as one man), to deliver Justice.
    3. (5) The Levite condemned the men, but exonerated himself. He said nothing of his own complicity in the tragedy.
    4. (8) As one man - really? an unexpected phrase here, given the disunity amongst the tribes.
      1. It’s ironic, that in the last episode of the book, they all finally come together, but to fight against one of their own tribes, not a foreign oppressor.
    5. (14-17) The Benjamites refused to turn the men who had committed the gang rape over to the Israelite force for punishment.
      1. By their refusal, the entire tribe became implicated in the crime.
      2. Worse, they decided to fight against Israel in order to protect the criminals.
        1. Where do you draw loyalty’s lines?Loyalty to family, friends, business associates, etc? I believe loyalty leaves off, where w/our loyalty to God & His commandments begins.
    6. (16) 700 left-handed skilled fighting men - Benjamin evidently gained a reputation for having skilled left-handed warriors. [Ehud/an earlier Judge 3:15,21 was left-handed. As a special contingent from David’s soldiers later 1 Chron.12]
      1. Biblical notes like this sure give the Bible a real-life flavor.
    7. The Sling - was a common weapon in ancient warfare.
      1. This obviously increased the range of hitting your enemy.
      2. Ancient Egyptian and Assyrian reliefs show slingers and archers standing together as long-range attackers. Shepherd’s Notes, Joshua/Judges pg.96
    8. (18,23) Twice Israel attacked, and twice they would beaten by the smaller yet superior Benjamite force.
      1. Ask: How would you account for the fact that the 11 tribes were twice defeated by the Benjamites, even though they had asked counsel of the Lord?
        1. ​​​​​​​The 3rd time it was added...they would win. vs.28
        2. Also note: 1st time they asked God. 2nd time wept till night, then asked. 3rd time wept, sat before God, fasted till dinner, offered burnt sacrifices, & peace offerings, then asked Him.
    9. (27) Ark of the covenant - interesting note. The Ark is mentioned once in judges.
      1. The absence of the ark in the narratives of judges reflects the moral decline of Israel during that period. [compare to 30 x’s in Joshua]
    10. (29-48) Despite how far Israel had fallen away from their faith, Yahweh still orchestrated their battle & brought justice. Dr. David Jeremiah
    11. (36-48) The account of the battle at Gibeah ends with a detailed retelling of certain elements of the fight.
    12. The entire tribe of the Benjamites paid dearly for supporting the criminal actions of a few.
    13. (43) Gibeah will be the home town of Saul (1st king) so maybe why all weren’t wiped out.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Judges 20". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/judges-20.html. 2017.