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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Judges 19

Verses 1-30


The Wickedness of Gibeah

A Levite and his concubine meet with foul treatment at Gibeah, a town of Benjamin. The indignation of the other tribes is roused against the Benjamites.

This chapter gives the cause of the war between the rest of the tribes and Benjamin, with which the remainder of Judges is concerned. It is difficult to determine the period to which this war should be assigned. In Judges 20 there is no recognised leader or judge in Israel, but all the tribes (quite differently from elsewhere) act together ’as one man’ (Judges 20:1-11); and the numbers given (Judges 20:2, Judges 20:15-25) imply a very large population; though an army approaching half a million in number seems unthinkable. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that Benjamin could have suffered such a disaster as this within a generation or two of Saul’s accession to the throne. Probably we have an old story, dating from the wild days before Saul (Judges 19:1; Judges 20:28), part of which at least (20, Judges 21:1-14) was retold at a much later period, when the exact details had been lost and were replaced by the writer’s conceptions of the past: see on Judges 20:28.

1. When there was no king] see on Judges 17:6. A certain Levite] see on Judges 17:7.

3. He rejoiced] feeling the separation to be a disgrace.

10. Jebus] see Judges 1:21: also Joshua 15:8; 1 Chronicles 11:4. The journey from Bethlehem would not take more than two hours.

12. See on Judges 1:7, Judges 1:8. Did they remember the story of Sodom (Genesis 19)?

13. Gibeah.. Ramah] both N. of Jerusalem.

14. There is hardly any twilight in Palestine.

15. Gibeah thus proves as inhospitable as they feared Jerusalem would be.

16. The field] i.e. the open country surrounding the village.

18. The house of the lord] LXX reads ’my house,’ which is preferable.

19. Note the politeness of the phrases ’thy handmaid’ and ’thy servants.’ The traveller needs nothing except actual house-room. An inn is only the modern substitute for the hospitality on which originally travellers were compelled to rely. This hospitality the stranger from Ephraim (cp. Luke 10:33) insists on providing fully.

22. Sons of Belial] The Hebrew means simply ’worthless men’ or ’rascals.’ Belial is not a proper name: cp. 1 Samuel 1:16).

23. The old man dreads being compelled to violate the laws of Eastern hospitality.

29. Cp. 1 Samuel 11:7.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Judges 19". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/judges-19.html. 1909.