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Bible Commentaries

Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books

Judges 20

Verses 1-11

The Levite took her body back home and used the knife he used to slaughter animals to cut the body into twelve pieces to send to all the tribes of Israel. He invited all the tribes to consider the terrible crime committed and say how it should be punished. The congregation gathered at Mizpah, which Keil says is on the western border of the tribe of Benjamin, to review the incident and decide what to do. With the Lord as their witness, it was decided to go up against Gibeah, lay it to ashes and distribute the land by lot. One man out of every ten was selected to go out and obtain provisions for the army ( Jdg_20:1-11 ).

Verses 12-48

The other tribes called upon Benjamin to release to them the wicked men that they might be put to death in accord with the law ( Deu_22:22 ). By refusing to release them, the rest of the tribe of Benjamin upheld the sinful act of the men of Gibeah and became their partners in sin. Twenty-six thousand from Benjamin plus 700 chosen men from Gibeah prepared for battle. The 400,000 men of Israel first went to Bethel, where Jacob had heard from God ( Gen_28:1-22 ; Gen_35:1-29 ), to ask God through the high priest, Phinehas, who should lead them in battle.

The Benjaminites killed 22,000 the first day. They went weeping to the Lord to inquire whether they should go up again. At his direction, they went up a second day and lost another 18,000. They went to the house of God, wept, fasted until evening and offered sacrifices. When they inquired again of the Lord through Phinehas, he said for them to go up and he would give them into their hand. On the third day, they set an ambush and slew 25,100 and struck the city of Gibeah with the sword. Six hundred fled to the rock of Rimmon for safety. Then, the rest of Israel struck down every man and beast they found in Benjamin ( Jdg_20:12-48 ).

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Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Judges 20". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/judges-20.html. 2014.