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This Chapter, which concludes the book of the Judges, gives the general conclusion also, of sin and its punishment in the sorrow and anguish of spirit it induceth. We have in it, the account of all God's people mourning, concerning the ruin of Benjamin. They take counsel, how to repair the breach, made by it, in one of the tribes: and from the daughters of Jabesh-gilead, and Shiloh, give them wives, to build up their inheritance.
There was no notice taken of this before, but it is very properly introduced here, for it serves to explain the distress of Israel, respecting the building up again of the tribe of Benjamin.
It is pleasing to remark, that though at this time, the interests of Religion appeared at so low an ebb; yet, the ordinances of worship were still kept up at Shiloh.
The importance of preserving a tribe, of the twelve Tribes of Israel, was an object, to which all Israel had regard. Perhaps the thing was from the Lord. So important is it, that even the New Jerusalem, is said to have their names on its gates. Revelation 21:12 .
It should seem, that the vengeance taken of the men of Jabesh-gilead, was more with an eye to provide in this manner wives for Benjamin, than to punish them, for not coming up against Gibeah.
I pass over the whole here recorded, to bring the sum, and substance into one point of view; it affords a melancholy picture, take it altogether, very humbling to our nature, and sadly descriptive of our apostasy from God. Wherein may we be said to differ from the beasts that perish? The destruction of the men of Jabesh, and the dance at Shiloh, were both to promote the gratification of sensual lusts and appetites. I conceive one improving thought may be gathered from this annual custom of sin and folly, at Shiloh, in the dancing of young persons. How little did they think of the ambush, laying in wait for them. How little do our unthinking youths, and even some of riper age, in their dancings and assemblies, consider what evil spirits are around them, to prompt them on, and stimulate them to sin! And is it not a question of great awfulness; have not many (like the daughters of Shiloh, in their dances, carried off by the lyers in wait), dropped suddenly dead in their midnight revels, and been hurried away, from the frivolous music of the dancing room, to the land of darkness, and shadow of death!
May a gracious God, be pleased to follow up his own blessed designs, in recording the sad relations of Israel in this book, to, make both the Writer, and Reader of this Commentary upon it, wise, under his divine teaching, from what is written. If, Reader, the page of Israel's transgressions, in this book of the Judges, be so blessed of God the Holy Ghost, as to prompt both your heart, and mine, to behold in it, what it really is, the history of all men according to nature, and unrestrained by grace: and, if the consciousness of the whole, tends to endear Jesus, in all his Person, Offices, Relations, and Characters, as the only remedy for sin; and, if our hearts are led to him for salvation; then let us both bless the Great Author of our mercies, who hath given this, as well as all scripture, by inspiration of God; and made it profitable, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Judges 21". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19