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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Judges 20

Overview

Judges 20:1, The Levite in a general assembly declares his wrong; Judges 20:8, The decree of the assembly; Judges 20:12, The Benjamites, being cited, make head against the Israelites; Judges 20:18, The Israelites in two battles lose forty thousand; Judges 20:26, They destroy by a stratagem all the Benjamites, except six hundred.

Verse 1

Then all: Judges 20:2, Judges 20:8, Judges 20:11, Judges 21:5, Deuteronomy 13:12-18, Joshua 22:12

as one man: 1 Samuel 11:7, 1 Samuel 11:8, 2 Samuel 19:14, Ezra 3:1, Nehemiah 8:1

from Dan: Judges 18:29, 1 Samuel 3:20, 2 Samuel 3:10, 2 Samuel 24:2, 1 Chronicles 21:2, 2 Chronicles 30:5

with the: Numbers 32:1, Numbers 32:40, Joshua 17:1, 2 Samuel 2:9

unto the: Judges 20:18, Judges 20:26, Judges 11:11

in Mizpeh: Judges 10:17, Judges 11:11, Joshua 15:38, Joshua 18:26, 1 Samuel 7:5, 1 Samuel 7:6, 1 Samuel 10:17, 2 Kings 25:23, It does not appear that the Israelites on this occasion, were summoned by the authority of any one common head, but they came together by the consent and agreement, as it were, of one common heart, fired with a holy zeal for the honour of God and Israel. The place of their meeting was Mizpeh; they gathered together unto the Lord there; for Mizpeh was so very near to Shiloh, that their encampment might very well be supposed to reach from Mizpeh to Shiloh. Shiloh was a small town, and therefore, when there was a general meeting of the people to present themselves before God, they chose Mizpeh for their head quarters, which was the next adjoining city of note; perhaps, because they were not willing to give that trouble to Shiloh, which so great an assembly would occasion; it being the residence of the priests that attended the tabernacle.

Reciprocal: Genesis 14:14 - Dan Genesis 21:31 - Beersheba Genesis 22:19 - to Beersheba Genesis 26:23 - Beersheba Joshua 11:3 - land Judges 21:1 - had sworn 2 Samuel 17:11 - all Israel 1 Kings 4:25 - from Dan 1 Kings 12:29 - Dan 2 Kings 23:8 - Beersheba 2 Chronicles 16:4 - Dan 2 Chronicles 19:4 - Beersheba Nehemiah 3:15 - Mizpah Nehemiah 11:27 - General Jeremiah 4:15 - a voice Jeremiah 8:16 - was heard Jeremiah 40:6 - Mizpah Hosea 9:9 - Gibeah

Verse 2

drew sword: Judges 20:15, Judges 20:17, Judges 8:10, 2 Samuel 24:9, 2 Kings 3:26

Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 14:38 - chief 2 Samuel 14:13 - people

Verse 3

the children of Benjamin: Proverbs 22:3, Matthew 5:25, Luke 12:58, Luke 12:59, Luke 14:31, Luke 14:32

how was: Judges 19:22-27

Reciprocal: Nehemiah 3:15 - Mizpah

Verse 4

the Levite: Heb. the man the Levite

I came: Judges 19:15-28

Reciprocal: Joshua 18:28 - Gibeath Hosea 5:8 - Gibeah

Verse 5

And the men: Judges 19:22

beset: Genesis 19:4-8

and my concubine: Judges 19:25, Judges 19:26

forced: Heb. humbled, Deuteronomy 22:24, Ezekiel 22:10, Ezekiel 22:11

Reciprocal: Joshua 18:28 - Gibeath Judges 19:28 - But none 2 Samuel 13:14 - forced her Hosea 10:9 - from

Verse 6

cut her: Judges 19:29

folly in Israel: Judges 20:10, Judges 19:23, Genesis 34:7, Joshua 7:15, 2 Samuel 13:12, 2 Samuel 13:13

Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 22:21 - she hath wrought Ezekiel 22:9 - they commit

Verse 7

ye are all: Exodus 19:5, Exodus 19:6, Deuteronomy 4:6, Deuteronomy 14:1, Deuteronomy 14:2, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 5:6, 1 Corinthians 5:10-12

give here: Judges 19:30, Joshua 9:14, Proverbs 20:18, Proverbs 24:6, James 1:5

Reciprocal: Judges 19:29 - divided her Judges 20:18 - asked Job 34:4 - choose

Verse 8

as one man: Judges 20:1, Judges 20:11

We will not: Judges 21:1, Judges 21:5, Proverbs 21:3, Ecclesiastes 9:10

Reciprocal: 2 Kings 3:11 - that we may Nehemiah 8:1 - as one man

Verse 9

by lot against it: Joshua 14:2, 1 Samuel 14:41, 1 Samuel 14:42, 1 Chronicles 24:5, Nehemiah 11:1, Proverbs 16:33, Jonah 1:7, Acts 1:26

Verse 10

ten thousand: or, myriad, Genesis 24:60

Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 22:21 - she hath wrought Judges 20:6 - folly in Israel Judges 21:1 - had sworn Nehemiah 11:1 - one of ten Jonah 1:7 - and let

Verse 11

Reciprocal: Judges 20:1 - Then all Judges 20:8 - as one man 1 Samuel 18:1 - the soul of Jonathan

Verse 12

sent men: Deuteronomy 13:14, Deuteronomy 20:10, Joshua 22:13-16, Matthew 18:15-18, Romans 12:18

Verse 13

deliver: 2 Samuel 20:21, 2 Samuel 20:22

children of Belial: Judges 19:22, Deuteronomy 13:13, 1 Samuel 30:22, 2 Samuel 20:1, 2 Samuel 23:6, 1 Kings 21:13, 2 Chronicles 13:7

put away: Deuteronomy 17:7, Deuteronomy 17:12, Deuteronomy 19:19, Deuteronomy 21:21, Deuteronomy 22:21, Deuteronomy 22:24, Deuteronomy 24:7, Ecclesiastes 11:10

would not: 1 Samuel 2:25, 2 Chronicles 25:16, 2 Chronicles 25:20, Proverbs 29:1, Hosea 9:9, Hosea 10:9, Romans 1:32, Revelation 18:4, Revelation 18:5, The conduct of the Israelites was very equitable in this demand; but perhaps the rulers or elders of Gibeah ought previously to have been applied to, to deliver up the criminals to justice. However, the refusal of the Benjamites, and their protection of those who had committed this horrible wickedness, because they were of their own tribe, prove them to have been deeply corrupted, and - all their advantages considered as ripe for divine vengeance as the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah had been. Confiding in their own valour and military skill, they seen to have first prepared for battle in this unequal contest with such superior numbers.

Verse 14

Numbers 20:20, Numbers 21:23, 2 Chronicles 13:13, Job 15:25, Job 15:26

Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 10:26 - Gibeah Hosea 10:9 - from

Verse 15

twenty: Judges 20:25, Judges 20:35, Judges 20:46, Judges 20:47, Numbers 26:41

Reciprocal: Judges 8:10 - fell an hundred Judges 20:22 - encouraged

Verse 16

lefthanded: Itter yad yemeeno, "obstructed in his right hand;" so the Chaldee Targum, gemid beedaih deyammeena, contracted or impeded in his right hand." Lev. Clerc observes, that the 700 men left-handed seem therefore to have been made slingers, because they could not use the right hand, which is employed in managing heavier arms; and they could discharge the stones from the sling in a direction against which their opponents were not upon their guard, and thus do the greater execution. Judges 3:15, 1 Chronicles 12:2

sling stones: The sling was a very ancient warlike instrument; and, in the hands of those who were skilled in the use of it, produced astonishing effects. The inhabitants of the islands of Baleares, now Majorca and Minorca, were the most celebrated slingers of antiquity. They did not permit their children to break their fast, till they had struck down the bread they had to eat from the top of a pole, or some distant eminence. Vegetius tells us, that slingers could in general hit the mark at 600 feet distance. 1 Samuel 17:40, 1 Samuel 17:49, 1 Samuel 17:50, 1 Samuel 25:29, 2 Chronicles 26:14

Verse 17

four hundred: Judges 20:2, Numbers 1:46, Numbers 26:51, 1 Samuel 11:8, 1 Samuel 15:4, 1 Chronicles 21:5, 2 Chronicles 17:14-18

Reciprocal: Judges 8:10 - fell an hundred Judges 20:22 - encouraged Hosea 10:9 - the battle

Verse 18

house of: Judges 18:31, Judges 19:18, Joshua 18:1, Joel 1:14

asked: Judges 20:7, Judges 20:23, Judges 20:26, Judges 20:27, Judges 1:1, Numbers 27:5, Numbers 27:21, Joshua 9:14

Judah: Judges 1:1, Judges 1:2, Genesis 49:8-10

Reciprocal: Exodus 28:30 - General Judges 20:1 - unto the Judges 21:2 - the house Judges 21:12 - virgins 1 Samuel 10:22 - inquired 1 Samuel 14:18 - Bring hither 1 Samuel 14:37 - Shall I go 1 Samuel 30:8 - inquired 1 Kings 22:5 - Inquire 2 Kings 3:11 - that we may Proverbs 20:18 - and

Verse 19

rose up: Joshua 3:1, Joshua 6:12, Joshua 7:16

Verse 21

the children: Genesis 49:27, Hosea 10:9

destroyed: Deuteronomy 23:9, 2 Chronicles 28:10, Psalms 33:16, Psalms 73:18, Psalms 73:19, Psalms 77:19, Ecclesiastes 9:1-3, Jeremiah 12:1

Reciprocal: Judges 20:25 - destroyed

Verse 22

encouraged: Judges 20:15, Judges 20:17, 1 Samuel 30:6, 2 Samuel 11:25, Psalms 64:5

Verse 23

wept: Judges 20:26, Judges 20:27, Psalms 78:34-36, Hosea 5:15

And the: It seems most evident that the Israelites did not seek the protection of God. When they "went to the house of God," - Judges 20:18, it was not to enquire concerning the expediency of the war, nor of its success, but which of the tribes should begin the attack, and here the question is, "Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?" Having so much right on their side, they had no doubt of the justice of their cause, and the propriety of their conduct; and having such a superiority of numbers, they had no doubt of success. But God humbled them, and delivered them into the hands of their enemies; and shewed them that the race was not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.

Reciprocal: Genesis 33:9 - my brother Exodus 28:30 - General Numbers 27:21 - he shall Joshua 7:6 - until the eventide Judges 21:2 - the house Judges 21:6 - repented them Judges 21:12 - virgins 1 Samuel 10:22 - inquired 1 Samuel 14:18 - Bring hither 1 Samuel 30:8 - inquired 1 Kings 22:5 - Inquire 2 Kings 3:11 - that we may Proverbs 20:18 - and

Verse 25

destroyed: Judges 20:21, Genesis 18:25, Job 9:12, Job 9:13, Psalms 97:2, Romans 2:5, Romans 3:5, Romans 11:33

Reciprocal: Genesis 49:27 - a wolf Judges 8:10 - fell an hundred Judges 20:15 - twenty

Verse 26

all the children: Judges 20:18, Judges 20:23

wept: 1 Samuel 7:6, 2 Chronicles 20:3, Ezra 8:21, Ezra 9:4, Ezra 9:5, Joel 1:14, Joel 2:12-18, Jonah 3:5-10

Reciprocal: Leviticus 3:1 - a sacrifice Numbers 27:21 - he shall Deuteronomy 23:9 - General Joshua 7:6 - until the eventide Judges 21:2 - the house 2 Samuel 3:35 - till the 2 Kings 3:11 - that we may 2 Kings 22:19 - wept Nehemiah 9:1 - children Proverbs 20:18 - and

Verse 27

inquired: Judges 20:18, Judges 20:23, Numbers 27:21

the ark: Joshua 18:1, 1 Samuel 4:3, 1 Samuel 4:4, Psalms 78:60, Psalms 78:61, Jeremiah 7:12, The loss of two battles at length brought this stiff-necked people to enquire of the Lord; for all the company at this time met at Shiloh, and kept a day of fasting and prayer with great earnestness and solemnity. "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear." Isaiah 59:1

Reciprocal: Exodus 25:22 - and I will Exodus 28:30 - General Numbers 10:33 - the ark Deuteronomy 20:2 - General 1 Samuel 14:18 - Bring hither 1 Chronicles 15:29 - as the ark Jeremiah 21:2 - Inquire John 11:51 - being

Verse 28

Phinehas: It is evident, from this mention of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, that these transactions must have taken place not long after the death of Joshua. Numbers 25:7-13, Joshua 22:13, Joshua 22:30-32, Joshua 24:33

stood: Deuteronomy 10:8, Deuteronomy 18:5

Shall I yet: Joshua 7:7, 1 Samuel 14:37, 1 Samuel 23:4-12, 1 Samuel 30:8, 2 Samuel 5:19-24, 2 Samuel 6:3, 2 Samuel 6:7-12, Proverbs 3:5, Proverbs 3:6, Jeremiah 10:23

Go up: Judges 1:2, Judges 7:9, 2 Chronicles 20:17

Reciprocal: Exodus 6:25 - Phinehas Exodus 28:30 - General Deuteronomy 20:2 - General Joshua 9:14 - asked not Joshua 11:6 - morrow Judges 1:1 - asked 1 Samuel 10:22 - inquired 1 Samuel 14:18 - Bring hither 1 Chronicles 6:4 - Phinehas Ezra 7:5 - Phinehas John 11:51 - being

Verse 29

Israel: Though God had promised them success, they knew they could expect it only by the use of proper means. Hence they used all prudent precaution, and employed all their military skill.

liers: Judges 20:34, Joshua 8:4, 2 Samuel 5:23

Reciprocal: Joshua 8:2 - lay thee 1 Kings 22:5 - Inquire Nehemiah 4:11 - They shall not

Verse 31

drawn: Joshua 8:14-16

smite of the people, and kill, as at: Heb. smite of the people wounded as at, etc

the house of God: or, Beth-el, Gibeah. Judges 19:13, Judges 19:14, Isaiah 10:29

thirty: Joshua 7:5

Reciprocal: Joshua 8:5 - that we will Joshua 8:16 - drawn away Judges 20:39 - And when

Verse 32

Let us flee: This was done, not only because they had placed an ambuscade behind Gibeah, which was to enter and burn the city as soon as the Benjamites left it; but it would seem, that the slingers, by being within the city and its fortifications, had great advantage over the Israelites by their slings, when they could not come among them with their swords, unless they got them in the plain country. Joshua 8:15, Joshua 8:16

Reciprocal: Joshua 8:6 - They flee 2 Samuel 17:9 - some

Verse 33

rose up: Joshua 8:18-22

put themselves: There appear to have been three divisions of the Israelitish army: one at Baal-tamar - which was situated, says Eusebius, near Gibeah a second behind the city in ambush; and a third, who skirmished with the Benjamites before Gibeah.

Reciprocal: Joshua 8:4 - lie in wait 2 Samuel 17:9 - he is hid 2 Chronicles 13:14 - looked back

Verse 34

ten thousand: Judges 20:29

knew not: Joshua 8:14, Job 21:13, Proverbs 4:19, Proverbs 29:6, Ecclesiastes 8:11, Ecclesiastes 8:12, Ecclesiastes 9:12, Isaiah 3:10, Isaiah 3:11, Isaiah 47:11, Matthew 24:44, Luke 21:34, Luke 21:34, 1 Thessalonians 5:3

Reciprocal: Matthew 24:39 - General

Verse 35

twenty: Judges 20:15, Judges 20:44-46, Job 20:5, Though the numbers of the Israelites were immensely superior to those of Benjamin, though the stratagem was well laid and ingeniously executed, and the battle bravely fought, yet the inspired historian ascribes the victory to the hand of the Lord, as entirely as if he had smitten the Benjamites by a miracle.

Reciprocal: Judges 8:10 - fell an hundred Judges 20:46 - twenty Psalms 68:27 - little

Verse 36

for the men: Joshua 8:15-29

Reciprocal: Joshua 8:4 - lie in wait Joshua 8:16 - called together

Verse 37

the liers in wait hasted: Joshua 8:19

drew themselves along: or, made a long sound with the trumpets, Exodus 19:13, Joshua 6:5

Verse 38

Now there: From this verse to the end of the chapter, we have the details of the same operations which are mentioned, in a general way, in the preceding verses of this chapter.

sign: or, time, Genesis 17:21, 2 Kings 4:16, *marg.

and: Heb. with

flame: Heb. elevation

Reciprocal: Joel 2:30 - pillars

Verse 39

And when: Judges 20:31

smite and kill: Heb. smite the wounded

Verse 40

a pillar: Genesis 19:28, Song of Solomon 3:6, Joel 2:30, Revelation 19:3

looked: Joshua 8:20

flame: Heb. whole consumption

Reciprocal: 2 Kings 3:24 - smote the 2 Kings 6:20 - opened

Verse 41

were amazed: Exodus 15:9, Exodus 15:10, Isaiah 13:8, Isaiah 13:9, Isaiah 33:14, Luke 17:27, Luke 17:28, Luke 21:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:3, 2 Peter 2:12, Revelation 6:15-17, Revelation 18:8-10

was come upon them: Heb. touched them

Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 13:6 - in a strait

Verse 42

the battle: Lamentations 1:3, Hosea 9:9, Hosea 10:9

Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 10:9 - General 1 Chronicles 19:10 - set against 1 Thessalonians 5:3 - then

Verse 43

enclosed: Joshua 8:20-22

with ease: or, from Menuchah, etc

over against: Heb. unto over against

Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 10:9 - General 2 Kings 7:17 - the people trode upon him 1 Chronicles 19:10 - set against

Verse 44

Reciprocal: Numbers 1:37 - General Judges 20:35 - twenty

Verse 45

Rimmon: Joshua 15:32, 1 Chronicles 6:77, Zechariah 14:10

Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 14:2 - a pomegranate

Verse 46

twenty: Judges 20:15, Judges 20:35

Reciprocal: Judges 8:10 - fell an hundred 1 Samuel 9:21 - a Benjamite

Verse 47

six hundred: Judges 21:13, Psalms 103:9, Psalms 103:10, Isaiah 1:9, Jeremiah 14:7, Lamentations 3:32, Habakkuk 3:2, rock of Rimmon, The rock Rimmon was doubtless a strong place; but it is uncertain where situated. It is probable however, that it was near, and took its name from, the village of Remmon, mentioned by Eusebius, fifteen miles north from Jerusalem. It appears that rocks are still resorted to in the East, as places of security; and some of them are even capable of sustaining a siege. Deut. Lam. Roque says, that "The Grand Seignior, wishing to seize the person of the emir - Fakr-eddin, prince of the Druses gave orders to the pacha to take him prisoner: he accordingly came in search of him, with a new army, in the district of Chouf, which is part of mount Lebanon, wherein is the village of Gesin, and close to it, the rock which served for a retreat to the emir. It is named in Arabic, Magara Gesin, i.e., the cavern of Gessin, by which name it is famous. The pacha pressed the emir so closely, that this unfortunate prince was obliged to shut himself up in the cleft of a great rock, with a small number of his officers. The pacha besieged him there several months; and was going to blow up the rock by a mine, when the emir capitulated.

Reciprocal: Judges 20:15 - twenty Judges 21:14 - sufficed them not Zechariah 14:10 - Rimmon

Verse 48

smote them: Deuteronomy 13:15-17, 2 Chronicles 25:13, 2 Chronicles 28:6-9, Proverbs 18:19

came to hand: Heb. was found

they came to: Heb. were found

Reciprocal: Judges 21:23 - repaired

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Judges 20". "Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsk/judges-20.html.