Bible Commentaries
Judges 19

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

Verse 1


1. In those days When Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was high priest, (Judges 20:28;) consequently, not long after the days of Joshua.

Sojourning on… mount Ephraim So that he was in the same vicinity where Micah dwelt. Judges 17:1.

A concubine A wife of second rank, who had no other rights than those of cohabitation and subsistence, and even then the husband could send her away with a small present, as Abraham did Hagar. Genesis 21:14. The practice is condemned by New Testament ethics, but by this standard we are not to judge the examples of Nahor, (Genesis 22:24,) Abraham, (Genesis 25:6,) Jacob, (Genesis 30:3; Genesis 35:22,) and other of the Old Testament worthies. The Law of Moses made provision for concubinage; but even its regulations touching man and wife were set aside by our Lord, and treated as a politic measure, in view of the hardness of the people’s hearts. Matthew 19:8.

Verse 2

2. Played the whore Dr. Clarke, on the authority of Josephus and several of the ancient versions, understands that they had contentions, and, being alienated in her affections from her husband, she ran away, and went home to her father’s house; but the Hebrew word here used ever means a criminal act of conjugal infidelity.

Verse 3

3. To speak friendly unto her Literally, to speak to her heart. “To conciliate her affection, to rekindle her tenderness, to whisper forgiveness to her, and to implore her to return to the home she had left desolate. He had, perhaps, heard that she was penitent; for the phrase often denotes the giving of comfort to one who is in sorrow.” Kitto.

Rejoiced to meet him To meet him on such an errand, for he might have come not to speak friendly to her, but to scourge her for her crime of conjugal infidelity. Leviticus 19:20.

Verse 8

8. Until afternoon Literally, until the declining of the day. “All the painful results grew out of this detention and late setting out, and may help, if every day did not supply lessons enough, to teach us the danger and weakness of allowing our better judgment to be overcome by even the kind importunities of others.” Kitto.

Verse 10

10. Jebus The ancient name of Jerusalem. See at Joshua 15:63, and chap. Judges 1:21. This was a journey of about two hours north of Beth-lehem.

Verse 13

13. In Gibeah, or in Ramah Cities of Benjamin lying northward from Jerusalem, one about an hour, the other two hours, or more, distant. See Joshua 18:25; Joshua 18:28.

Verse 15

15. He sat him down in a street of the city This, we are told by Orientalists, is a way of making known one’s want of entertainment, and is a custom still existing in the East. Usually one is allowed to wait but a little while in such a place.

For there was no man that took them Rather, And no man took them. This implies that the inhabitants of that town were wilfully inhospitable. It was a reproach to them that they allowed a wayfaring man to wait so long in a street of their city before entertainment was offered him, and Judges 19:18 implies that the Levite himself felt misused.

Verse 19

19. Straw… provender… bread… wine “This shows that the Israelites did then, as the Orientals do now, take with them the provisions for themselves and beasts that they required during a journey, replenishing their stores from time to time when they came to a town that could supply them. The straw was chopped straw, used in the East instead of hay; and the provender barley. This is carried in hair bags, something like the mouth-bags of our horses, but of larger size.” Kitto.

Verse 21

21. Washed their feet One of the most ancient usages of Eastern hospitality, (Genesis 18:4; Genesis 19:2,) being regarded as a mark of respect to a guest, and of kind attention on the part of the host.

Verse 22

22. Making their hearts merry By eating, drinking, and conversation. This indicates the warmth and cheer of ancient friendship and hospitality.

Sons of Belial Low, lewd, worthless fellows, such as their conduct showed them to be. See note on 1 Samuel 1:16.

Bring forth the man Most shameful and impudent demand, the revived voice of wicked Sodom. Compare Genesis 19:1-11.

That we may know him “These,” says Clarke, “were genuine Sodomites as to their practice; rascals and miscreants of the deepest dye; worse than brutes, being a compound of beast and devil inseparably blended.”

Verse 24

24. Humble ye them This was a proposition most shocking to our Christian instincts, but far less revolting, though not blameless, in that ancient time. It was a thing that had not occurred before in Israel. The fact here related shows how degraded was woman’s condition even in ancient Israel. She was regarded principally as the object meant for man to gratify his sensual lust upon, and held well nigh the position of a slave to him. But was it strange when, even now, in Japan and other lands, it is a common custom for parents to sell their daughters to persons to be subjected to lives of prostitution? A Christian lady, writing from Yokohama, Japan, in August, 1871, says: “In the suburbs of this city my friend pointed out to me a square of native houses in which, he told me, the licensed prostitution of the city is carried on. The victims are the fairest, choicest young girls of the place. They are sold by their parents, and the more beautiful they are, the higher price they command. From eight hundred to a thousand were confined in that square; and this is only what is found in every city in this land.”

Verse 29

29. Together with her bones Rather, According to her bones, that is, severing her limbs, as he would those of an animal, according to the joints of the bones.

Twelve pieces One for each tribe in Israel. Compare Saul’s similar act in 1 Samuel 11:7.

Sent her into all the coasts The messengers who bore these pieces doubtless told the shocking story in all the coasts through which they passed.

Verse 30

30. No such deed done nor seen It has its only parallel in the history of ancient Sodom, long before Israel’s exodus from the land of Egypt. Compare Genesis 19:1-11.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Judges 19". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.