Judges 21

1 The people bewail the desolation of Benjamin.

8 By the destruction of Jabesh-gilead they provide them four hundred wives.

16 They advise the remainder to surprise the virgins that danced at Shiloh.

had sworn.

20:1,8,10; Jer 4:2


5; 11:30,31; 1Sa 14:24,28,29; Ec 5:2; Mr 6:23; Ac 23:12; Ro 10:2

his daughter.

Ex 34:12-16; De 7:2,3

the house.

12; 20:18,23,26; Jos 18:1


2:4; Ge 27:38; 1Sa 30:4

why is.

De 29:24; Jos 7:7-9; Ps 74:1; 80:12; Pr 19:3; Isa 63:17; Jer 12:1

rose early.

Ps 78:34,35; Ho 5:15

built there.

6:26; Ex 20:24,25; 2Sa 24:18,25; 1Ki 8:64; Heb 13:10

a great oath.

1,18; 5:23; Le 27:28,29; 1Sa 11:7; Jer 48:10

repented them.

15; 11:35; 20:23; 2Sa 2:26; Ho 11:8; Lu 19:41,42


1,18; 1Sa 14:28,29,45

Jabesh-gilead.This place, as its name imports, was situated in Gilead, east of Jordan. Eusebius and Jerome say it was a great town in their time, standing upon a hill, six miles south from Pella, in the way to Geresa, now Djerash. The Wady Yabes, mentioned by Burckhardt, which empties itself into the Jordan, in the neighbourhood of Bisan or Beth-shan (see 1 Sa 31:11,) and upon which Pella was situated, (celebrated by Pliny, 1. v. c. 18, for its fine waters,) seems to have taken its name from Jabesh. Near this spot, we must therefore look for its site; and the place called Kalaat Rabbad seems to correspond, very nearly, to the spot; though it probably still retains among the Arabs its ancient name.

1Sa 11:1-3; 31:11-13; 2Sa 2:5,6


Go and smite.As they had sworn to destroy those who would not assist in the war (ver. 5,) they determined to destroy the men of Jabesh, and to leave none except the virgins; and to give these to the 600 Benjamites who had escaped to the rock of Rimmon. The whole account is dreadful. The crime of the men of Gibeah was of the deepest dye; the punishment involving both the guilty and innocent, was extended to the most criminal excess, and their mode of remedying the evil they had occasioned was equally abominable.

5; 5:23; De 13:15; Jos 7:24; 1Sa 11:7; 15:3

every male.

Nu 31:17,18; De 2:34

hath lain by man. Heb. knoweth the lying with man.

virgins. Heb. women, virgins. Shiloh.

20:18,23; Jos 18:1; Ps 78:60; Jer 7:12

to speak. Heb. and spake and called. the rock Rimmon.

20:47; Jos 15:32

call peaceably. or, proclaim peace.

De 20:10; Isa 57:19; Lu 10:5; Eph 2:17

sufficed them not.

12; 20:47; 1Co 7:2



a breach.

1Ch 13:11; 15:13; Isa 30:13; 58:12


an inheritance.

Nu 26:55; 36:7


1; 11:35

a feast.

Ex 23:14-16; Le 23:2,4,6,10,34; Nu 10:10; 28:16,26; 29:12

De 16:1,10,13; Ps 81:3; Joh 5:1; 7:2

yearly. Heb. from year to year. on the east side. or,toward the sun rising. of the highway. or, on. Lebonah. Maundrell supposes, that either Khan Leban, which is situated on the eastern side of a "delicious vale," four leagues south from Shechem, and two leagues north from Bethel, or the village of Leban, which is on the opposite side, occupies the site of the ancient Lebonah. It is eight hours, or about 24 miles, from Jerusalem, according to Dr. Richardson.



11:34; Ex 15:20; 1Sa 18:6; 2Sa 6:14,21; Ps 149:3; 150:4; Ec 3:4

Jer 31:13; Mt 10:17; Lu 17:25

Be favourable unto them. or, Gratify us in them.

Phm 1:9-12

each man.

14; Ge 1:27; 7:13; Mr 10:6-8; 1Co 7:2

give unto.

1,7,18; Pr 20:25

and they went.It appears that the Benjamites acted in the most honourable way to the women they had thus violently carried off, and we may rest assured, that they took them to an inheritance more than equal to their own. But this transaction, as well as the indiscriminate massacre of the people of Jabesh-gilead, as Dr. Gray observes, was certainly stamped with injustice and cruelty; and must be condemned on those principles which the Scriptures elsewhere furnish.





17:6; 18:1; 19:1


18:7; De 12:8; Ps 12:4; Pr 3:5; 14:12; Ec 11:9; Mic 2:1,2 CONCLUDING REMARKS ON THE BOOK OF JUDGES. The book of Judges forms an important link in the history of the Israelites. It furnishes us with a lively description of a fluctuating and unsettled nation; a striking picture of the disorders and dangers which prevailed in a republic without magistracy; when "the high-ways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through by-ways," (ch. 5:6;) when few prophets were appointed to control the people, and "every one did that which was right in his own eyes." (ch. 17:6.) It exhibits the contest of true religion with superstition; and displays the beneficial effects that flow from the former, and the miseries and evil consequences of impiety. It is a most remarkable history of the long-suffering of God towards the Israelites, in which we see the most signal instances of his justice and mercy alternately displayed: the people sinned, and were punished; they repented, and found mercy. These things are written for our warning: none should presume, for God is just; none need despair, for God is merciful. Independently of the internal evidence of the authenticity of this sacred book, the transactions it records are not only cited or alluded to by other inspired writers, but are further confirmed by the traditions current among heathen nations.
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