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Judges 20:3: Israel's Inquiry into the Evil in Their Midst

Updated: May 5, 2019

Verse 3:[1] (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness?



[It was not hidden from the children of Benjamin] Hebrew: and they heard,[2] etc., understanding, and yet they cared not at all (Vatablus).


The children of Benjamin heard; like persons unconcerned and resolved, they neither went nor sent thither; partly, from their own pride, and stubbornness, and self-confidence; partly, because as they were loth to give up any of their brethren to justice, so they presumed the other tribes would never proceed to a war against them; and partly, from a Divine infatuation hardening that wicked tribe to their own destruction.



[And the Levite was asked, etc., וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל דַּבְּר֕וּ וגו״] And the children of Israel said, Speak ye (Montanus, similarly the Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic). But others: And they said, Sons, or, O sons, of Israel, speak ye, etc. (Tigurinus, Munster out of Kimchi). The Israelites were saying, etc., that is, With legates sent, they were summoning Benjamin, and they had ordered him to explain his behavior (Junius). Rather, they were saying, namely, to the Levite and his servant: as it is evident, 1. from the coherence of the following verse; 2. from verse 12; 3. from this, that the first opportunities to speak at trial are given to the accuser (Piscator).


Tell us; the verb is of the plural number, because they speak to the Levite, and his servant, and his host, who doubtless were present upon this occasion.

[1] Hebrew: וַֽיִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י בִנְיָמִ֔ן כִּֽי־עָל֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל הַמִּצְפָּ֑ה וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל דַּבְּר֕וּ אֵיכָ֥ה נִהְיְתָ֖ה הָרָעָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת׃


[2] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 04, 2019


Matthew Henry: 'Notice given to the tribe of Benjamin of this meeting (Judges 20:3): They heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpeh. Probably they had a legal summons sent them to appear with their brethren, that the cause might be fairly debated, before any resolutions were taken up upon it, and so the mischiefs that followed would have been happily prevented; but the notice they had of this meeting rather hardened and exasperated them than awakened them to think of the things that belonged to their peace and honour....


A solemn examination of the crime charged upon the men of Gibeah. A very horrid representation of it had been made by the report of the messengers…

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 04, 2019

Hebrew Highlights: There are no particular difficulties here. Enjoy.

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