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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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