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Judges 20:22-25: The Second Battle at Gibeah

Verse 22:[1] And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day.

[Again, the children of Israel, etc., וַיִּתְחַזֵּ֥ק הָעָ֖ם אִ֣ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל] And took courage, or, strengthened himself, the people, a man of Israel[2] (Pagnine, Montanus, Jonathan), or, the people of the men of Israel (Munster) [similarly all].

Encouraged themselves; Hebrew, strengthened themselves; partly by supporting themselves with the conscience of the justice of their cause, and the hopes of success; and partly by putting themselves in better order for defending themselves, and annoying their enemies. In the place where they put themselves in array the first day; hereby showing their freedom from that heathenish superstition, whereby they might have been apt to have rejected that as an unlucky place. Compare 1 Kings 20:23, 28.

Verse 23:[3] ([Judg. 20:26, 27] And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him.)

[In such a way that they first went up, etc.] Hebrew: and he went up,[4] etc. (Malvenda, Munster). When they, going up, had wept, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). Now, they had gone up, etc. (Tigurinus).

Went up and wept; not so much for their sins as for their defeat and loss, as appears by the sequel.

[Ought I to proceed further? הַאוֹסִ֗יף לָגֶ֙שֶׁת֙ לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה] Should I add (that is, proceed [Piscator]) to approach to battle, etc.? (Montanus, Vatablus, Piscator). They still do not ask concerning help and victory, but, as if it were certainly in their hands to overcome, they only ask whether it is permitted to fight: for which reason the Lord does not promise them victory, but He only grants permission to them, if they should so choose, to fight (Osiander).

[Against…Benjamin, my brethren] That is to say, Whether the war was so disagreeable, because it was undertaken against brethren? Thus they were not yet fighting in faith (Junius).

Against the children of Benjamin my brother; they impute their ill success not to their own sins, as they had great reason to do, but to their taking up arms against their brethren, the lawfulness whereof they now begin to doubt of. But still they persist in their former neglect of seeking God’s assistance in the way which he had appointed, as they themselves acknowledge presently, by doing those very things which now they sinfully neglected, verse 26, and therefore are again justly punished. Go up against him: God answers to their question; but as they did not desire his assistance and success, so he doth not promise it.

Verse 24:[5] And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.

Verse 25:[6] And (Judg. 20:25) Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּתְחַזֵּ֥ק הָעָ֖ם אִ֣ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיֹּסִ֙פוּ֙ לַעֲרֹ֣ךְ מִלְחָמָ֔ה בַּמָּק֕וֹם אֲשֶׁר־עָ֥רְכוּ שָׁ֖ם בַּיּ֥וֹם הָרִאשֽׁוֹן׃

[2] A woodenly literalistic rendering.

[3] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲל֣וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וַיִּבְכּ֣וּ לִפְנֵֽי־יְהוָה֮ עַד־הָעֶרֶב֒ וַיִּשְׁאֲל֤וּ בַֽיהוָה֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר הַאוֹסִ֗יף לָגֶ֙שֶׁת֙ לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה עִם־בְּנֵ֥י בִנְיָמִ֖ן אָחִ֑י וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוָ֖ה עֲל֥וּ אֵלָֽיו׃

[4] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲלוּ.

[5] Hebrew: וַיִּקְרְב֧וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י בִנְיָמִ֖ן בַּיּ֥וֹם הַשֵּׁנִֽי׃

[6] Hebrew: וַיֵּצֵא֩ בִנְיָמִ֙ן׀ לִקְרָאתָ֥ם׀ מִֽן־הַגִּבְעָה֮ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשֵּׁנִי֒ וַיַּשְׁחִיתוּ֩ בִבְנֵ֙י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל ע֗וֹד שְׁמֹנַ֙ת עָשָׂ֥ר אֶ֛לֶף אִ֖ישׁ אָ֑רְצָה כָּל־אֵ֖לֶּה שֹׁ֥לְפֵי חָֽרֶב׃

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 20, 2019

Matthew Henry: 'Before their second engagement they again asked counsel of God, and more solemnly than before; for they wept before the Lord until evening (Judges 20:23), lamenting the loss of so many brave men, especially as it was a token of God's displeasure and would give occasion to the Benjamites to triumph in the success of their wickedness. Also at this time they did not ask who should go up first, but whether they should go up at all. They intimate a reason why they should scruple to do it, especially now that Providence had frowned upon them, because Benjamin was their brother, and a readiness to lay down their arms if God should so order them. God bad…


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 20, 2019

Hebrew Highlights: No particular difficulties today.

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