Judges 20:4-7: The Levite's Complaint against Gibeah

Verse 4:[1] And the Levite (Heb. the man the Levite[2]), the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, (Judg. 19:15) I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge.


The Levite; to whose relation the other two gave their consent.


Verse 5:[3] (Judg. 19:22) And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: (Judg. 19:25, 26) and my concubine have they forced (Heb. humbled[4]), that she is dead.



[Desiring to kill me, אוֹתִי֙ דִּמּ֣וּ לַהֲרֹ֔ג] Me they thought (wished [Arabic], had proposed to themselves [Junius and Tremellius], imagined [Junius], were showing themselves to desire [Tigurinus]) to kill (Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Pagnine, Montanus), that is, to abuse me by their wrongheaded lust unto death (Vatablus). To kill, suppose, unless I had gratified their lust: but I preferred death, rather than to endure that crime: σεμνὸς λόγος, a dignified statement (Junius, Piscator).


Thought to have slain me; except I would either submit to their unnatural lust, which I was resolved to withstand even unto death; or deliver up my concubine to them, which I was forced to do.



Verse 6:[5] And (Judg. 19:29) I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they (Josh. 7:15) have committed lewdness and folly in Israel.


[Crime, וּנְבָלָה] Foolishness (Malvenda). Folly, or a foolish deed. It is generally accommodated to a crime that is contrary to public honesty, and has filthiness and shame adjoined (Bonfrerius).


Lewdness and folly: that is, A lewd folly; most ignominious and impudent wickedness.


Verse 7:[6] Behold, ye are all children of Israel; (Judg. 19:30) give here your advice and counsel.

[Ye are all here, O children of Israel] Hebrew: behold, all ye are the children of Israel.[7] That is to say, This injury does not touch me alone, but the entire republic of Israel (Malvenda out of Junius).



Children of Israel; the sons of that holy man, who for one filthy action left all eternal brand upon one of his own sons; a people in covenant with the holy God, whose honour you are obliged to vindicate, and who hath expressly commanded you to punish all such notorious enormities.


[Determine, etc.] Hebrew: Give for yourselves (or, bring forth from yourselves [Munster]) word and counsel here[8] (Montanus). Communicate among yourselves, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). The לָכֶם, for yourselves, is superfluous; that is, Pass judgment, and give counsel (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּ֜עַן הָאִ֣ישׁ הַלֵּוִ֗י אִ֛ישׁ הָאִשָּׁ֥ה הַנִּרְצָחָ֖ה וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הַגִּבְעָ֙תָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לְבִנְיָמִ֔ן בָּ֛אתִי אֲנִ֥י וּפִֽילַגְשִׁ֖י לָלֽוּן׃


[2] Hebrew: הָאִ֣ישׁ הַלֵּוִ֗י.


[3] Hebrew: וַיָּקֻ֤מוּ עָלַי֙ בַּעֲלֵ֣י הַגִּבְעָ֔ה וַיָּסֹ֧בּוּ עָלַ֛י אֶת־הַבַּ֖יִת לָ֑יְלָה אוֹתִי֙ דִּמּ֣וּ לַהֲרֹ֔ג וְאֶת־פִּילַגְשִׁ֥י עִנּ֖וּ וַתָּמֹֽת׃


[4] Hebrew: עִנּוּ.


[5] Hebrew: וָֽאֹחֵ֤ז בְּפִֽילַגְשִׁי֙ וָֽאֲנַתְּחֶ֔הָ וָֽאֲשַׁלְּחֶ֔הָ בְּכָל־שְׂדֵ֖ה נַחֲלַ֣ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כִּ֥י עָשׂ֛וּ זִמָּ֥ה וּנְבָלָ֖ה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃


[6] Hebrew: הִנֵּ֥ה כֻלְּכֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל הָב֥וּ לָכֶ֛ם דָּבָ֥ר וְעֵצָ֖ה הֲלֹֽם׃


[7] Hebrew: הִנֵּ֥ה כֻלְּכֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל.


[8] Hebrew: הָב֥וּ לָכֶ֛ם דָּבָ֥ר וְעֵצָ֖ה הֲלֹֽם׃.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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