FROM DAN: Impl the Danite migration of Jdg 18 had
already taken place.
AS ONE MAN: Cp vv 8,11. And see 1Sa 11:7: Israel did
not act in unison until time of Samuel, approx 300 years later.
ASSEMBLY: "Ekklesia" in LXX.
MEN: "Baaleh": the lords of Gibeah, not the low
They made plans without asking God -- always a fatal mistake.
(It was assumed that only 10% of available men would be sufficient for
WE'LL TAKE TEN MEN OUT OF EVERY HUNDRED... [TO] GIVE THEM
WHAT THEY DESERVE FOR ALL THIS VILENESS DONE IN ISRAEL: "It was anticipated
that one tenth of the nation would suffice to bring home to the men of Benjamin,
and Gibeah especially, the seriousness of their crime. This is the proper
meaning of v 10 which should probably read: 'And we will take ten men of an
hundred... for the pursuit on behalf of the people, they may do, when they come
to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in
"It is worthwhile, here, to observe the close connection
between this narrative in Jdg 20 and Deu 13, the chapter which sets out the
stringent measures to be taken against any Israelitish city encouraging
idolatry. It is true that idolatry was not Gibeah's sin, but the difference in
degree from such apostasy was negligible, for the Gibeathite practices were
closely akin to Amorite religious customs (Deu 23:17,18). There can be little
doubt that the leaders of Israel were consciously following the very policy
prescribed in these words of Moses: 'If thou shalt hear say in one of thy
cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, Certain
men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the
inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have
not known; then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and,
behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought
among you; thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of
the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle
thereof, with the edge of the sword. And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it
into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all
the spoil thereof every whit, for the Lord thy God: and it shall be an heap for
ever; it shall not be built again' (Deu 13:12-16).
"It is therefore hardly wise to make sweeping denunciations of
the men of Israel here in what was, after all, a sincere attempt to apply the
difficult and unpalatable (v 23) requirements of their divine law"
Vv 18-25: 40,000 Israelites die, no doubt because all the
nation shares responsibility for the act of Benjamin.