Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel,
&c.] And fled from them:
unto the way of the wilderness;
what wilderness is not certain, perhaps the wilderness of Judah; they did not turn directly back towards Gibeah, perceiving that was taken, and in the hands of a body of men that would meet them, and therefore they turned on one side towards the wilderness, if happily they could make their escape thither, and shelter themselves:
but the battle overtook them;
that is, they that made war, as the Targum, the Israelites that were engaged in battle with them pursued them, and overtook them:
and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of
either the Israelites that came out of their cities to assist their brethren destroyed the Benjaminites as they fled, or the Benjaminites who came out of other cities to Gibeah, these were destroyed in the midst of it with the inhabitants, by the liers in wait, when they entered it.