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Judges 21:22

Judges 21:22

And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come
unto us to complain
Of this rape of their daughters or sisters, or to bring an action against them, and desire they might be summoned before them, the elders of the people, and be tried and judged according to law for what they had done; or to put them upon going to war with them again for such treatment of them:

that we will say unto them, be favourable unto them for our sakes;
for the sake of the elders, who advised them to do what they did; or for the sake of us Israelites, your sake and ours, who were too severe upon them, and prosecuted the war with too much vigour, which made what they have done necessary, or otherwise a tribe must have been lost in Israel:

because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war;
either in the war with Benjamin, which they carried on with such wrath and fury as to destroy all the women, so that there were no wives left for the men that remained, which they now repented of; or in the war with Jabeshgilead, they did not reserve enough of the women taken, only four hundred virgins, whereas there were six hundred men: but the first seems best:

for ye did not give unto them at this time, that you should be guilty;
the meaning is, that if they had any uneasiness upon their minds about the oath which they had taken, not to give any of their daughters in marriage to Benjamin, they need not be disturbed at that, since they did not "give" them to them, but these "took" them by force; which was the scheme these elders contrived to secure from the violation of the oath. This they proposed to say to quiet them, and make them easy, to which other things might have been added as that these were their brethren, and not strangers they were married to, and not to mean men, but to men of large estates, having the whole inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin devolved upon them; and their daughters would be the original mothers of the posterity of that tribe in succeeding ages.