20:1 Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as a one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the b LORD in Mizpeh.
(a) That is, all with one consent. 20:2 And the chief of all the people, [even] of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that c drew sword.
(b) To ask counsel.
(c) Meaning, men able to handle their weapons. 20:3 (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then d said the children of Israel, Tell [us], how was this wickedness?
(d) To the Levite. 20:6 And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent e her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel.
20:8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any [of us] go to his tent, neither will we any [of us] turn into his f house.
(e) That is, her pieces, to every tribe a piece, ( Judges 19:29 ).
(f) Before we have avenged this wickedness. 20:10 And we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch g victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel.
(g) Only these would be charged to provide food for the rest. 20:12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the h tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness [is] this that is done among you?
(h) That is, every family of the tribe. 20:13 Now therefore deliver [us] the men, the children of Belial, which [are] in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin i would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel:
(i) Because they would not allow the wicked to be punished, they declared themselves in agreement with their evil, and therefore all were justly punished. 20:18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up k to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah [shall go up] first.
20:21 And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day l twenty and two thousand men.
(k) That is, to the ark, which was in Shiloh some think in Mizpeh, as in ( Judges 20:1 ).
(l) This God permitted because by this means he would punish their sins, by the strength of the Israelites. 20:27 And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God [was] m there in those days,
(m) That is, in Shiloh. 20:28 And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, n stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.
(n) Or, served in the priests office in those days: for the Jews write that he lived three hundred years. 20:31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, [and] were o drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, [and] kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel.
(o) By the policy of the children of Israel. 20:32 And the children of Benjamin said, They [are] smitten down before us, as at the first. But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the p highways.
(p) Meaning, crossways or paths to various places. 20:34 And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore: but they knew not that q evil [was] near them.
(q) They did not know that Gods judgment was at hand to destroy them. 20:36 So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten: for the men of Israel r gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted unto the liers in wait which they had set beside Gibeah.
(r) Retired to draw them after. 20:39 And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to s smite [and] kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as [in] the first battle.
(s) For they had grown bold because of the two former victories. 20:41 And when the men of Israel turned t again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them.
(t) And withstood their enemies. 20:42 Therefore they turned [their backs] before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which [came] out of the cities they destroyed u in the midst of them.
(u) For they were surrounded from every side. 20:45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they x gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them.
x They slew them one by one, as they were scattered abroad. 20:46 So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were y twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these [were] men of valour.
(y) Besides eleven hundred that had been slain in the previous battles. 20:48 And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of [every] city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the z cities that they came to.
(z) If they belonged to the Benjamites.