Judges 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 would not listen to the voice of their brothers the children of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) The children of Benjamin would not hearken.—They were actuated by the same bad spirit of solidarity which has often made Highland clans defend a member of their body who has committed some grave outrage. That they should have preferred an internecine civil war to the giving up their criminals illustrates the peculiarly fierce character of the tribe (Genesis 49:27). Their determination to hold out against united Israel is analogous to the courage in a bad cause of the Phocians in the sacred wars of Greece (Grote, iv. 85).

Jdg 20:13. That we may put away evil from Israel — Both the guilt and punishment wherein all Israel will be involved if they do not punish it. The children of Benjamin would not hearken — From the pride of their hearts, which made them scorn to submit to their brethren; from a conceit of their own valour; and from God’s just judgment. Certainly the degeneracy among them must have been very great, and it is probable the offenders might be men of considerable rank and power, which made the Benjamites refuse to deliver them up.17:7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God's favour to him and his images, that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.In order to make it possible for the force of Israel to keep the field, and do to the men of Gibeah what their wickedness deserved, every tenth man (40,000 in all) was appointed to find provisions for the whole army. Jud 20:8-17. Their Decree.

8-13. all the people arose as one man—The extraordinary unanimity that prevailed shows, that notwithstanding great disorders had broken out in many parts, the people were sound at the core; and remembering their national covenant with God, they now felt the necessity of wiping out so foul a stain on their character as a people. It was resolved that the inhabitants of Gibeah should be subjected to condign punishment. But the resolutions were conditional. For as the common law of nature and nations requires that an inquiry should be made and satisfaction demanded, before committing an act of hostility or vengeance, messengers were despatched through the whole territory of Benjamin, demanding the immediate surrender or execution of the delinquents. The request was just and reasonable; and by refusing it the Benjamites virtually made themselves a party in the quarrel. It must not be supposed that the people of this tribe were insensible or indifferent to the atrocious character of the crime that had been committed on their soil. But their patriotism or their pride was offended by the hostile demonstration of the other tribes. The passions were inflamed on both sides; but certainly the Benjamites incurred an awful responsibility by the attitude of resistance they assumed.

Put away evil; both the guilt and the punishment, wherein all Israel will be involved, if they do not punish it.

The children of Benjamin would not hearken; partly, from the pride of their hearts, which made them scorn to submit it, their brethren, or to suffer them to meddle in their territory; partly, from the conceit of their own valour and military skill; and partly, from God’s just judgment. Now, therefore, deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah,.... Those wicked men that were the authors of that abominable wickedness there committed:

that we may put them to death; as they deserved, since they were guilty both of adultery and murder; their meaning is, that they in conjunction with the tribe of Benjamin might condemn them to death and punish them with it, as their crime deserved:

and put away evil from Israel; prevent both the spread of such a sinful evil in the nation, encouraged by such examples, and the evil of punishment coming upon them from God, should they let such wickedness pass with impunity:

but the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel; they refused to give up the men of Gibeah, that had been guilty of such great wickedness; reckoning it a reproach, as Josephus (f) says, to obey the commands of others, for fear of war, and unwilling to yield to any in arms, neither on account of multitude nor courage.

(f) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 2. sect. 9.

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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. deliver up the men … that we may put them to death] Similarly 1 Samuel 11:12.

the sons of Belial] See on Jdg 19:22.

put away evil] Read the evil, lit. burn up, consume the evil; a frequent expression in Deut., e.g. Deuteronomy 13:5, Deuteronomy 17:7; Deuteronomy 17:12, Deuteronomy 22:22.Verse 13. - Children of Belial. See Judges 19:22, note. There seems to be a reference here to Deuteronomy 13:12-15. Then the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, described the whole affair. הגּבעה בּעלי, the owners or citizens of Gibeah (see at Judges 9:2). "Me they intended to kill:" the Levite draws this conclusion from what had happened to his wife; the men of Gibeah had not expressed any such intention in Judges 19:22. "All the country (lit. field) of the inheritance of Israel," i.e., all the land of the Israelites. זמּה is applied to the vice of lewdness, as in Leviticus 18:17, which was to be punished with death. וגו לכם הבוּ, "give yourselves (לכם as dat. comm.) word and counsel here," i.e., make up your minds and pass sentence (vid., 2 Samuel 16:20). הלם, here, where you are all assembled together.
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