Judges 20:14
But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel.
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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. 14-17. the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah—Allowing their valor to be ever so great, nothing but blind passion and unbending obstinacy could have impelled them to take the field against their brethren with such a disparity of numbers. No text from Poole on this verse.

But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah,.... To protect and defend it against the other tribes, being a city of theirs and where the persons charged with the crime lived; these got together thither out of the several cities of the tribe of Benjamin, as many as could bear arms:

to go out to battle against the children of Israel; they neither denied the fact, nor attempted to palliate and excuse it, nor sought for peace but at once betook themselves to arms; which showed not only want of prudence but pride, passion and self-confidence, and that they were sadly depraved in their morals to rise up in defence of such wicked men; and a strange infatuation to expect success against such vastly superior numbers, and in so bad a cause.

But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel.
Verse 14. - But the children of Benjamin. It should be And the children, etc. It is not dependent upon the preceding verse, but begins a new head of the narrative. From the cities, i.e. the different cities of the tribe of Benjamin, enumerated in Joshua 18:21-28, twenty-six in number. Judges 20:14Both sides now made their preparations. The Benjaminites assembled together at Gibeah out of their different towns, and "were mustered 26,000 men drawing the sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah they were mustered, 700 picked men" (הגפּקדוּ, with the reduplication dropped, like the Hothpael in Numbers 1:47). "Out of all this people there were 700 picked men, lamed in the right hand, all these (were) slinging with a stone (hitting) at a hair's breadth without fail." These statement are not quite clear. Since, according to the distinct words of Judges 20:16, the 700 slingers with their left hands were "out of the whole people," i.e., out of the whole number of fighting men mentioned in Judges 20:16, they cannot be the same as the 700 chosen men referred to in Judges 20:15, notwithstanding the similarity in the numbers and the expression "chosen men." The obscurity arises chiefly from the word התפּקדוּ in Judges 20:15, which is separated by the Masoretic accents from שׁבע מ, and connected with the previous words: "Beside the inhabitants of Gibeah they (the men of the towns of Benjamin) were mustered." On the other hand, the earlier translators took the clause as a relative one: "Beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were mustered 700 men." And this seems absolutely necessary, because otherwise the following words, "700 picked men," would stand without any connection; whilst we should certainly expect at least to find the cop. vav, if these 700 men were not inhabitants of Gibeah. But even if התפּקדוּ should be taken as a simple repetition of ויּתפּקדוּ, the statement which follows could not be understood in any other way than as referring to the number of the fighting men of Gibeah. There is something striking too in the fact that only Benjaminites "out of the cities" are mentioned, and that emphasis is laid upon this by the repetition of the expression "out of the cities" (Judges 20:14, Judges 20:15). Some have inferred from this, that the Benjaminites as the rulers had settled in the towns, whilst the Canaanites who had been subdued settled as dependants in the villages (Bertheau); or that the Benjaminites had formed military brotherhoods, the members of which lived unmarried in the towns, and that this may possibly account for the abominable crime to which the inhabitants of Gibeah were addicted, and in relation to which the whole tribe took their part (O. v. Gerlach). But such inferences as these are extremely uncertain, as the cities may be mentioned a potiori for all the places inhabited by this tribe. There is another difficulty in the numbers. According to Judges 20:14, Judges 20:15, the total number of the fighting men of Benjamin amounted to 26,000 and 700, without reckoning Gibeah. But, according to the account of the battle, 25,100 were slain (Judges 20:35), viz., 18,000 in the principal engagement, 5000 as a gleaning, and 200 in the pursuit, i.e., 25,000 men in all (Judges 20:44-46), and only 600 were left, who fled into the desert to the rock Rimmon (Judges 20:47). According to these accounts, the whole tribe would have contained only 25,100 + 600 equals 25,700 fighting men, or 25,000 + 600 equals 25,600. Accordingly, in Judges 20:15, the lxx (Cod. Al. etc.) and Vulgate give only 25,000 men; whilst the rest of the ancient versions have 26,000, in agreement with the Masoretic text. Josephus (Ant. v. 2, 10) also gives the number of fighting men in Benjamin as 25,600, of whom 600 were splendid slingers; but he has merely taken the numbers from Jdg 20:44-47. Now, although mistakes do frequently occur in the numbers given, it is a most improbable supposition that we have a mistake of this kind (26,000 for 25,000) in the instance before us, since even the latter number would not agree with Judges 20:44.; and the assumption, that in Judges 20:35 and Judges 20:44. we have an account of all the Benjaminites who fell, finds no support whatever in the history itself. In the verses referred to we have simply a statement of the number of Benjaminites who fell in the defeat which they sustained on the third day, whereas the victories which they gained on the first and second days could hardly have been obtained without some loss on their part; on the contrary, we may confidently assume that they would not lose less than a thousand men, though these are not mentioned in the brief account before us. The other difference between Judges 20:35 and Judges 20:44-46, viz., that 25,100 are given in the one and 25,000 in the other, may be explained on the simple assumption that we have only the full thousands mentioned in the latter, whilst the exact number is given in the former. "Left-handed:" see at Judges 3:15.
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