But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)When the flame began to arise up.—Rather, when the column (of smoke), as in Judges 20:38.
The flame of the city.—Literally, the whole of the city—i.e., the universal conflagration—a very powerful expression. (LXX., συντέλεια τῆς πόλεως.)Jdg 20:40. The Benjamites looked behind them — It is likely the Israelites shouted when they turned about to fall upon the Benjamites, which made them look back to see what unexpected supplies they had received. Then they saw their city on fire, which, with the sudden turning of the Israelites from flight to attack them, quite put them in confusion.Judges 4:5, the exact locality here indicated, since "the highway" Judges 20:31 along which the Israelites enticed the Benjamites to pursue them, leads straight to Ramah, which lay only a mile beyond the point where the two ways branch off.
The meadows of Gibeah - The word rendered "meadow" is only found here. According to its etymology, it ought to mean a "bare open place", which is particularly unsuitable for an ambush. However, by a change in the vowel-points, without any alteration in the letters, it becomes the common word for "a cavern".
the Benjamites looked behind them; perhaps at hearing the blowing of the trumpet, and the long sound of that:But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)40. looked behind them] Cf. Joshua 8:20. It almost seems as if the account of the capture of Ai by a similar stratagem had influenced the present narrative.
the whole of the city] Cf. Deuteronomy 13:16 ‘and thou shalt burn the city with fire as a whole offering unto Jehovah thy God’; but perhaps the word is hardly intended to bear its technical sense of holocaust here.
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