Thus they enclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and stepped them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sun rise.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
With ease.—There is no “with” in the Hebrew, but perhaps it may be understood. The LXX. and Luther make it mean “from Noria.” Others render it “in their rest,” i.e., in the places to which they fled for refuge. The Vulg. paraphrases it: “Nor was there any repose of the dying.” But the whole verse is obscure.With ease; without great difficulty. Now that God gave them his presence and assistance, they easily did that which before they found too hard for them. Or, unto Menuchah; or, as far as Menuchah; a place so called. See 1 Chronicles 2:52 Jeremiah 51:59.
and chased them; or "caused to pursue" (b); calling after them a pursuit, crying to one another as they went along, saying, pursue them, pursue them; so Jarchi and Kimchi; which cry, as it inspired the pursuers with zeal, so they pursued with terror:
and trod them down with ease; they making no resistance, being quite dispirited; the Targrim is,"from the house of their rest,''where they took up their rest, and designed to rest that night, but could not, being so closely pursued, and diligently sought after. Some take "menuchah", rendered "ease", to be the name of a place, from or unto which they were pursued and trodden down, see 1 Chronicles 2:52 and so the Septuagint seems to take it for the name of a place, rendering it, "from Noua":
over against Gibeah, towards the sunrising; that is, as Jarchi interprets it, to the east of Gibeah, there was this overthrow and slaughter made.Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)43. The unidiomatic style (and … and are not in the original), together with the obscurity of the sense, prove that the text is corrupt. Of the various attempts to emend it, the following is as plausible as any: taking the two Hebr. words for the Benjamites … chased them as a doublet of the next two at their resting place, trode them down, and omitting the latter, we may read they cut down (LXX. cod. B) Benjamin and pursued him as far as over against Geba toward the sunrising. The Gibeah of the text was not E. of the flying Benjamites; as elsewhere it is confused with Geba = Jeba‘, 3 m. N.E. of Tell el-Fûl. Jeba‘ lies on the way to Rammôn; but before the fugitives could reach their place of refuge (Rimmon Jdg 20:45), the narrow defile of the Wadi Suwçnît (1 Samuel 14:4 ff.), between Jeba‘ and Machmâs, would stop further pursuit: accordingly over against Geba they were cut down.Verse 43. - Thus they inclosed, etc. Another difficult passage, having all the appearance of being a quotation from some poetical description of the battle. The tenses of the verbs and the absence of any conjunctions in the Hebrew makes the diction like that of Judges 5:19. The italic words thus and the two ands ought to be omitted, to give the stately march of the original. "They inclosed, etc.; they chased them; they trod them down," etc. They inclosed seems to refer to the stratagem by which the Benjamites were surrounded by the ambush in their rear and the Israelites in front. Then came the pursuit - "they chased them;" then the massacre - "they trod them down." The three verbs describe the three stages of the battle. With ease. It does not seem possible that the Hebrew word menuchah can have this meaning. It means sometimes a place of rest, and sometimes a state of rest. Taking the latter meaning, the words they trod them into rest may mean they quieted them by crushing them to death under their feet, or in rest may mean unresisting. Some render it unto Menuchah, as if Menuchah was the name of a place, or from Nochah, as the Septuagint does. Others, at the place of rest, i.e. at every place where they halted to rest the enemy was upon them. Judges 20:37 by way of further explanation, hastened and fell (fell as quickly as possible) into Gibeah, and went thither and smote the whole town with the edge of the sword. To this there is added the further explanation in Judges 20:38 : "And the arrangement of the Israelites with the ambush was this: multiply, to cause smoke-rising to ascend (i.e., cause a great cloud of smoke to ascend) out of the city." The only objection that can be raised to this view of הרב, as the imperative Hiphil of רבה, is the suffix ם-attached to להעלותם, since this is unsuitable to a direct address. This suffix can only be explained by supposing that there is an admixture of two constructions, the direct appeal, and the indirect explanation, that they were to cause to ascend. If this be not admitted, however, we can only follow Studer, and erase the suffix as an error of the pen occasioned by the following word משׂאת; for the other course suggested by Bertheau, namely that הרב should be struck out as a gloss, is precluded by the circumstance that there is no possible way of explaining the interpolation of so apparently unsuitable a word into the text. It certainly stood in the text used by the lxx, though they have most foolishly confounded הרב with חרב, and rendered it μάχαιρα.
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