Judges 20:5
And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about on me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead.
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(5) The men of Gibeah.—Literally, the lords of Gibeah, as in Judges 9:2. We cannot infer that they were heathen inhabitants of the town, though they behaved as if they were. If the phrase implies that they were men in positions of authority, it perhaps shows why there was no rescue and little resistance. This is also probable, because there could not have been the same unwillingness to give up to justice a few lawless and insignificant offenders.

Thought to have slain me.—Obviously some circumstances of the assault have been omitted in Judges 19:22-25. The Levite colours the whole story in the way most favourable to himself.

Jdg 20:5-6. Slain me — Except I would either submit to their unnatural lust, which I was resolved to withstand even unto death, or deliver up my concubine to them, which I was forced to do. Lewdness and folly — That is, a lewd folly; most ignominious and impudent wickedness.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.The chief - literally, "the corner stones." (Compare 1 Samuel 14:38.) 4-7. the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said—The injured husband gave a brief and unvarnished recital of the tragic outrage, from which it appears that force was used, which he could not resist. His testimony was doubtless corroborated by those of his servant and the old Ephraimite. There was no need of strong or highly colored description to work upon the feelings of the audience. The facts spoke for themselves and produced one common sentiment of detestation and vengeance. Thought to have slain me; except I would either submit to their unnatural lust, which I was resolved to withstand even unto death; or deliver up my concubine to them, which I was forced to do. And the men of Gibeah rose against me,.... Not all of them, but some that dwelt in that city; he forbears giving them the character they justly deserved, sons of Belial. These came in a tumultuous and violent manner:

and beset the house round about upon me by night; that he might not make his escape, resolving if possible to get him into their hands, and do with him according to their will:

and thought to have slain me; their first intention was to commit the unnatural sin on him, and, if he resisted, to slay him; but this he modestly conceals, as being a sin not to be named in an assembly of saints; and besides he might say this, because he himself chose rather to be slain than to submit to their lust, which he knew must be the case upon his refusal and resistance; and even if he had yielded, being overpowered, this would have been the consequence, that he should have been abused even unto death, as his wife was:

and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead; or "afflicted", or "humbled" (d) her; which is a modest expression for carnal knowledge of her, and which they had to such excess that she died through it.

(d) "afflixerunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus.

And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead.
5. men of Gibeah] citizens of G.; cf. Jdg 9:2 n.

me they thought to have slain
] See on Jdg 19:22. Their design on the young woman would naturally involve getting rid of her husband (cf. Genesis 12:12).Verse 5. - And thought to have slain me. This was so far true that it is likely he was in fear of his life; but he doubtless shaped his narrative so as to conceal his own cowardice in the transaction. We have a similar example of an unfaithful narration of facts in the letter of Claudius Lysias to Felix (Acts 23:27). The men of Gibeah. The masters, as in Judges 9:2, meaning the citizens. As soon as he arrived there, he cut up the body, according to its bones (as they cut slaughtered animals in pieces: see at Leviticus 1:6), into twelve pieces, and sent them (the corpse in its pieces) into the whole of the territory of Israel, i.e., to all the twelve tribes, in the hope that every one who saw it would say: No such thing has happened or been seen since the coming up of Israel out of Egypt until this day. Give ye heed to it (שׁימוּ for לב שׂימוּ); make up your minds and say on, i.e., decide how this unparalleled wickedness is to be punished. Sending the dissected pieces of the corpse to the tribes was a symbolical act, by which the crime committed upon the murdered woman was placed before the eyes of the whole nation, to summon it to punish the crime, and was naturally associated with a verbal explanation of the matter by the bearer of the pieces. See the analogous proceeding on the part of Saul (1 Samuel 11:7), and the Scythian custom related by Lucian in Toxaris, c. 48, that whoever was unable to procure satisfaction for an injury that he had received, cut an ox in pieces and sent it round, whereupon all who were willing to help him to obtain redress took a piece, and swore that they would stand by him to the utmost of their strength. The perfects ואמר - והיה (Judges 19:30) are not used for the imperfects c. vav consec. ויּאמר - ויהי, as Hitzig supposes, but as simple perfects (perfecta conseq.), expressing the result which the Levite expected from his conduct; and we have simply to supply לאמר before והיה, which is often omitted in lively narrative or animated conversation (compare, for example, Exodus 8:5 with Judges 7:2). The perfects are used by the historian instead of imperfects with a simple vav, which are commonly employed in clauses indicating intention, "because what he foresaw would certainly take place, floated before his mind as a thing already done" (Rosenmller). The moral indignation, which the Levite expected on the part of all the tribes at such a crime as this, and their resolution to avenge it, are thereby exhibited not merely as an uncertain conjecture, but a fact that was sure to occur, and concerning which, as Judges 20 clearly shows, he had not deceived himself.
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