Judges 21:6
And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.It is not certain whether the brass altar was at Bethel at this time, or whether it may not have been elsewhere, e. g., at Shiloh with the tabernacle. Some, however, think that the altar here mentioned was "additional" to the brass altar, in consequence of the unusual number of sacrifices caused by the presence of the whole congregation (compare 1 Kings 8:64 note). 6. There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day—that is, in danger of becoming extinct; for, as it appears from Jud 21:7, they had massacred all the women and children of Benjamin, and six hundred men alone survived of the whole tribe. The prospect of such a blank in the catalogue of the twelve tribes, such a gap in the national arrangements, was too painful to contemplate, and immediate measures must be taken to prevent this great catastrophe. Children of Israel repented them; not for the war, which was just, and necessary, and good; but for their immoderate severity in the execution of it, and for thee dreadful consequences of it.

And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother,.... Not that they went to war with them, as if their cause was not good; but for the severity they had exercised towards them, especially in destroying their women and children, and for the fatal consequences like to follow here after, particularly the dissolution of the whole tribe:

and said, there is one tribe cut off from Israel this day; that is, there is a likelihood or great danger of it.

And the children of Israel {c} repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.

(c) Or, were sorry that they had destroyed their brethren, as it appears in Jud 21:15.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. cut off] cut down; the figure is that of hewing down trees, cf. Isaiah 10:33; Isaiah 14:12.

Verses 6-9. - And the children of Israel, etc. This verse goes back a little to explain why the children of Israel asked the question, viz., because they repented them for Benjamin, and wished to repair the mischief resulting from their rash oath not to give their daughters to a Benjamite; therefore they said (repeating ver. 5), What one is there that came not up to Mizpeh? (ver. 8) and on numbering the people it was found that no one had come up from Jabesh-gilead. This is the first time that Jabesh-gilead is mentioned in Scripture. It comes up twice afterwards. First in 1 Samuel 11, on occasion of its being besieged by the Ammonites and rescued by Saul; and secondly in 1 Samuel 31:11-13, when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth-shah, and buried them at Jabesh, for which brave and pious act David thanked them (2 Samuel 2:5). The name of Jabesh is only preserved in the Wady Yabis, which debouches on the eastern bank of the Jordan about lat. 32'24. Robinson thinks the ruins called ed Deir in this valley are the remains of Jabesh, which agrees exactly with the situation assigned to it by Eusebius in the , Onomasticon.' Judges 21:6The congregation then resolved upon a plan, through the execution of which a number of virgins were secured for the Benjaminites. They determined that they would carry out the great oath, which had been uttered when the national assembly was called against such as did not appear, upon that one of the tribes of Israel which had not come to the meeting of the congregation at Mizpeh. The deliberations upon this point were opened (Judges 21:5) with the question, "Who is he who did not come up to the meeting of all the tribes of Israel, to Jehovah?" In explanation of this question, it is observed at Judges 21:5, "For the great oath was uttered upon him that came not up to Jehovah to Mizpeh: he shall be put to death." We learn from this supplementary remark, that when important meetings of the congregation were called, all the members were bound by an oath to appear. The meeting at Mizpeh is the one mentioned in Judges 20:1. The "great oath" consisted in the threat of death in the case of any that were disobedient. To this explanation of the question in Judges 20:5, the further explanation is added in Judges 21:6, Judges 21:7, that the Israelites felt compassion for Benjamin, and wished to avert its entire destruction by procuring wives for such as remained. The word ויּנּחמוּ in Judges 21:6 is attached to the explanatory clause in Judges 21:5, and is to be rendered as a pluperfect: "And the children of Israel had shown themselves compassionate towards their brother Benjamin, and said, A tribe is cut off from Israel to-day; what shall we do to them, to those that remain with regard to wives, as we have sworn?" etc. (compare Judges 21:1). The two thoughts, - (1) the oath that those who had not come to Mizpeh should be punished with death (Judges 21:5), and (2) anxiety for the preservation of this tribe which sprang from compassion towards Benjamin, and was shown in their endeavour to provide such as remained with wives, without violating the oath that none of them would give them their own daughters as wives, - formed the two factors which determined the course to be adopted by the congregation. After the statement of these two circumstances, the question of Judges 21:5, "Who is the one (only one) of the tribes of Israel which," etc., is resumed and answered: "Behold, there came no one into the camp from Jabesh in Gilead, into the assembly." שׁבטי is used in Judges 21:8, Judges 21:5, in a more general sense, as denoting not merely the tribes as such, but the several subdivisions of the tribes.
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