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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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.

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.' The Israelites turned (from any further pursuit of the fugitive warriors of Benjamin) to the children of Benjamin, i.e., to such of the people of the tribe of Benjamin as were unarmed and defenceless, and smote them with the edge of the sword, "from the town (or towns) onwards, men to cattle (i.e., men, women, children, and cattle), to every one who was found;" i.e., they cut down men and cattle without quarter, from the towns onwards even to those who were found elsewhere. כּל־הנּמצא עד (to all that was found) corresponds to מעיר (from the city), and עד־בּהמה מתם (men to beast) serves as a more precise definition of the עיר (city): everything that was in the city, man and beast. מתם is pointed wrongfully for מתם, men, the reading in several MSS and most of the early editions (see Deuteronomy 2:34; Deuteronomy 3:6). They also set fire to all the towns that were met with, i.e., all without exception. Thus they did the same to the Benjaminites as to the Canaanites who were put under the ban, carrying out the ban with the strictest severity.
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