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1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife.

2 And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore;

3 And said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel?

4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

5 And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death.

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

7 How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?

8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly.

9 For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead there.

10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.

11 And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.

12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them.

14 And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead: and yet so they sufficed them not.

15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?

17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.

18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.

19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.

20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;

21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty.

23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.

24 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance.

25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Commentary for Judges 21

The Israelites lament for the Benjamites.

- Israel lamented for the Benjamites, and were perplexed by the oath they had taken, not to give their daughters to them in marriage. Men are more zealous to support their own authority than that of God. They would have acted better if they had repented of their rash oaths, brought sin-offerings, and sought forgiveness in the appointed way, rather than attempt to avoid the guilt of perjury by actions quite as wrong. That men can advise others to acts of treachery or violence, out of a sense of duty, forms a strong proof of the blindness of the human mind when left to itself, and of the fatal effects of a conscience under ignorance and error.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Judges 21

  • Ann Anglin on Judges 21
    Comments on judges chaps 20+21
    Sometimes we as humans make hasty judgment without seeking Gods advice and so we faulted and cannot take back our words, our tongue is sharper than any two edge sword and cannot be tamed. Without Gods mercies.
    We need always to be prayed up n Waite on The Lords answer before we strike our task, Be Bles Sed U'All
  • Anne on Judges 21
    According to Proverbs 14:12 there is a way which seems right to a man but its end is the way of death(destruction). We must continue to seek God's face in all of our decisions.
  • April on Judges 21
    Hmm,so I wonder,why didn't they seek GOD on what to do 4 finding wives for the house/tribe of Benjamin?,they asked if they should keep going after them in earlier chapters or cease,so why did they think kidnapping women was the answer during that time?,I get vs25 and all but,how they could seek GOD for help then,but not for that moment is beyond me,I don't always get things that happen n Bible...
  • TerryF on Judges 21
    I think the key to this whole incident is found in the last verse: "every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

    When we keep in mind what Jeremiah 17 says about the heart of man that it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, it is not surprising that man left to decide what is right in his own eyes, ignoring the clear laws of God, gets it totally wrong as both sides did.
  • Jacqueline on Judges 21
    When we fail to follow the commandments of God then we open to the temptations of the ruler of this world. This is a hard chapter to digest however it gives us a clear picture of what will happen when people are disobedient to God. God is still a loving and just God because He could have blotted out the whole tribe of Benjamin. He shows compassion on those who truly repent.
  • Dewey J on Judges 21
    Franklin, the Israelites still had excellent spiritual leadership Phinehas the grandson of Moses' brother Aaron and other fine spiritual leaders by their faith the Ark of the covenant and the Holy Ghost was still with them. Read judges chapter 20. Glory be to God in the highest through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Amen.
  • Philimon Makasani Chauke on Judges 21
  • Stanjett - in Reply on Judges 21
    There's no verse in the bible that says once saved always saved. Jesus said about saved people, that no one can pluck them out of my hand. As long as you stay in his hands, yes but he also gave us freewill. We still can chose to not follow him. Why would we not follow him? Satan is very powerful.
  • Stanjett - in Reply on Judges 21
    I used to think that once saved always saved. But then I came across lots of that little word "if". If you do this or that you will live and not die. And many more like verses in the bible' He that endues to the end shall be saved. He that overcometh shall live.
  • Fridah on Judges 21
    the other tribes of Israel Lamented for Benjamin meaning they still considered them a brother in Israel however they could not associate with them because as in the other chapters they did a detestable thing so they did not give their wives to the Benjamites


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How did the sons of Benjamin obtain wives to marry when they could not take wives from other tribes of Israel?
  • They took wives from surrounding nations
  • When the women of Shiloh were dancing, they grabbed a women and carried her away.
  • They married women from their own tribe
  • They paid the Jebusites to kidnap women from Israelite tribes