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David Guzik's Commentaries
on the Bible

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Judges 21 - Wives for the Remnant of Benjamin

A. A foolish oath

1. (1) At Mizpah, a curse is laid on anyone who gives their daughter as wives for the tribe of Benjamin

a. At the time, considering their anger against Benjamin, this probably seemed like the right thing to do. But the foolish oath had unforeseen consequences

2. (2-3) Later, the nation realizes that now a whole tribe is in danger of extinction

a. Since the tribe of Benjamin had been so depleted by the war made against it, if they did not do something to effectively re-populate the tribe, they could lose them from among the tribes of Israel

B. Solutions to the problem of the foolish oath

1. (4-15) Destroying the city of Jabesh Gilead and taking their young women

a. Again, we see Israel doing something that seemed right to them, but was actually horrific - they will slaughter a whole city of Israel, the city which refused to join with Israel in the fight against Benjamin

b. Everyone but the female virgins was killed; this supplied 400 wives to Benjamin, but still one-third of the men of Benjamin could not obtain a wife

c. This is doing one bad thing to make up for another. Israel instead should have repented of their foolish oath made at Mizpah, and agreed to give their daughters as wives to the men of the tribe of Benjamin

2. (16-24) A ploy to give the Benjaminites an opportunity to take wives

a. This ploy was nothing more than a little drama where the Benjaminites would be allowed to "kidnap" women (who were not doubt willing), so that the marriages could be arranged without "official" approval

b. Again, rather than go through this little charade, it would have been better for Israel to have confessed their sin of making a foolish oath, and done what was right instead of trying to make two wrongs equal a right

c. The tribe of Benjamin will be sufficiently restored to provide Israel with its first king (Saul)

3. (25) The summary observation of the times of Israel

a. This kind of moral, political, social, and spiritual chaos could only reign were there was no recognized king over Israel - and where people had forgotten about God as their King

b. The only standard left was the standard of "if it feels good, do it" - much like America at the close of the twentieth century


Copyright Statement
David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible are reproduced by permission of David Guzik, Siegen, Germany. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Guzik, David. "Commentary on Judges 21". "David Guzik's Commentaries
on the Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/guz/view.cgi?book=jud&chapter=021>. 1997-2003.  

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