[Judges 21:1] NOW THE MEN OF ISRAEL HAD SWORN IN MIZPEH, SAYING, THERE
SHALL NOT ANY OF US GIVE HIS DAUGHTER UNTO BENJAMIN TO WIFE.
Even though in the Book of Chronicles and elsewhere cases are mentioned of
inter-marriage between the Tribes it was apparently rare even before the
prohibition against intermarrying with Benjamin. This prohibition was
annulled as we shall see. The date given for the annulment of the
prohibition was the 15th of the Month of Av (Ab) which afterwards was
regarded annually as a kind of holiday.
Yehudah Elitzur (Daat Mikra) points out that the other Tribes had sworn not
to allow their daughters to marry someone from Benjamin because the
Benjaminites had not surrendered the rapists of Gibeah. It was as if they
had made themselves all accomplices to the crime. They therefore lacked
respect for the rights of women and could not be entrusted with them.
[Judges 21:2] AND THE PEOPLE CAME TO THE HOUSE OF GOD, AND ABODE THERE TILL
EVEN BEFORE GOD, AND LIFTED UP THEIR VOICES, AND WEPT SORE;
[Judges 21:3] 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?
The Torah and Israelite tradition obliges every male to marry and bear
children if he can. Did you know that the number of abortions that have
been carried in the State of Israel is more than the number of children
killed in the Holocaust? In other words the advocates of abortion on a
demographic level have caused as much damage as the Nazis. The same
consideration applies to all the Israelite nations. Scotland is in a very
bad position and has a dwindling population.
Advocates of abortion often use the slogan "pro-choice". Surprisingly
enough however statistics indicate that in many cases the mother of the
unborn infant would rather give birth to it. Outside influences (husband,
boyfriend, family, temporary depression, economic worries, etc) force the
mother against her will to do away with the fetus. Also many women are not
aware of the alternatives or of the dangers involved. A lot of heart-aching
expensive fertility problems are caused due to abortions.
[Judges 21:4] AND IT CAME TO PASS ON THE MORROW, THAT THE PEOPLE ROSE
EARLY, AND BUILT THERE AN ALTAR, AND OFFERED BURNT OFFERINGS AND PEACE
[Judges 21:5] 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.
Not only were they determined to punish the culprits and they who protected
them but also anyone who did not actively take part in extirpating the
evildoers was to be treated as an evildoer.
[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.
[Judges 21:7] 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?
[Judges 21:8] 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.
<<JABESHGILEAD>> i.e. "Yabesh-Gilead": It was apparently called "Yabesh"
and it was in Gilead. "Yabesh" means "dry". The settlement "Yabesh-Gilead"
was on the banks of a stream known as "Yabesh" that flowed into the Jordan.
"Yabesh-Gilead" apparently belonged to the Tribe of Manasseh. The
Benjaminites were to receive women from this settlement. The Book of
Obadiah (1:19) says that in the future Benjamin will inherit the Gilead
perhaps referring to this region.
[Judges 21:9] FOR THE PEOPLE WERE NUMBERED, AND, BEHOLD, THERE WERE NONE OF
THE INHABITANTS OF JABESHGILEAD THERE.
[Judges 21:10] 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.
[Judges 21:11] AND THIS IS THE THING THAT YE SHALL DO, YE SHALL UTTERLY
DESTROY EVERY MALE, AND EVERY WOMAN THAT HATH LAIN BY MAN.
[Judges 21:12] 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.
There were 600 men without women. After the 400 virgins from Jabesh Gilead
had been found there remained 200 unmarried males.
<<THE LAND OF CANAAN>>: Caanan stretched from the Nile to the Euphrates. In
some cases however the term "Land of Caaan" was applied to the region west
of the Jordan whereas that to the east of the Jordan was known as "Land of
the Amorites" (cf. Numbers 21:31).
[Judges 21:13] AND THE WHOLE CONGREGATION SENT SOME TO SPEAK TO THE
CHILDREN OF BENJAMIN THAT WERE IN THE ROCK RIMMON, AND TO CALL PEACEABLY
The warriors of Benjamin who had not been killed escaped to the Rock Rimon
and were holed up there.
[Judges 21:14] 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.
[Judges 21:15] AND THE PEOPLE REPENTED THEM FOR BENJAMIN, BECAUSE THAT THE
LORD HAD MADE A BREACH IN THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.
[Judges 21:16] THEN THE ELDERS OF THE CONGREGATION SAID, HOW WE SHALL DO
FOR WIVES FOR THEM THAT REMAIN, SEEING THE WOMEN ARE DESTROYED OUT OF BENJAMIN.
[Judges 21:17] AND THEY SAID, THERE MUST BE AN INHERITANCE FOR THEM THAT BE
ESCAPED OF BENJAMIN, THAT A TRIBE BE NOT DESTROYED OUT OF ISRAEL.
[Judges 21:18] 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
[Judges 21:19] 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
[Judges 21:20] THEREFORE THEY COMMANDED THE CHILDREN OF BENJAMIN, SAYING,
GO AND LIE IN WAIT IN THE VINEYARDS:
[Judges 21:21] 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.
[Judges 21:22] 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.
It was probably as good a way of match-making as any other. This is all
somewhat ironic. The girls apparently were all prepared to marry the men
who had grabbed hold of them. All marriages are basically from heaven. The
men had honorable intentions and the end result was evidently a happy one.
[Judges 21:23] 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.
<<WHOM THEY CAUGHT>>: There were more girls dancing than were needed. They
only took the required number. Each bachelor grabbed his own "mate". It may
be that the girls who were "caught" were the ones who wanted to be. Who
knows if they had not been warned in advance?
Traditionally these dances WERE for the sake of attracting husbands and
similar public dances of young maidens wishing to marry are recalled in
later Jewish tradition from the time of the Second Temple.
Shiloh was in the territory of Ephraim while Yabesh-Gilead was in that of
Manasseh. The Benjaminites therefore took their women from Ephraim and
Manasseh. Ephraim and Manasseh were the sons of Joseph. Joseph and
Benjamin were full brothers the only sons of Jacob through Rachel his most
beloved wife. In a larger sense it all stayed "in the family".
[Judges 21:24] 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.
<<FAMILY>>: The moral of this tale is that family and respect for family
values are very important.
[Judges 21:25] IN THOSE DAYS THERE WAS NO KING IN ISRAEL: EVERY MAN DID
THAT WHICH WAS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES
These events may have occurred at the very beginning of the Period of
Judges. They are however written here for the value of their message which
is: There are no vacuums in life. Certain things have to be done. They were
commanded to wipe out the Canaanites and did not do so. As a result they
ended up almost exterminating one of their brother tribes.
So too today. The State of Israel should expel the Palestinians. They are
not doing so. Consequently they are being forced by International pressure
to expel their brother Jews from parts of the Land of Israel. And this is
only a beginning.