Bible Commentaries
Judges 21

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-25

  1. CATCH ME A WIFE (Ch.21)
    1. The tribe of Benjamin was decimated by the Civil War.
      1. Israel had won, but the victory was hollow.
      2. What was worse, before the battle had begun Israel had taken a vow that anyone who gave his daughter as wife to a Benjamite, would be killed. (1,5)
    2. (3) The war had begun with a dismembered concubine; with Benjamin defeated, Israel itself has become dismembered.
    3. (3,4) Note: God doesn’t answer here, but the Israelites decided to take action anyway.
      1. What an ill-conceived plan to preserve the tribe, apparently w/o divine counsel.
        1. When God’s people make a habit of failing to consult Him, they end up confused about right & wrong, wisdom & foolishness.
      2. Jabesh-Gilead was a city of Manasseh in Transjordan.
      3. The men would be killed for not joining in the battle against Benjamin.
      4. So Israel could fulfill its vow under the guise of punishing a noncooperative city
        1. Clearly, this vow was as rash as that of Jephthah (next 1 to walk thru my door I’ll sacrifice to you Lord) and the consequences just as shocking.
    4. (13-15) A little problem...the need for wives was not fully met, so a 2nd solution was proposed.
      1. The Benjamites were allowed to kidnap young women who were celebrating at a yearly feast in Shiloh.
      2. We can’t “give” them to you but you can take them.
    5. (24,25) The last 2 verses of Judges summarize the unstable condition of Israel in the years before the rise of the monarchy.
      1. Vs.24 presents a quiet picture & is even how Joshua ends 24:28.
      2. But then vs.25 gives the final word. Each Israelite was living on his own land...but he was also doing whatever seemed right to him.
        1. They were living as if there was no nation, no tribe, no clan, or no family...just a mass of individuals each pulling in whatever direction they wished.
    6. So the book ends in despair. People acting w/o God. People finding their own solutions. But these solutions are sometimes worse than the initial problem.
    7. The book of Joshua started off with Israel as one people, united in vision & spirit. The book of Judges ended with Israel fractured into many pieces.
    8. How do we tie this in to Christmas season?
      1. What they needed was a leader. A king. But not just a king...but The King of Kings. Who came to earth as a little baby for all who admit their need for Him.
    9. When people disobey, their society will decay.
    10. When darkness abides, leadership must arise.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Judges 21". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.