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Judges 20

1 - Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, to the LORD at Mizpah.

2 - The chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen who drew sword.

3 - (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) The children of Israel said, "Tell us, how did this wickedness happen?"

4 - The Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered, "I came into Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night.

5 - The men of Gibeah rose against me, and surrounded the house by night. They intended to kill me, and they raped my concubine, and she is dead.

6 - I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel; for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel.

7 - Behold, you children of Israel, all of you, give here your advice and counsel."

8 - All the people arose as one man, saying, "None of us will go to his tent, neither will any of us turn to his house.

9 - But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot;

10 - and we will take ten men of one hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred of one thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to get food for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have worked in Israel."

11 - So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.

12 - The tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, "What wickedness is this that is happen among you?

13 - Now therefore deliver up the men, the base fellows, who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel."But Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers the children of Israel.

14 - The children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel.

15 - The children of Benjamin were counted on that day out of the cities twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were counted seven hundred chosen men.

16 - Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed. Every one of them could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 - The men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were counted four hundred thousand men who drew sword. All these were men of war.

18 - The children of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and asked counsel of God. They asked, "Who shall go up for us first to battle against the children of Benjamin?"The LORD said, "Judah first."

19 - The children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah.

20 - The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel set the battle in array against them at Gibeah.

21 - The children of Benjamin came out of Gibeah, and on that day destroyed twenty-two thousand of the Israelite men down to the ground.

22 - The people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves, and set the battle again in array in the place where they set themselves in array the first day.

23 - The children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until evening; and they asked of The LORD, saying, "Shall I again draw near to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?"The LORD said, "Go up against him."

24 - The children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.

25 - Benjamin went out against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men. All these drew the sword.

26 - Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came to Bethel, and wept, and sat there before The LORD, and fasted that day until evening; then they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before The LORD.

27 - The children of Israel asked the LORD (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,

28 - and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, "Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?"The LORD said, "Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver him into your hand."

29 - Israel set ambushes all around Gibeah.

30 - The children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times.

31 - The children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to strike and kill of the people, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goes up to Bethel, and the other to Gibeah, in the field, about thirty men of Israel.

32 - The children of Benjamin said, "They are struck down before us, as at the first." But the children of Israel said, "Let us flee, and draw them away from the city to the highways."

33 - All the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and set themselves in array at Baal Tamar. Then the ambushers of Israel broke out of their place, even out of Maareh Geba.

34 - Ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel came over against Gibeah, and the battle was severe; but they didn't know that disaster was close to them.

35 - The LORD struck Benjamin before Israel; and the children of Israel destroyed of Benjamin that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men. All these drew the sword.

36 - So the children of Benjamin saw that they were struck; for the men of Israel yielded to Benjamin, because they trusted the ambushers whom they had set against Gibeah.

37 - The ambushers hurried, and rushed on Gibeah; then the ambushers spread out, and struck all the city with the edge of the sword.

38 - Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the ambushers was that they should make a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city.

39 - The men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons; for they said, "Surely they are struck down before us, as in the first battle."

40 - But when the cloud began to arise up out of the city in a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them; and behold, the whole city went up in smoke to the sky.

41 - The men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed; for they saw that disaster had come on them.

42 - Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel to the way of the wilderness; but the battle followed hard after them; and those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the middle of it.

43 - They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them, and trod them down at their resting place, as far as near Gibeah toward the sunrise.

44 - Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell; all these were men of valor.

45 - They turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon; and they gleaned five thousand men of them in the highways, and followed hard after them to Gidom, and struck two thousand men of them.

46 - So that all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword. All these were men of valor.

47 - But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and stayed in the rock of Rimmon four months.

48 - The men of Israel turned again on the children of Benjamin, and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city, and the livestock, and all that they found. Moreover all the cities which they found they set on fire.

Judges Images and Notes

The Book of Judges

Judges 4:1 - And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD
Judges 6:6 - And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
Judges 6:7 - And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
Judges 6:8 - That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel.

ARCHAEOLOGY

Philistine Captives Temple of Ramses III

Wall Relief with Philistines

The ancient Egyptian temples reveal what the Philistines looked like in the ancient world. In the sculptured scenes within the funerary temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, near Thebes in Upper Egypt, is an incredible bas relief portraying Philistine captives. Pharaoh had hired these warriors as mercenaries. Rameses III who reigned from 1198-1167 BC saw that the Canaanite area was being invaded and with the help of the Philistines he established peace, according to his own record. Later the Philistines rose to a powerful position in the region with five powerful cities, they flourished in the time of Samson and the judges, their supremacy might have been due to their formal acknowledgment of pharaohs authority. Within a couple centuries they disappeared from history.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survery - Judges
Hebrew Name - Shophtim "Judges or Deliverers"
Greek Name - Krites (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Samuel (According to Tradition)
Date - From 1425 to 1120 BC Approximately
Theme - 7 cycles of idolatry, oppression, repentance, and deliverance during the first 300 years in the land of Canaan
Types and Shadows - In Judges Jesus is the great judge and deliverer of His people

Summary of The Book of Judges

In the book of Judges we can see the first 300 years of the history of Israel, from the time of the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel the last of the Judges. All of the events mentioned in the book of Judges are not meant to be given in a strict chronological order and it is impossible to determine exact dates. Everything that took place happened really on a local level in the land of Israel and not necessarily on a national level. The first two chapters deal with the death of Joshua and after his death and the generation surrounding him, "there arose another generation after them, who did not know the Lord or the work which he had done for Israel" (Judges 2:10).

This generation of Israelites, and every generation after that during this time period fell into idolatry, they forgot the commands of God and there is a severe decline morally and spiritually. As each generation unfolded idolatry would prevail, a foreign invasion would take place and oppress the people of Israel in that local area, they would cry out to God for help, and God would send a deliverer. This cycle happened seven times in the book of Judges and speak clearly about the cycle of sin and its consequences, as well as God's love and willingness to send help when his people cry out to him.

Quick Reference Map
The Judges and the 12 Tribes of Israel
Map of the Judges and the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Click to Enlarge)


The book of Judges records six such major invasions:

Outline of the Book of Judges

The first was the Mesopotamian invasion from the northeast (Judges 3:8-11) from which Othniel delivered his people.

The second was by the Moabites and came from the southeast (Judges 3:12-20). Israel was delivered from the Moabites by Ehud, the left handed assassin of the Moabite king, Eglon.

The third invasion came under the Canaanite leaders Jabin and Sisera (Judges 4, 5). Israel was delivered from the Canaanites by Deborah, the only woman judge of which there is any record. It is interesting to note that Sisera himself was killed by a woman, Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite.

The Midianite invasion from the southeast (Judges 6-9) lasted seven years and was ended under the bold leadership of Gideon.

The foolish vow of Jephthah, which cost him the life of his daughter, came after he delivered Israel from the fifth invasion, that by the Ammonites from the east (Judges 10:6-11:40).

The sixth invasion was by the Philistines, from the southwest, and was apparently something of a recurrent nature rather than one particular campaign. During a period of at least 200 years, Israel was delivered from the Philistines by Shamgar, Samson, Samuel, Saul, and David.

The major social problem stemmed from the recurrent failure of the Israelites to drive the Canaanites out of the land, a direct violation of God's commandment. The Israelites then intermarried with the Canaanites, adopting many of their customs. This assimilation of Canaanite culture promoted the growth of idolatry which constituted the religious problem of the people.

The three most prominent deities of Canaanite worship were Baal, Asherah, and Dagon.

Baal was usually represented by a stone pillar and was a god of fertility, usually worshipped in the groves. At various times Baal-worship included fornication (Jeremiah 7:9 ), self-mutilation (1 Kings 18:28), and human sacrifice (Jeremiah 19:5). Baal is the deity most often mentioned in the Old Testament as being a snare for the people of God.

The symbol of Asherah was a wooden post set up in the "high places" of idolatrous worship. The Phoenician goddess of procreation and love, she was the chief female deity and is often mentioned in connection with Baal.

Dagon was a Philistine deity having the body of a fish with human hands and a human face. It was a temple of Dagon which Samson pulled down in his final act of strength.

There is seen in the book of Judges a consistent pattern—Israel is oppressed by a foreign power; the people cry to God and he raises up a judge to deliver them from their predicament; after peace is established the people become complacent and relapse into idolatry.

The judges, although chosen by God, to lead His people, were not always men of ideal character, yet they fulfilled God's purposes in delivering Israel. They served in a multiple role as judicial, military, and spiritual leaders. The period of the judges may be said to extend through the life of the last judge, Samuel, whose death is recorded
in 1 Samuel 25.

Quick Reference Maps - Judges

The Twelve Tribes and the Judges

Hazor

Jezreel

Mizpeh

Zorah

The Danites

Gibeah

Jabesh Gilead

 

The First Day. Light.

Judges Resources

The Judges

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