Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
That they should make.—Literally, multiply to cause to ascend. The actual words of the agreed on signal are quoted. For the word hereb (which is an imperative) some MSS. read chereb, “a sword,” and this is adopted by the LXX. (Cod. A). But the flash of a sword would not be seen at such a distance, and the word gives no good sense. Otherwise it would remind us of the shield, which was seen to flash in the sun as a traitorous signal from Athens to the Persians, just before the battle of Marathon.
A great flame with smoke.—The margin gives elevation for “flame.” It means a column of smoke, or “beacon.” (Comp. Jeremiah 6:1 : “Set up a sign of fire in Beth-haccerem.”)Judges 4:5, the exact locality here indicated, since "the highway" Judges 20:31 along which the Israelites enticed the Benjamites to pursue them, leads straight to Ramah, which lay only a mile beyond the point where the two ways branch off.
The meadows of Gibeah - The word rendered "meadow" is only found here. According to its etymology, it ought to mean a "bare open place", which is particularly unsuitable for an ambush. However, by a change in the vowel-points, without any alteration in the letters, it becomes the common word for "a cavern".
and that they should make a great flame with smoke to rise up out of the city; set it on fire, and cause the fire to burn fiercely, that there might be a large ascent of flame and smoke to be seen afar off; which, when the men of Israel saw, they would know the city was taken.Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)38. a great cloud of smoke] Omit great (hereb, an ungrammatical form) with LXX. cod. A and mss., Syr., Vulgate, as an incorrect repetition of the preceding word (’ôrçb).Judges 20:31). On the Dagesh dirimens in נתקּוּהוּ, see Ewald, 92, c.
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