Judges 20:39
And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39) And when the men of Israel retired.—This merely repeats with more graphic details the fact already mentioned in Judges 20:31. The “when” should be omitted, and from “Benjamin began” to the end of the next verse is parenthetic.

17:7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God's favour to him and his images, that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.Baal-tamar is only mentioned here. It took its name from some palm-tree that grew there; perhaps the same as the "palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel" 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".

34. there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men—This was a third division, different both from the ambuscade and the army, who were fighting at Baal-tamar. The general account stated in Jud 20:35 is followed by a detailed narrative of the battle, which is continued to the end of the chapter. No text from Poole on this verse. And when the men of Israel retired in the battle,.... Which is before expressed by their fleeing, and giving place to the Benjaminites, and was only an artifice of theirs, to draw them off from the city:

Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons; which was done in the highways leading to Shiloh and Gibeah in the field, Judges 20:31.

for they said, surely they are smitten down before us as in the first battle; when the greater number of the Israelites were slain by them.

And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to {s} smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle.

(s) For they had grown bold because of the two former victories.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
39. And the men of Israel turned] The turn, however, does not come properly till Jdg 20:41. Read with a slight change and that the men of I. should turn, as part of the appointed sign; Jdg 20:38 will then end with in the battle. The marg. may thus be disregarded.

and Benjamin etc.] A parallel version of Jdg 20:31-32.Carrying out this plan, "all the men of Israel rose up from their places," i.e., left the place they had occupied, drew back, "and set themselves in battle array" in Baal-thamar, i.e., palm-place, which still existed, according to the Onom., in the time of Eusebius, as a small place in the neighbourhood of Gibeah, bearing the name of Bethamar. While this was going on, the ambush of Israel broke forth from its position "from the plains of Geba." The ἁπ. λεγ. מערה, from ערה to strip, denotes a naked region destitute of wood. גּבע is the masculine form for גּבעה, and ממּערה־גבע a more precise definition of ממּקומו. This rendering, which is the one given in the Targum, certainly appears the simplest explanation of a word that has been rendered in very different ways, and which the lxx left untranslated as a proper name, Μαρααγαβέ. The objection raised to this, viz., that a naked level country was not a place for an ambush, has no force, as there is no necessity to understand the words as signifying that the treeless country formed the actual hiding-place of the ambush; but the simple meaning is, that when the men broke from their hiding-place, they came from the treeless land towards the town. The rendering given by Rashi, Trem., and others, "on account of the tripping of Gibeah," is much less suitable, since, apart from the difficulty of taking מן in different senses so close together, we should at least expect to find העיר (the city) instead of גּבע.
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