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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Compare the very similar account of the rape of the Sabine women by the Romero youths at the festival of the Consualia, as related by Livy. 21, 22. daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances—The dance was anciently a part of the religious observance. It was done on festive occasions, as it is still in the East, not in town, but in the open air, in some adjoining field, the women being by themselves. The young women being alone indulging their light and buoyant spirits, and apprehensive of no danger, facilitated the execution of the scheme of seizing them, which closely resembles the Sabine rape in Roman history. The elders undertook to reconcile the families to the forced abduction of their daughters. And thus the expression of their public sanction to this deed of violence afforded a new evidence of the evils and difficulties into which the unhappy precipitancy of the Israelites in this crisis had involved them. No text from Poole on this verse.

And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family,.... The war being ended, and things settled as well as circumstances would admit of, for the preservation of the tribe of Benjamin, who were the cause of it, and had suffered so much in it; the Israelites that had met at Mizpeh, and who had not fallen in the war, returned to their respective countries, to their wives and children, and the business of their callings:

and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance; divided by lot to them, to their estates and possessions, which each had a right unto.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. departed] went their ways, as the form of the verb implies, going in this direction and that, cf. Genesis 13:17, Joshua 18:4. The first from thence may mean from Shiloh, the second, from the tribal territory to each man’s private property. Otherwise the two halves of the verse are doublets and come from different sources.

Verse 24. - Every man to his inheritance. Compare the breaking up of the national assembly in the days of Joshua (Joshua 24:28; Judges 2:6). Judges 21:24In Judges 21:24 and Judges 21:25, the account of this event is brought to a close with a twofold remark: (1) that the children of Israel, i.e., the representatives of the congregation who were assembled at Shiloh, separated and returned every man into his inheritance to his tribe and family; (2) that at that time there was no king in Israel, and every man was accustomed to do what was right in his own eyes. Whether the fathers or brothers of the virgins who had been carried off brought any complaint before the congregation concerning the raid that had been committed, the writer does not state, simply because this was of no moment so far as the history was concerned, inasmuch as, according to Judges 21:22, the complaint made no difference in the facts themselves.

(Note: "No doubt the fathers and brothers of the virgins demanded them both from the Benjaminites themselves, and also from the elders of Israel, or at any rate petitioned that the Benjaminites might be punished: but the elders replied as they had said that they should; and the persons concerned were satisfied with the answer, and so the affair was brought to a peaceable termination." - Seb. Schmidt.)

With the closing remark in Judges 21:25, however, with which the account returns to its commencement in Judges 19:1, the prophetic historian sums up his judgment upon the history in the words, "At that time every man did what was right in his own eyes, because there was no king in Israel," in which the idea is implied, that under the government of a king, who administered right and justice in the kingdom, such things could not possibly have happened. This not only refers to the conduct of the Israelites towards Benjamin in the war, the severity of which was not to be justified, but also to their conduct towards the inhabitants of Jabesh, as described in Judges 21:5. The congregation had no doubt a perfect right, when all the people were summoned to deliberate upon important matters affecting the welfare of the whole nation, to utter the "great oath" against such as failed to appear, i.e., to threaten them with death and carry out this threat upon such as were obstinate; but such a punishment as this could only be justly inflicted upon persons who were really guilty, and had rebelled against the congregation as the supreme power, and could not be extended to women and children unless they had also committed a crime deserving of death. But even if there were peculiar circumstances in the case before us, which have been passed over by our author, who restricts himself simply to points bearing upon the main purpose of the history, but which rendered it necessary that the ban should be inflicted upon all the inhabitants of Jabesh, it was at any rate an arbitrary exemption to spare all the marriageable virgins, and one which could not be justified by the object contemplated, however laudable that object might be. This also applies to the oath taken by the people, that they would not give any of their daughters as wives to the Benjaminites, as well as to the advice given by the elders to the remaining two hundred, to carry off virgins from the festival at Shiloh. However just and laudable the moral indignation may have been, which was expressed in that oath by the nation generally at the scandalous crime of the Gibeites, a crime unparalleled in Israel, and at the favour shown to the culprits by the tribe of Benjamin, the oath itself was an act of rashness, in which there was not only an utter denial of brotherly love, but the bounds of justice were broken through. When the elders of the nation came to a better state of mind, they ought to have acknowledge their rashness openly, and freed themselves and the nation from an oath that had been taken in such sinful haste. "Wherefore they would have acted far more uprightly, if they had seriously confessed their fault and asked forgiveness of God, and given permission to the Benjaminites to marry freely. In this way there would have been no necessity to cut off the inhabitants of Jabesh from their midst by cruelty of another kind" (Buddeus). But if they felt themselves bound in their consciences to keep the oath inviolably, they ought to have commended the matter to the Lord in prayer, and left it to His decision; whereas, by the advice given to the Benjaminites, they had indeed kept the oath in the letter, but had treated it in deed and truth as having no validity whatever.

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