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The Israelites


Defeat the Benjamites.

sound with the

house of God, and the other to Gibeah

the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: in the field, about thirty men of Israel.

and the children of Israel destroyed of (82) And the children of Benjamin said, 10r, made a long the Benjamites that day twenty and five They are smitten down before us, as at

thousand and an hundred men: all these the first. But the children of Israel

drew the sword. said, Let us flee, and draw them from

(36) So the children of Benjamin saw the city unto the highways. (33) And all

that they were smitten: for the men the men of Israel rose up out of their

of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, place, and put themselves in array at

because they trusted unto the liers in Baal-tamar: and the liers in wait of

wait which they had set beside Gibeah. Israel came forth out of their places,

(37) And the liers in wait hasted, and even out of the meadows of Gibeah.

rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in (34) And there came against Gibeah ten

wait Idrew themselves along, and smote thousand chosen men out of all Israel,

all the city with the edge of the sword. and the battle was sore: but they knew

(38) Now there was an appointed ?sign not that evil was near them. (35) And

between the men of Israel 3 and the liers

2 Or, time.

3 Heb., with

and rear.

one led to Bethel, and the other to a place which, “meadows" may have been concealed from the town by to distinguish it from Gibeah, seems to have been called intervening rocks. In Isa. xix. 7 aroth means “pastures. “Gibeah in the field.” In this feigned flight thirty

(34) Ten thousand chosen men.- Though the Israelites were killed. “Gibeah in the field ” seems to verse is obscurely expressed, the meaning probably is be Jeba, and the main road from Gibeah (Tuleil el Fül), that this was the number of the ambuscade of picked at about a mile's distance from the hill, branches off warriors. If it means that this was the Israelite force into two, of which one leads to Beitin (Bethel), and left after the slaughter of 40,000, we are not told the the other to Jeba (“Gibeah in the field”).

number of the ambush. The highways. — (Mesilloth.) Roads like the The battle was sore.-It would be a battle in Roman viae regiae, regularly built.

which the Benjamites were now attacked both in front (32) Said, Let us flee.- In a later historical style the plan of the feigned flight would have been mentioned But.-Rather, and. earlier.

They knew not that evil was near them Unto the highways. – This would have the -i.e., as we should say, “ that the hour of their ruin had double effect of allowing the ambuscade to cut off their come,” or, as the Vulg. has it, quod ex omni parte illis retreat, and of dividing their forces at the point where instaret interitus, " that destruction was threatening the roads branched off.

them on every side.” (Comp. Isa. xlvii. 10.) (33) Put themselves in array at Baal-tamar. (35) Destroyed of the Benjamites -This is either a detail added out of place (so that we Here again we have a summary of the final result, might almost suppose that there has been some acci. followed by details, in a manner which proves either dental transposition of clauses), or it means that when that the narrative was compiled from various sources the Israelites in their pretended rout had got as far (one of which seems to have been a poem), or that it was as Baal-tamar (“ Lord of the Palm ”) they saw the penned before the “ periodic style” of history (lexis appointed smoke-signal of the ambuscade, and at that katestrammene) had been invented. If written con. point rallied against their pursuers.

What makes this secutively, and not compiled, the writer must have been probable is that Baal-tamar can only have derived its one whose method bore the same resemblance to that of name from some famous, and therefore isolated, palm- later writers, as the style of Hellanicus did to that of tree. Now there was exactly such a palm-tree-the well- Herodotus and Thucydides. It is the style to which known “ Palm of Deborah (see Note on chap. iv. 5) - Roman writers would have applied the epithet incon“between Ramah and Bethel," and therefore at a little ditus—the style of the oldest annals. Verses 36–46 distance from the spot where the roads branch. The are not, as has been conjectured by some writers, necesplace was still called Bathamar in the days of Eusebius sarily a different account of the battle, but contain a and Jerome. The Chaldee rendering, " in the plains of loose assemblage of details, which has been added to Jericho " ("the palm city,” chap. i. 16), is singularly explain the general result.

(36) That they were smitten.-The" they” refers. Out of the meadows of Gibeah.— The word to the Israelites. The rest of the verse gives the reason maareh, rendered “meadows,” occurs nowhere else. for the feigned flight. Some derive it from arah,“ to strip.” The LXX., not (37) Results of the ambuscade. (Comp. Josh. viii. 15, understanding it, render it as a name, Maraagabe, and 19, 20.) in Cod. A (following a different reading), “ from the Drew themselves along.-The marginal suggeswest of Gibeah,” as also does the Vulg. Rashi renders tion, made a long sound with the trumpet, is untenable. it, “because of the stripping of Gibeah,” and Buxtorf, (See chap. iv. 6.) “after the stripping of Gibeah.” It is, however, clear With the edge of the sword.-See chap. i. 8; that the words are in apposition to and in explanation Josh. viii. 24. of “out of their places. The Syriac and Arabic un. (38) The signal which had been agreed upon. derstand maareh to mean “a cave” or “caves,” printing That they should make.—Literally, multiply to it maarah instead of maareh. Similarly the reading cause to ascend. The actual words of the agreed on “from the west ” only involves the change of a single signal are quoted. For the word hereb (which is an letter (maarab). If the text be left unaltered, the i imperative) some MSS. read chereb, “a sword,” and. Great Slaughter One Tribe



of the Benjamites.





in wait, that they should make a great 1 Heb, elevation. bover against Gibeah toward the sun1 flame with smoke rise up out of the

rising. (4) And there fell of Benjamin city. (39) And when the men of Israel 2 Hch., to smite the eighteen thousand men; all these were retired in the battle, Benjamin began

men of valour. (45) And they turned and % to smite and kill of the men of Israel

fled toward the wilderness unto the rock about thirty persons : for they said, suer, the whole of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them Surely they are smitten down before us,

in the highways five thousand men; and as in the first battle. (40) But when the

pursued hard after them unto Gidom, flame began to arise up out of the city 4.1ev., and slew two thousand men of them. with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites

(16) So that all which fell that day of Benlooked behind them, and, behold, the

jamin were twenty and five thousand flame of the city ascended up to heaven. sor, from Menu- men that drew the sword; all these (41) And when the men of Israel turned

were men of valour. (47) a But six hunagain, the men of Benjamin were amazed:

dred men turned and fled to the wilderfor they saw that evil 4 was come upon 6 Heh., unto over ness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode them. (42) Therefore they turned their

in the rock Rimmon four months. backs before the men of Israel unto the

(48) And the men of Israel turned again way of the wilderness; but the battle a ch. 21. 13 upon the children of Benjamin, and overtook them; and them which came

smote them with the edge of the sword, out of the cities they destroyed in the

as well the men of every city, as the midst of them. (43) Thus they inclosed

beast, and all that I came to hand : also the Benjamites round about, and chased

they set on fire all the cities that they them, and trode them down 5 with ease * Heb., were found. came to.

chak, &c.


7 Heb., was found.

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this is adopted by the LXX. (Cod. A). But the flash With ease.-There is no “ with” in the Hebrew, of a sword would not be seen at such a distance, and but perhaps it may be understood. The LXX. and the word gives no good sense. Otherwise it would Luther make it mean “from Noria.” Others render remind us of the shield, which was seen to flash in the it" in their rest,” i.e., in the places to which they fled sun as a traitorous signal from Athens to the Persians, for refuge. The Vulg; paraphrases it : “ Nor was just before the battle of Marathon.

there any repose of the dying.” But the whole verse A great flame with smoke.-The margin gives

is obscure. elevation for “flame.” It means a columu of smoke, (45) Unto the rock of Rimmon-i.e., of the or“ beacon.” (Comp. Jer. vi. 1: Set up a sign of fire pomegranate. As the tree is common in Palestine in Beth-haccerem.”)

(Num. xx. 25 ; Deut. viii. 8, &e.), the name is naturally (39) And when the men of Israel retired.

There was one Rimmon in Zebulon (Josh. This merely repeats with more graphic details the fact xix. 13), another in Judah (Josh. xv. 32), south of Jerualready mentioned in verse 31. The “when” should salem (Zech. xiv. 10; and see Josh. xxi. 25; Neh. xi. 29). be omitted, and from “ Benjamin began to the end This Rimmon is a steep conical hill of white limestone of the next verse is parenthetic.

(Robinson, i. 440), not far from Gibeah, and fifteen (10) When the flame began to arise up.- miles north of Jerusalem, six miles east of Bethel Rather, when the column (of smoke), as in verse 38. (" towards the sun-rising”). It is still called Rimmon.

The flame of the city.-Literally, the whole of the They gleaned.-A metaphor from the vintage, like city-i.e., the universal conflagration-a very powerful the “trode down” of verse 43. (See Jer. vi. 9: "They expression. (LXX., TUVTé ela Tîs rólews.)

shall glean the remnant of Israel as a vine.”) (41) And when the men of Israel turned Unto Gidom.- A place entirely unknown, and again.-Another detail of the rally described in verse hence omitted in the Vulg. 33, and its effect (verse 34).

(16) Twenty and five thousand men.-Eighteen (42) Unto the way of the wilderness.-The thousand killed in battle, + 5,000 on the paved roads wilderness is that known as “ the wilderness of Beth- (mesilloth), + 2,000 near Rimmon, + 600 survivors, aven” (Josh. xviii. 12). It is described in Josh. xvi. as makes 25,600. But as the Benjamites were 26,700 (see

the wilderness that goeth up from Jericho throughout verse 15), either the total in verse 15 is wrong, or we Mount Bethel.” (See Robinson, Bibl. Res. i. 572.) The must make the much more natural supposition that first thought of fugitives in Eastern Palestine was to 1,000 Benjamites, as against 40,000 Israelites (which get to one of the fords of the Jordan (2 Sam. xv. 23; would only be 1 to 36), had fallen in the two first 2 Kings xxv. 4, 5).

battles. Them which came out of the cities they (17) In the rock Rimmon. This may be quite destroyed in the midst of them.-This obscure literally taken, for there are four large caverns in the clause is rendered differently in different versions. If hill. the English Version be correct, as it probably is, the (48) As well the men of every city, as the meaning must be that the Benjamites fled to their own beast.-The phrase is literally, from the city, men down cities, and were pursued thither and slain by the to beast, reading methim, “men,” for methom,“ entire.” Israelites.

The dreadful meaning which lies beyond these short and (43) A strong and poetic description of the total rout simple words is the absolute extermination of a whole and massacre which ensued.


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Lacking in Israel.

CHAPTER XXI.-(1) Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. (2) And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore; (3) and said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel? (4) And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

(5) And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel

that came not up with the congregation
unto the LORD ? For they had made a
great oath concerning him that came
not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying,
He shall surely be put to death. (6) And
the children of Israel repented them for
Benjamin their brother, and said, There
is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.
(7) How shall we do for wives for them
that remain, seeing we have sworn by
the Lord that we will not give them of
our daughters to wives ?

(8) And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up

to Mizpeh to the LORD ? And, behold, there came none to the camp from

AND CATTLE, with the exception of 600 fugitives. One tribe lacking.-The number twelve had an There is something almost inconceivably horrible and almost mystic significance, and is always preserved in appalling in the thought of thousands of poor women reckoning up the tribes, whether Levi is included or and innocent children ruthlessly butchered in cold excluded. blood in this internecine war between brother Israelites. (4) Built there an altar.-We find David doing The whole tribe were placed under the ban of extirpa- the same at the threshing-floor of Araunah (2 Sam. xxiv. tion, as though they had been Canaanites, just as mer. 25), and Solomon at Gibeon. Unless the entire tabercilessly as Sihon and his people had been extirpated nacle had, for the time, been removed to Bethel, there (Deut. ii. 34, xüi. 15, 16), or Jericho (Josh. vi. 17, 21), was no regular altar there. It has been suggested that or Ai (Josh. viii. 25, 26). Their feelings were doubtless in any case this altar must have been necessitated by exasperated by the fearful destruction which Benjamin the multitude of sacrifices required for the holocausts had inflicted upon them, as well as by religious horror and the food of the people. (See Note on chap. xx. 26.) at the conduct of the tribe; and for the rest, we can Probably there is some other reason unknown to us. only say that “the times of this ignorance God winked (5) Who is there. ?—This verse is anticipatory at. The good side of the deed lies in its motive: it of verse 8. expressed an intense horror against moral pollution. They had made a great oath.-Another detail The evil side lay in its ruthless savagery. In both which has been omitted up to this point. The spirit of aspects it agrees both with the recorded and the tra- this cherem was exactly the same as that which we find ditional character of Phinehas (Num. xxv. 8, xxxi. 6). in chap. v. 23: “Curse ye Meroz . . . because they came (See Note on chap. xi. 39.)

not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord

against the mighty.” Now that these victories had XXI.

been so complete, they probably were sick with slaughter, 1–7. Remorse of the Israelites at the extirpation of

and would not have inquired after any defaulters but a tribe in consequence of their oath not to give their

by way of finding an expedient to mollify the meaning daughters in marriage to the Benjamites. 8–15. Ex

of their rash oath. We see once more in this narrative pedient of destroying Jabesh-Gilead to furnish wives both the force derivable from a vow and the folly and from thence. 16–25. As there was still an insufficient wickedness of fierce vows rashly taken in moments number of wives, they persuade the Benjamites to seize

of passion. It is obvious that the direct meaning of the the virgins of Shiloh at a sacred dance.

vow, taken in connection with the curse under which

they had placed the Benjamites, had been to annihilate (1) Had sworn.-The circumstance has not been the tribe. mentioned in the account of the proceedings at Mizpeh. (8) There came none to the camp from JabeshIt is clear from the sequel (verse 18) that the oath was gilead.-Jabesh-Gilead, which Josephus calls the me. not only an oath but "a vow under a curse," as in Acts tropolis of Gilead (Antt. vi. 5, § 1), is probably to be xxiii. 14.

identified with the ruins now called El-Deir in the (2) To the house of God.-Rather, to Bethel, as in Wady Yabes (Robinson, ii. 319). It was six miles from chap. xx. 18, 27.

Pella, on the top of a hill which lies on the road from Wept sore. As after their defeat (chap. xx. 26); Pella to Gerasa. For some reason with which we are but this time they were remorseful for the fate of those unacquainted, there seems to have been a bond of intense whom they were then pledged to destroy,

sympathy between the inhabitants of this town and (3) Why is this come to pass :

P_This is not Benjamin. If their abstinence from the assembly of so much an inquiry into the cause, which was indeed too vengeance was not due to this, we must suppose that patent, but a wail of regret, implying a prayer to be the sort of companionship in misery caused by these enlightened as to the best means of averting the calamity. wild events itself created a sense of union between these The repetition of the name " Israel” three times shows communities, for it is the peril of Jabesh which first that the nation had not yet lost its sense of corporate arouses King Saul to action (1 Sam. xi.), and in unity, often as that unity had been rent asunder by their memory of the deliverance which he effected the men civis dissensions. Their wild justice is mingled with a of Jabesh alone save the bodies of Saul and Jonathan still wilder mercy.

from the indignity of rotting on the wall of Bethshan

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lying with man.

The Virgins of Jabesh-Gilead


Taken by the Benjamites. Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. (9) For " Num. 31. 17. brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, the people were numbered, and, behold,

which is in the land of Canaan. there were none of the inhabitants of

(13) And the whole congregation sent Jabesh-gilead there. (10) And the con- eh, knoweth thi some 3 to speak to the children of Bengregation sent thither twelve thousand

jamin that were in the rock Rimmon, men of the valiantest, and commanded

and to *call peaceably unto them. (14)And them, saying, Go and smite the inhabi

Benjamin came again at that time; and tants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of 2 Mehr voung co- they gave them wives which they had the sword, with the women and the chil

saved alive of the women of Jabeshdren. (11) And this is the thing that ye

gilead : and yet so they sufficed them shall do, « Ye shall utterly destroy every

not. (15) And the people repented them male, and every woman that hath lains will calcio. poti for Benjamin, because that the LORD by man. (12) And they found among the

had made a breach in the tribes of inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hun

Israel. dred "young virgins, that had known no

(16) Then the elders of the congregation man by lying with any male : and they

said, How shall we do for wives

for them

men virgine,

4 Or, proclaim


was in.

(1 Sam. xxxi. 11), which gained them the blessing of Which is in the land of Canaan.-We find David (2 Sam. ii. 5, 6). We see from these later in. the same addition in Josh. xxi. 2, xxi. 9. Perhaps cidents that Jabesh recovered from the extermination there was another Shiloh on the east of the Jordan; but now inflicted on its inhabitants.

see Note on verse 19. The mere fact of Jabesh being (9) For the people were numbered. - It is in Gilead does not seem sufficient to account for it. doubtful whether this implies another numbering besides (13) To call peaceably-i.e., proclaim peace. that at Mizpeh (chap. xx. 1–17). In the tale which had (14) Came again-i.e., returned to their desolate then been made up, the absence of inhabitants of a single towns. town might for the present escape notice. It would be Yet so they sufficed them not.-There would sufficient now merely to refer to the lists then made still be 200 Benjamites left without wives. (chap. xx. 1–17).

(15) The Lord had made a breach.-The breach (105 Twelve thousand men.-The Vulgate has (perets, 1 Kings xi. 24) had been caused by their own 10,000, but it is doubtless meant to imply that each headstrong fury and unreasoning passion, even though tribe sent a thousand“ valiant men” (Gen. xlvii. 6, &c.), it had been in a righteous cause; but in the Hebrew as in the war against the Midianites, in which Balaam conception the results even of man's sin and follies is was slain and at which Phinehas had been present (Num. referred to Jehovah as overruled by Him (Amos iii. 6; xxxi. 6).

Isa. xlv. 7). It was therefore needless, and not quite (11) Ye shall utterly destroy.— The verb is honest of St. Jerome in the Vulg., to omit “the Lord.” tacharîmâ-i.e., Ye shall place under the ban (cherem), (16) How shall we do ...?- They want to keep ye shall devote to destruction. The words of the their vow in the letter, while they break it in the spirit. cherem are almost identical with those of the indignant The sense of the binding nature of the “ ban command of Moses after the war with Midian alluded tensely strong (Exod. xx. 7; Ezek. xvii. 18, 19), but, as to in the last verse (Num. xxxi. 17, 18), and there the is so often the case among rude and ignorant people, same exception is made. (Comp. Lev. xxvii. 21–28; they fancied that it was sufficient to keep it literally, Num. xxi. 2, 3.) The words are easy to read; it is while in effect they violated it. Similarly in Herodotus needless to dwell on the horror of the massacre which (chap. iv. 154), Themison having sworn to throw Phrothey describe. We are dealing throughout with the nima into the sea—the intention having been that she fierce passions of men living in times of gross spiritual should be drowned-feels himself bound to throw her darkness; for we cannot doubt that the oath against into the sea, but has her drawn out of it again. Their Jabesh-Gilead was carried out, though the writer drops want of moral enlightenment revealed itself in this

way, a veil over all but the result. The vow of destruction and still more in having ever taken this horrible oath, (cherem, anathema, Lev. xxvii. 28, 29) was quite different which involved the butchery of innocent men, and of still from the vow of devotion (neder) and the row of absti. more innocent women and children. In point of fact, nence (corban).

the cherem often broke down under the strain which it (12) They brought them. - It can hardly be placed on men's best feelings (1 Sam. xiv. 45) as well as doubted that the “them ” means the young virgins, on their lower temptations. The guilt of breaking a although the pronoun is masculine (otham), as in verse guilty vow is only the original guilt of ever having made 22. If so, the idiom is like the Greek one in which a it. What the Israelites should have done was not to woman speaking of herself in the plural uses the mas. bathe their hands in more rivers of fraternal blood, but culine (Brief Greek Syntax, p. 61). There is no other to pray to God to forgive the brutal vehemence which trace of this idiom in Hebrew, but we can hardly suppose disgraced a cause originally_righteous, and to have that many Jabesh-Gileadite captives were brought to allowed the remnant of the Benjamites to intermarry Shiloh, and then put to death in cold blood in accordance with them once more. As it was, they were led by with the ban.

ignorance and rashness into several vows which could Unto the camp to Shiloh.—The Israelites, now not be fulfilled without horrible crnelty and bloodshed, that the war with Benjamin was over, appear to have and the fulfilment of which they after all casuistically moved their stationary camp to Shiloh, the normal and evaded, and that at the cost of still more bloodshed. more central seat of the tabernacle at this period (chap. As all these events took place under the guidance of xvii. 31).

Phinehas, they give us a high estimate indeed of the Wives Taken from


the Daughters of Shiloh.

that remain, seeing the women are de- en from year, they commanded the children of Benjastroyed out of Benjamin ? (17) And they

min, saying, Go and lie in wait in the said, There must be an inheritance for

vineyards; (21) and see, and, behold, if them that be escaped of Benjamin, that

the daughters of Shiloh come out to a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.

dance in dances, then come ye out of (18) Howbeit, we may not give them wives - suurisongards the the vineyards, and catch you every man of our daughters : for the children of

his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he

go to the land of Benjamin. (22) And it that giveth a wife to Benjamin.

shall be, when their fathers or their (19) Then they said, Behold, there is a

brethren come unto us to complain, that feast of the Lord in Shiloh yearly in a

we will say unto them, Be favourable place which is on the north side of Beth

unto them for our sakes : because we el, on the east side of the highway that

reserved not to each man his wife in goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and

the war : for ye did not give unto them on the south of Lebonah. (20) Therefore * 07: Gratify us in at this time, that ye should be guilty.

3 Or, on

zeal which was his noblest characteristic (Ps. cvi. 30), interesting description was added, which has alone yet a very low estimate of his state of spiritual insight; enabled us to identify Shiloh in the modern Seilún. and clearly to such a man the fulfilment of Jephthah's South of Lebonah.-Lebonah, now Lubban, is cherem by sacrificing his daughter (see Note on chap. xi. not mentioned elsewhere. 39) would have seemed as nothing compared to the exter- (20) They commanded.-Rather, they gave notice. mination of tribes and of cities, involving the shedding This is the keri or marginal reading of the Hebrew; of rivers of innocent blood. But why should we sup- the kethib, or written text, has the verb in the singular, pose that the grandson of Aaron, in such times as these in which case we must take it impersonally, “ It was -when all was anarchy, idolatry, and restlessness, bidden,” and suppose that some leading personageagainst which he either did not strive or strove most probably Phinehas, the impress of whose character ineffectually-should stand on so much higher a level and reminiscences is observable throughout - is the than his schismatical and semi-idolatrous cousin, the speaker. wandering grandson of Moses ?

(11) To dance in dances.-Possibly the dances of (17) There must be an inheritance.-Rather, the vintage festival. There is a fountain in a narrow possession of the remnant shall be for Benjamin, dale, at a little distance from Shiloh, which was very i.e., We will leave untouched their land and possessions. probably the scene of this event. It is a needless con. “We give you leave to take the whole land of Benjaminjecture that the feast was the Passover, and the dances to yourselves.” (Jos. Antt. v. 3, § 12).

a commemoration of the defeat of the Egyptians, like That a tribe be not destroyed.- Benjamin those of Miriam. There seems to have been no regular never quite recovered this crushing blow. Even town at Shiloh; at least, no extensive ruins are traceable. though it furnished the second judge (Ehud) and the It was probably a community like the Beth-Micah (see first king (Saul) to Israel, and was advantageously Note on chap. xviii. 2), which was mainly connected situated,

and was often honoured by the residence of with the service of the Tabernacle. The“ daughters of Samuel, it became a mere satellite to the more powerful Shiloh ” would naturally include many women who were tribe of Judah. Perhaps in the quiescence and per. in one way or other employed in various functions about manence derived from the close association with its the Tabernacle, and not only those who came there to powerful neighbour we see in part the fulfilment of the worship (1 Sam. ii. 22, where “assembled ” should be blessing in Deut. xxxiii. 12.

rendered served, as in Num. iv. 23; "the handmaid ” (19) Ă feast of the Lord in Shiloh.-It is un. of the priests is mentioned in 2 Sam. xvii. 17). But the likely that the reference is to a local feast; but it is im- traces of female attendants in the sanctuary are more possible to say which of the three yearly feasts is meant. numerous in Jewish traditions than in Scripture. The most natural would be the Feast of Tabernacles. Catch you every man his wife.- The scene We see from 1 Sam. i. 3 that even among pious families is very analogous to the famous seizure of the Sabine the trying custom of going up to the Tabernacle three women at the Consnalia, as described in Liv, i. 9. St. times a year had fallen into complete abeyance.

Jerome (adv. Jovin, i. $ 41) quotes another parallel A place which is on the north side of from the history of Aristomenes of Messene, who once, Beth-el...-This elaborate description of the site in a similar way, seized fifteen Spartan maidens, who of Shiloh, a place which is so often mentioned else- were dancing at the Hyacinthia, and escaped with them. where without any addition, is extremely curious. There (22) Be favourable unto them for our sakes.can be little doubt that it is due to the marginal gloss Rather, Present them (otham, masc., as in verse 12) to of some Masoretic scribe, perhaps in the editing of the us; or (as in the margin), Gratify us in them. The sacred books by Ezra. That it is a gloss seems clear, verse is somewhat obscure, but its general drift is a because it comes in as a parenthesis in the speech of the promise to pacify the parents of the damsels, by showing elders, and, of course, in their day such a description was them that thus they did not violate the cherem, and that needless. Indeed, it was spoken at Shiloh itself, and the cause was pressing. Perhaps they would be more the site was well known to all Israel. But by the time readily consoled, because the land of these six hundred that the story was committed to writing in the days of Benjamites must now have been far more than was ne. the kings, or finally edited in the days of Ezra, Shiloh cessary

for their wants. They had become possessors of had long been desolate, and probably the very site was the lot of the whole tribe. Perhaps the reading should unknown to thousands. Hence this very valuable and be, Gratify us as regards these damsels, for they (the

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