Bible study 231 – Judges 21: “The Benjaminite War 3 – Supplying wives”

The Israelites feel bad for having more or less annihilated the entire tribe of Benjamin — all they did was rape one woman, after all. The Israelites want to repopulate Benjamin, but since all 600 survivors are male, they need to find them wives first. They manage to supply 400 virgins from Jabesh-gilead, a city which conveniently did not participate in the slaughter of Benjamin, and which is therefore a legitimate target for slaughter itself (everyone apart from the kidnapped virgins are murdered). For the last 200 brides, all pretenses of legitimacy are thrown away, and the Israelites straight out tell the Benjaminite soldiers to kidnap women from a random city in the north (Shiloh) which hasn’t done anything wrong.

At the start of Judges, Israel was a newly conquered and prosperous land divided between 12 vibrant tribes. A few generations later, though, the land is mess of apostasy and violence. As Judges ends, the reader can’t help but feel that the country might have been better off with a unified monarchy under one king — preferably from the valiant tribe of Judah, and certainly not from the Sodomite tribe of Benjamin.

Judges 21:21
“… when the young women of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and each of you carry off a wife for himself from the young women of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. (…)”

Full text.


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