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O. T. Commentary - Judges (Judges 20:19-48)

Robert E. Bell, 02/09/2020
Part of the Old Testament Commentary series, presented at a Sunday Morning service

Today's Old Testament Commentary is from Judges 20:19-48

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Judges 20:19-48

19And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah. 20And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. 21And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men. 22And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. 23(And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him.) 24And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. 25And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. 26Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 27And the children of Israel inquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand. 29And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah. 30And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. 31And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first. But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways. 33And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baal-tamar: and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah. 34And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore: but they knew not that evil was near them. 35And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword. 36So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten: for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted unto the liers in wait which they had set beside Gibeah. 37And the liers in wait hasted, and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in wait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword. 38Now 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. 39And 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. 40But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven. 41And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them. 42Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them. 43Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising. 44And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valour. 45And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them. 46So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valour. 47But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months. 48And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to. (KJV)

Robert E. Bell
About Robert E. Bell: Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bob grew up in Rhode Island where his father pastored the same church for almost 50 years. The oldest of five sons, Bob attended Philadelphia College of Bible and graduated with a B.S. degree in Bible and Christian Education in 1973. He earned his M.A. in Christian Ministry from Wheaton College Graduate School in 1974. After marrying, Bob and his wife Melody moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His first full-time church ministry was at Westminster Presbyterian Church where he served as the assistant-to-the-pastor and later as an elder. Daughter Alison arrived in July 1977 and son Andrew in March of 1981. In August of 1981 the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where Bob enrolled in Covenant Theological Seminary and graduated with his M.Div. degree in 1984. While in seminary he served as the Church Administrator while their church was without a pastor and then worked as an Admissions Counselor for the Seminary. Their son Aaron was born soon after graduation. Bob has since served churches in Ruston, Louisiana and St. Peters, Missouri. He has been the pastor of Aisquith since December 1994. His two oldest children are married and live in the Baltimore area. He and Melody have seven grandchildren.
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