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Judges 21:16 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And the elders of the assembly said, What shall we do for wives for them that remain? for the women have been destroyed out of Benjamin.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— So then, the elders of the assembly said, What are we to do for them who remain, for wives,—for womankind, hath been destroyed out of Benjamin?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And the elders of the company say, 'What do we do to the remnant for wives—for the women have been destroyed out of Benjamin?'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And the ancients said: What shall we do with the rest, that have not received wives? for all the women in Benjamin are dead.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Then the Elders of the Congregation said, How shall we doe for wiues for them that remaine? seeing the women are destroyed out of Beniamin.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And the elders of the congregation said, What shall we do for wives for them that remain? for the women have been destroyed out of Benjamin.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Binyamin?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Then the elders 2205
{2205} Prime
זָקֵן
zaqen
{zaw-kane'}
From H2204; old.
of the congregation 5712
{5712} Prime
עֵדָה
`edah
{ay-daw'}
Feminine of H5707 in the original sense of fixture; a stated assemblage (specifically a concourse, or generally a family or crowd).
said, 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
How x4100
(4100) Complement
מָּה
mah
{maw}
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
shall we do 6213
{6213} Prime
עָשָׂה
`asah
{aw-saw'}
A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application.
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
for wives 802
{0802} Prime
אִשָּׁה
'ishshah
{ish-shaw'}
The first form is the feminine of H0376 or H0582; the second form is an irregular plural; a woman (used in the same wide sense as H0582).
for them that remain, 3498
{3498} Prime
יָתַר
yathar
{yaw-thar'}
A primitive root; to jut over or exceed; by implication to excel; (intransitively) to remain or be left; causatively to leave, cause to abound, preserve.
z8737
<8737> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 793
seeing x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
the women 802
{0802} Prime
אִשָּׁה
'ishshah
{ish-shaw'}
The first form is the feminine of H0376 or H0582; the second form is an irregular plural; a woman (used in the same wide sense as H0582).
are destroyed 8045
{8045} Prime
שָׁמַד
shamad
{shaw-mad'}
A primitive root; to desolate.
z8738
<8738> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 1429
out of Binyämîn בִּניָמִין? 1144
{1144} Prime
בִּנְיָמִן
Binyamiyn
{bin-yaw-mene'}
From H1121 and H3225; son of (the) right hand; Binjamin, youngest son of Jacob; also the tribe descended from him, and its territory.
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Judges 21:16

_ _ Judges 21:16-21. The elders consult how to find wives for those that were left.

_ _ the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain — Though the young women of Jabesh-gilead had been carefully spared, the supply was found inadequate, and some other expedient must be resorted to.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Judges 21:16-25

_ _ We have here the method that was taken to provide the 200 Benjamites that remained with wives. And, though the tribe was reduced to a small number, they were only in care to provide each man with one wife, not with more under pretence of multiplying them the faster. They may not bestow their daughters upon them, but to save their oath, and yet marry some of their daughters to them, they put them into a way of taking them by surprise, and marrying them, which should be ratified by their parents' consent, ex post factoafterwards. The less consideration is used before the making of a vow, the more, commonly, there is need of afterwards for the keeping of it.

_ _ I. That which gave an opportunity for the doing of this was a public ball at Shiloh, in the fields, at which all the young ladies of that city and the parts adjacent that were so disposed met to dance, in honour of a feast of the Lord then observed, probably the feast of tabernacles (Judges 21:19), for that feast (bishop Patrick says) was the only season wherein the Jewish virgins were allowed to dance, and that not so much for their own recreation as to express their holy joy, as David when he danced before the ark, otherwise the present melancholy posture of public affairs would have made dancing unseasonable, as Isaiah 22:12, Isaiah 22:13. The dancing was very modest and chaste. It was not mixed dancing; no men danced with these daughters of Shiloh, nor did any married women so far forget their gravity as to join with them. However their dancing thus in public made them an easy prey to those that had a design upon them, whence bishop Hall observes that the ambushes of evil spirits carry away many souls from dancing to a fearful desolation.

_ _ II. The elders of Israel gave authority to the Benjamites to do this, to lie in wait in the vineyards which surrounded the green they used to dance on, and, when they were in the midst of their sport, to come upon them, and catch every man a wife for himself, and carry them straight away to their own country, Judges 21:20, Judges 21:21. They knew that none of their own daughters would be there, so that the parents of these virgins could not be said to give them, for they knew nothing of the matter. A sorry salvo is better than none, to save the breaking of an oath: it were much better to be cautious in making vows, that there be not occasion afterwards, as there was here, to say before the angel that it was an error. Here was a very preposterous way of match-making, when both the mutual affection of the young people and the consent of the parents must be presumed to come after; the case was extraordinary, and may by no means be drawn into a precedent. Over hasty marriages often occasion a leisurely repentance; and what comfort can be expected from a match made either by force or fraud? The virgins of Jabesh-Gilead were taken out of the midst of blood and slaughter, but these of Shiloh out of the midst of mirth and joy; the former had reason to be thankful that they had their lives for a prey, and the latter, it is to be hoped, had no cause to complain, after a while, when they found themselves matched, not to men of broken and desperate fortunes, as they seemed to be, who were lately fetched out of a cave, but to men of the best and largest estates in the nation, as they must needs be when the lot of the whole tribe of Benjamin, which consisted of 45,600 men (Numbers 26:41), came to be divided again among 600, who had all by survivorship.

_ _ III. They undertook to pacify the fathers of these young women. As to the infringement of their paternal authority, they would easily forgive it when they considered to what fair estates their daughters were matched and what mothers in Israel they were likely to be; but the oath they were bound by, not to give their daughters to Benjamites, might perhaps stick with some of them, whose consciences were tender, yet, as to that, this might satisfy them: — 1. That the necessity was urgent (Judges 21:22): We reserved not to each man his wife, owning now that they did ill to destroy all the women, and desiring to atone for their too rigorous construction of their vow to destroy them by the most favourable construction of their vow not to match with them. “And therefore for our sakes, who were too severe, let them keep what they have got.” For, 2. In strictness it was not a breach of their vow; they had sworn not to give them their daughters, but they had not sworn to fetch them back if they were forcibly taken, so that if there was any fault the elders must be responsible, not the parents. And Quod fieri non debuit, factum valetThat which ought not to have been done is yet valid when it is done. The thing was done, and is ratified only by connivance, according to the law, Numbers 30:4.

_ _ Lastly, In the close of all we have, 1. The settling of the tribe of Benjamin again. The few that remained returned to the inheritance of that tribe, Judges 21:23. And soon after from among them sprang Ehud, who was famous in his generation, the second judge of Israel, Judges 3:15. 2. The disbanding and dispersing of the army of Israel, Judges 21:24. They did not set up for a standing army, nor pretend to make any alterations or establishments in the government; but when the affair was over for which they were called together, they quietly departed in God's peace, every man to his family. Public services must not make us think ourselves above our own private affairs and the duty of providing for our own house. 3. A repetition of the cause of these confusions, Judges 21:25. Though God was their King, every man would be his own master, as if there was no king. Blessed be God for magistracy.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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