Shof'tim (Judges) Chapter 20

The corresponding letter to this chapter is Shin – Divine power; provision; protection

Shof’tim 20:1-2 Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Be’er-sheva, including the land of Gil’ad, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the L-RD at Mitzpah. And the chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of G-d, 400,000-foot soldiers who drew the sword.

This is a continuation of the story we read in the previous chapter. After receiving a piece of the concubines body and hearing the story the nation of Israel was outraged and they came together to decide what should be done to the men of Giv’ah.

Shof’tim 20:3-7 (Now the sons of Binyamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mitzpah.) And the sons of Israel said, "Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?" So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, "I came with my concubine to spend the night at Giv’ah which belongs to Binyamin. But the men of Giv’ah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me; instead, they ravished my concubine so that she died. And I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel's inheritance; for they have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. Look, all you sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel here."

The Levite tells them that the men of the city wanted to kill him. The previous chapter tells us that they wanted to have sex with him. Notice that no one asks why he did not protect the concubine.

Shof’tim 19:22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him."

Shof’tim 20:8-11 Then all the people arose as one man, saying, "Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house. But now this is the thing which we will do to Giv’ah; we will go up against it by lot. And we will take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000 to supply food for the people, that when they come to Giv’ah of Binyamin, they may punish them for all the disgraceful acts that they have committed in Israel." Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

So the Israelites plan to go to war against the city of Giv’ah.

Shof’tim 20:12-16 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire tribe of Binyamin, saying, "What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? "Now then, deliver up the men, the worthless fellows in Giv’ah, that we may put them to death and remove this wickedness from Israel." But the sons of Binyamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel. And the sons of Binyamin gathered from the cities to Giv’ah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel. And from the cities on that day the sons of Binyamin were numbered, 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Giv’ah who were numbered, 700 choice men. Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

Israel gave Binyamin a chance to hand over the men who had committed this crime in Giv’ah but the tribe of Binyamin chose to defend the criminals instead.

Left-handed – Lefties are not mentioned very often in the Bible. Here we see 700 left-handed men from the tribe of Binyamin who were very accurate with a sling.

Shof’tim 20:17-18 Then the men of Israel besides Binyamin were numbered, 400,000 men who draw the sword; all these were men of war. Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired of G-d, and said, "Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Binyamin?" Then the L-RD said, "Y’hudah shall go up first."

It is interesting that judgment again comes first from Y’hudah which all started with a harlot. Judgment will come upon the whole world from the one from the tribe of Y’hudah, Yeshua HaMashiach, for their depravity concerning the harlot Babylon.

Revelation 14:7-8 and he said with a loud voice, "Fear G-d, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters." And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality."

Revelation 18:2-10 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! And she has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. "For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality." And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and G-d has remembered her iniquities. "Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. "To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.' "For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the L-rd G-d who judges her is strong. "And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying,' Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'

Shof’tim 20:19-23 So the sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Giv’ah. And the men of Israel went out to battle against Binyamin, and the men of Israel arrayed for battle against them at Giv’ah. Then the sons of Binyamin came out of Giv’ah and felled to the ground on that day 22,000 men of Israel. But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day. And the sons of Israel went up and wept before the L-RD until evening, and inquired of the L-RD, saying, "Shall we again draw near for battle against the sons of my brother Binyamin?" And the L-RD said, "Go up against him."

The first day of the battle showed heavy losses. Sometimes G-d allows this type of thing to happen. In this case Israel was operating in the flesh and not seeking G-d first in the direction of how the attack against Giv’ah was to take place.

Shof’tim 20:24-28 Then the sons of Israel came against the sons of Binyamin the second day. And Binyamin went out against them from Giv’ah the second day and felled to the ground again 18,000 men of the sons of Israel; all these drew the sword. Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the L-RD and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the L-RD. And the sons of Israel inquired of the L-RD (for the ark of the covenant of G-d was there in those days, and Pinchas the son of El’azar, Aharon's son, stood before it to minister in those days), saying, "Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Binyamin, or shall I cease?" And the L-RD said, "Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand."

They repented and asked G-d for direction in how they were to continue. Then G-d promised to protect them the following day.

This corresponds to the letter for this chapter, Shin, standing for G-d’s protection.

Shof’tim 20:29-35 So Israel set men in ambush around Giv’ah. And the sons of Israel went up against the sons of Binyamin on the third day and arrayed themselves against Giv’ah, as at other times. And the sons of Binyamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city, and they began to strike and kill some of the people, as at other times, on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Giv’ah, and in the field, about thirty men of Israel. And the sons of Binyamin said, "They are struck down before us, as at the first." But the sons of Israel said, "Let us flee that we may draw them away from the city to the highways." Then all the men of Israel arose from their place and arrayed themselves at Ba’al-Tamar; and the men of Israel in ambush broke out of their place, even out of Ma’areh-Geva. When ten thousand choice men from all Israel came against Giv’ah, the battle became fierce; but Binyamin did not know that disaster was close to them. And the L-RD struck Binyamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Binyamin that day, all who draw the sword.

Terrible consequences to many that all started from the sins of a few men. Also notice it was the L-rd who did the smiting.

Shof’tim 20:36-41 So the sons of Binyamin saw that they were defeated. When the men of Israel gave ground to Binyamin because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Giv’ah, the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Giv’ah; the men in ambush also deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that they should make a great cloud of smoke rise from the city. Then the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Binyamin began to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel, for they said, "Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle." But when the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, Binyamin looked behind them; and look, the whole city was going up in smoke to heaven. Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Binyamin were terrified; for they saw that disaster was close to them.

The kings of the earth will also be terrified when they see Babylon burning in the future:

Revelation 18:9-10 "And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying,' Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'

Shof’tim 20:42-48 Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel toward the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them while those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of them. They surrounded Binyamin, pursued them without rest and trod them down opposite Giv’ah toward the east. Thus 18,000 men of Binyamin fell; all these were valiant warriors. The rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, but they caught 5,000 of them on the highways and overtook them at Gid’om and killed 2,000 of them. So all of Binyamin who fell that day were 25,000 men who draw the sword; all these were valiant warriors. But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon four months. The men of Israel then turned back against the sons of Binyamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found; they also set on fire all the cities which they found.