Judges 20:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 20:17, NIV: Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fit for battle.

Judges 20:17, ESV: And the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered 400,000 men who drew the sword; all these were men of war.

Judges 20:17, KJV: And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war.

Judges 20:17, NASB: Then the men of Israel besides Benjamin were counted, four hundred thousand men who drew the sword; all of these were men of war.

Judges 20:17, NLT: Israel had 400,000 experienced soldiers armed with swords, not counting Benjamin's warriors.

Judges 20:17, CSB: The Israelites, apart from Benjamin, mobilized four hundred thousand armed men, every one an experienced warrior.

What does Judges 20:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Despite the obvious fighting spirit of the people of Benjamin and their highly skilled stone slingers (Judges 20:11–16), they still face overwhelming odds in the impending battle. The armed forces amassed by the other eleven tribes of Israel outnumber them by around 15-to-one (Judges 20:1–2). In a face-to-face battle, the eleven tribes would be expected to quickly defeat Benjamin, destroy the wicked men of Gibeah, and then return home.

Instead, the remaining eleven tribes will hesitate. They pause to do something rarely recorded in the book of Judges. They will turn to the Lord to ask for specific guidance (Judges 20:18). This might have been because the Benjaminites immediately took a defensive posture, making a simple assault impossible.