Judges 20:37 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 20:37, NIV: Those who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword.

Judges 20:37, ESV: Then the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush moved out and struck all the city with the edge of the sword.

Judges 20:37, KJV: And 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.

Judges 20:37, NASB: the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush also deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword.

Judges 20:37, NLT: Then those who were hiding rushed in from all sides and killed everyone in the town.

Judges 20:37, CSB: The men in ambush had rushed quickly against Gibeah; they advanced and put the whole city to the sword.

What does Judges 20:37 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The army of the tribe of Benjamin is chasing down the armies of Israel (Judges 20:32–34). Israel appears to be in full retreat to the north, and Benjamin believes this to be a chance for thorough victory. Benjamin's military leaders don't realize this is a trap: the retreat is a lure, to draw the bulk of Benjamin's army away from the city (Judges 20:29–31).

Now the part of Israel's army waiting nearby the city emerges from their hiding spot to attack Gibeah. These men were earlier depicted as specially chosen fighters (Judges 20:34). Though the battle was intense, it soon becomes clear that Israel will be victorious. They conquer the city, wiping out the remaining population. Gibeah suffers God's judgment for enabling sexual immorality, violence, and murder (Judges 19:22–28).