Judges 21:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 21:11, NIV: This is what you are to do,' they said. 'Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin.'

Judges 21:11, ESV: This is what you shall do: every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall devote to destruction.”

Judges 21:11, KJV: And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.

Judges 21:11, NASB: And this is the thing that you shall do: you shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has slept with a male.'

Judges 21:11, NLT: 'This is what you are to do,' they said. 'Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin.'

Judges 21:11, CSB: This is what you should do: Completely destroy every male, as well as every woman who has gone to bed with a man."

What does Judges 21:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The terminology used by the Israelites here is specific, which makes it even more tragic. God had repeatedly commanded Israel to use this absolute, harsh approach against the Canaanite people of the Promised Land (Joshua 6:17–18; 10:28; 11:11, 20). This was not an issue of cruelty, but of purging deep evil from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–4; 12:29–31). Israel was to be God's instrument of judgment for the wickedness practiced for so long in Canaan. Israel often failed to carry this duty out.

Here, the same language describe what Israel intends for the people of Jabesh-gilead, their own kinsmen. The city's crime is failure to send anyone to the assembly against Gibeah and Benjamin (Judges 20:11–13; 21:5). Scripture gives no indication the Lord has directed Israel to do this. Everything in the passage indicates Israel is doing this to solve a problem they created. First, they were overly severe in punishing the Benjaminites (Judges 20:47–48). Second, they made foolish promises to God that put the tribe on the verge of extinction.

In summary, Israel seeks to solve a problem caused by too much killing with even more killing. A large force of soldiers are sent to kill every man, child, and married woman of the people of Jabesh-gilead (Judges 21:8–10).