Judges 21:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 21:19, NIV: But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.'

Judges 21:19, ESV: So they said, “Behold, there is the yearly feast of the LORD at Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

Judges 21:19, KJV: Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.

Judges 21:19, NASB: So they said, 'Behold, there is a feast of the LORD from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the road that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south side of Lebonah.'

Judges 21:19, NLT: Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, south of Lebonah and north of Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem.

Judges 21:19, CSB: They also said, "Look, there's an annual festival to the Lord in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah."

What does Judges 21:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The leaders of Israel are committed to finding more wives for the men of the tribe of Benjamin. The other eleven tribes have killed every man, woman, and child of Benjamin other than six hundred surviving men (Judges 20:47–48). A hasty promise that they would never give daughters to Benjamin puts them in a dilemma: to keep the tribe from becoming extinct without violating their oath. One clan, from Jabesh-gilead, didn't support the war or take the oath, so wives were first acquired there (Judges 21:8–14).

Since the war with Benjamin ended in excessive bloodshed, Israel's path has been marked by twisted moral logic and excuses. Here, and as explained in further verses (Judges 21:20–22), the people think of another loophole in their vow. Wives cannot be "given" to Benjaminites (Judges 21:1, 18), but they can be "taken" by Benjaminites.

The idea arises to tell the remaining Benjaminite men to lurk near an annual feast. Specific directions are given to the Benjaminites, including where to go and where suitable women will be. The plan—which seems to come from the tribal leaders (Judges 21:16)—will be for these men to lie in wait, ambushing and kidnapping women (Judges 21:20–21). After the women are "taken," their marriages will be formalized with the families so it can be said they were never "given" and the oath was not broken (Judges 21:22).