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Judges 21:20

ESV And they commanded the people of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in ambush in the vineyards
NIV So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, 'Go and hide in the vineyards
NASB And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, 'Go and lie in wait in the vineyards,
CSB Then they commanded the Benjaminites, "Go and hide in the vineyards.
NLT They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, 'Go and hide in the vineyards.
KJV Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;

What does Judges 21:20 mean?

The leaders of Israel have committed themselves to two outcomes. The first is finding two hundred Israelite women to be wives to the remaining unwed Benjaminite men, so that tribe can survive and repopulate (Judges 20:47–48; 21:12–14). The second is to uphold the hasty oath made by nearly everyone in Israel not to give wives to Benjamin (Judges 21:1). The "solution" is a stunning example of preserving the letter of a law, while violating its intent. Israel chooses a method which strains even ancient perceptions of morality and decency.

To accomplish their goal, the leaders of Israel (Judges 21:16) command the remaining two hundred unmarried men of Benjamin to go to vineyards where an annual festival is being held. This is near the town of Shiloh. The Benjaminites must hide themselves and prepare to ambush the young women when the time comes. The logic of this moment sounds like something from a joke, or a work of satire. If the men of Benjamin take young Israelite girls, by surprise and without permission, nobody will have given them wives. Everyone will have kept their oath, and Benjamin will survive as a tribe in Israel.

At no point does God command or endorse this course of action. Even after the nation sacrificed and pleaded with Him, he remained silent as to their self-made dilemma (Judges 21:1). This is not His stated will for Israel.
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