What does Judges 21:13 mean?
ESV: Then the whole congregation sent word to the people of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon and proclaimed peace to them.
NIV: Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon.
NASB: Then the whole congregation sent word and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them.
CSB: The whole congregation sent a message of peace to the Benjaminites who were at Rimmon Rock.
NLT: The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the remaining people of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon.
KJV: And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them.
NKJV: Then the whole congregation sent word to the children of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and announced peace to them.
Verse Commentary:
Six hundred Benjaminite men have been hiding from the armies of Israel; they are the last people left alive from their entire tribe (Judges 20:47–48). Their sanctuary is the "rock of Rimmon," sometimes called "Pomegranate Rock" because holes in the limestone cliffs resemble the seeds in the pomegranate fruit. It's possible these men don't yet realize they are the last of their people.

Whatever they knew, or didn't, they were probably surprised when an Israelite delegation showed up. That message was one of peace; in the moment, it was probably as literal as shouting loudly that it was safe to come out. No threat remained. On the contrary, those who hunted these men now work under a plan to save them and their tribe from ending.
Verse Context:
Judges 21:8–25 closes the book of Judges by describing a convoluted process. Israel has made several ill-considered vows and gone too far in punishing the tribe of Benjamin. Without a creative way to find wives for the surviving men, the tribe will quickly die out. First, Israel destroys Jabesh-gilead for not joining in the war. The young women are spared and given to Benjaminites. The remaining two hundred men of Benjamin obtain wives through a staged kidnapping near Shiloh, so Israel can claim they never "gave" wives to Benjamin. The book ends with a reminder that Israel was without a king during this era.
Chapter Summary:
Israel grieves the near extinction of the tribe of Benjamin, though the situation is the result of their own excessive force. Worse, the other eleven tribes vowed not to give wives to Benjamin. To prevent the loss of a tribe, two schemes are enacted. First, the Israelites of Jabesh-gilead are wiped out for not sending anyone to support the civil war; the young women are spared and given as wives to Benjamin. Next, the remaining unmarried men of Benjamin stage an arranged kidnapping to "take" wives they cannot be "given." The book ends with another reminder of Israel's lawlessness in this era.
Chapter Context:
Judges 21 finds the people of Israel reeling after they killed nearly every person in the tribe of Benjamin. This began as an effort to enact justice and turned into a wide-ranging massacre. To keep Benjamin from dying out, Israel's leaders must work around their own mistakes and two ill-considered vows. The book ends with another reminder that Israel was without a king in this era. The nation was literally leaderless, and spiritually rebellious. Soon, the judge-and-prophet Samuel will rise to guide the people into the era of kings.
Book Summary:
The Book of Judges describes Israel's history from the death of Joshua to shortly before Israel's first king, Saul. Israel fails to complete God's command to purge the wicked Canaanites from the land (Deuteronomy 7:1–5; 9:4). This results in a centuries-long cycle where Israel falls into sin and is oppressed by local enemies. After each oppression, God sends a civil-military leader, labeled using a Hebrew word loosely translated into English as "judge." These appointed rescuers would free Israel from enemy control and govern for a certain time. After each judge's death, the cycle of sin and oppression begins again. This continues until the people of Israel choose a king, during the ministry of the prophet-and-judge Samuel (1 Samuel 1—7).
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