The people bewail the desolation of Benjamin, Jud_21:1-7. The inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead, for not coming up to this battle, are all destroyed, excepting four hundred damsels, whom the Israelites bestow for wives on the remaining Benjamites, Jud_21:8-15. They advise the rest to seize on the dancing maidens at the feast in Shiloh; and to carry away as many as they had need of Jud_21:16-21. The answer wherewith they should pacify their relations, Jud_21:22.
The men of Israel had sworn; in the beginning of this war, after the whole tribe had espoused the quarrel of the men of Gibeah, Jud_21:13,14. They do not (as some suppose) here swear the utter extirpation of the tribe, which fell out beyond their expectation, Jud_21:3,6, but only not to give their daughters to those men who should survive; justly esteeming them for their barbarous villany to be as bad as the worst of heathens, with whom they were forbidden to marry. In this case the Benjamites might have married among themselves, if any of their men and women were left alive.