Judges 21

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Kempton Translation         

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1 And the men of Israel had promised in Mizpah, saying, There shall not a man of us give his daughter to Benjamin for a wife.

2 And the people came·​·into Bethel, and sat there until evening before God, and lifted their voice and wept with great weeping,

3 and said, O Jehovah, God of Israel, why is this in Israel, that there should be today one tribe missing from Israel?

4 And it was, on the morrow, that the people got·​·up·​·early and built there an altar and offered·​·up burnt·​·offerings and peace·​·offerings.

5 And the sons of Israel said, Who is he that came not up in the assembly of all the tribes of Israel to Jehovah? For there was a great promise concerning him who came not up to Jehovah to Mizpah, saying, Dying, he shall·​·be·​·put·​·to·​·death.

6 And the sons of Israel repented toward Benjamin their brother, and said, Today one tribe from Israel is hewn·​·off.

7 What shall we do for wives for them that remain? And we have promised by Jehovah that we will not give them any of our daughters for wives.

8 And they said, What one is there from the tribes of Israel, that came· not ·up to Jehovah to Mizpah? And behold, there came not a man to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly.

9 And they numbered the people, and, behold, there was no man there from them dwelling·​·in Jabesh-gilead.

10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the sons of valor, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite them dwelling·​·in Jabesh-gilead with the mouth of the sword, and the women and the infants.

11 And this is the word that you shall do: You shall doom every male, and every woman that has known a male by lying with him.

12 And they found from those who dwelt in Jabesh of Gilead four hundred damsels, virgins who had not known a man by lying with a male; and they brought them to the camp of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 And all the congregation sent and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were at the rock Rimmon, and they proclaimed peace to them.

14 And Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them wives which they had let·​·live of the women of Jabesh-gilead; but thus they did not find enough for all of them.

15 And the people repented for Benjamin, for Jehovah had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

16 And the elders of the congregation said, What shall we do for wives for those remaining? For woman is blotted·​·out from Benjamin.

17 And they said, There must be a possession for those who are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not wiped out from Israel.

18 But we are· not ·able to give them wives of our daughters, for the sons of Israel have promised, saying, Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin.

19 And they said, Behold, there is a festival of Jehovah from days to days in Shiloh which is at the north of Bethel to the rising of the sun, on the highway that goes·​·up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.

20 And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, Go and set·​·an·​·ambush in the vineyards;

21 and see, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come·​·out to dance in dances, then come· ye ·out from vineyards, and catch them for yourselves, a man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

22 And it shall be, if their fathers come or their brothers, to strive with us, we shall say to them, Be·​·gracious to them for us, for we took not a wife for each man in the war; for you did not give to them, that you should be·​·guilty at this time.

23 And the sons of Benjamin did so, and carried away wives, according to their number from those who danced, whom they snatched·​·away; and they went and returned to their inheritance, and built the cities and dwelt in them.

24 And the sons of Israel went thence at that time, a man to his tribe and to his family, and went·​·out from thence a man to his inheritance.

25 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was upright in his eyes.

← Judges 20   1 Samuel 1 →
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Exploring the Meaning of Judges 21      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Wives Provided for the Men of Benjamin

This final chapter of the book of Judges deals with the wish of Israel to provide the remaining men of Benjamin with wives so that the tribe would not die out, since it was one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Yet the men of Israel had made a vow at Mizpah not to give their daughters to any men of Benjamin.

Providing wives means to add either truth or good to a situation. “In the Word, when ‘husband’ is mentioned, then ‘wife’ stands for truth. But when the husband is called ‘the man’, then ‘wife’ stands for good. This is the way it gets continually used in the Word.” (Arcana Caelestia 1468) In this chapter the men are called ‘the men of Benjamin’ or the Benjamites, so wives stand for good being joined to truth.

The men of Israel wondered who had not come to the gathering at Mizpah and recalled that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come. This meant that they were not under the obligation of the vow. The men of Israel told men to go and kill every man in that city and also any woman who was not a virgin. They found four hundred young virgins and brought them up to the camp at Shiloh.

The name Jabesh-Gilead means ‘arid’ and its spiritual meaning is in this city’s non-participation in dealing with the problem of the tribe of Benjamin. It stands for our refusal and disinclination to act to progress the spiritual life of the Word and our obedience to it.
But in it are four hundred young virgins who are not part of this non-participation and they can be taken to be wives for the men of Benjamin, to provide a future and an offspring.

“Virgins stand for the Lord’s kingdom, for everyone who is a kingdom of the Lord or a ‘church’, those who love the Lord, those who are in the affection for good, in charity to their neighbour, and those who love what is true. All of this is from the conjugial love which is there in chaste virgins.” (Arcana Caelestia 3081)

But even so, this is not enough to provide sufficient wives for the men of Benjamin. They recall that there is a yearly feast at Shiloh at which the young daughters of Shiloh dance. They tell the men of Benjamin to go there at the time of the feast and when the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance, to each seize a girl and take her away to Benjamin. And if anyone complains about breaking the vow made at Mizpah, it will be told them that this does not apply to the men of Benjamin and to be kind to this taking of wives.

The spiritual meaning of this is that it is essential that the tribe of Benjamin who stand for the link or connection between internal and external states, should have a full complement of wives so that truth and good can be together in producing and preserving this connection for our spiritual wholeness and its life. (Arcana Caelestia 5411)

The final verse of the book of Judges, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own eyes”, very much describes the sequence of the stories in Judges to the point where good and truth, love for the Lord and obedience to the Word, are marginalised, and replaced by one wrong action after another, through to the very end.

The spiritual meaning in these wrong doings can be seen to show their purpose in terms of our spiritual life and regeneration. This is the purpose of them being included in the Word, and while the text is at times harrowing, it contains the basis for giving us the truths which lead to eternal life and the Lord.

Swedenborg

Výklad(y) nebo odkazy ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 9422


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 608, 687

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 Books of Joshua and Judges Multiple Choice Review
Review events from the books of Joshua and Judges with a multiple-choice activity.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13

 Chart of the Judges Review Activity
Review the Judges of Israel by completing a chart to show their enemies, enemy rulers, weapons and years of peace.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13

 Qualities of a Hero Review of Joshua and Judges
Identify heroes who showed courage, obedience to the Lord, strength and trust in the Lord. Choose additional qualities shown in Judges.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13

 Review of Joshua and Judges Crossword Puzzle
Review events from the books of Joshua and Judges by completing a crossword puzzle.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13


Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.


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