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They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and trod them down from Nohah to a point opposite Gibeah, toward the sunrise. Bible

“Nohah.” There is scholarly debate about Nohah because it means “resting place.” So, some versions take “Nohah” as the name of a small town, such as the ESV: “Surrounding the Benjaminites, they pursued them and trod them down from Nohah as far as opposite Gibeah on the east.” However, some versions take nohah as “resting place,” such as the JPS: “They inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and overtook them at their resting-place, as far as over against Gibeah toward the sunrising.” The majority of the translations have Nohah as the name of a town, although a translation like the JPS may be correct. There is no way to tell for certain at this time. Perhaps in the future archaeologists will unearth something that helps us interpret this text. Versions such as the NASB take a different view and say that Israel pursued the Benjamites “without rest,” but although that translation would make sense, the word “without” has to be added to the text and there does not seem to be sufficient reason to make that addition to the Hebrew text.

“Gibeah.” The Hebrew text reads “Gibeah,” and if this is the case, then the Israelites chased the Benjamites to the east from Gibeah. But some scholars feel that “Gibeah” should actually be “Geba,” which is to the east of Gibeah. The NET text note says, “Gibeah cannot be correct here, since the Benjaminites retreated from there toward the desert and Rimmon (see v. 45). A slight emendation yields the reading ‘Geba.’” Evertt Fox (The Schocken Bible) also has “Geba” instead of “Gibeah.” One reason some people prefer Geba to Gibeah, is that if the Benjamites were fleeing to the Rock of Rimmon, Geba is right on the way there. But Gibeah could be correct, and if so, then the verse would be saying something like the Israelites chased them “from Gibeah toward the sunrise,” that is the battle moved eastward from Gibeah.

The Benjamites stopped at the Rock of Rimmon, which is northeast of Gibeah (Judges 21:45).


Commentary for: Judges 20:43