Chapter 20

Resolve to Punish the Guilty

1 Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at aMizpah.

2 The 1chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 foot 2soldiers awho drew the sword.

3 (Now the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?”

4 So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came with my concubine to spend the night at Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin.

5 “But the amen of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me; instead, they bravished my concubine so that she died.

6 “And I atook hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s inheritance; for bthey have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel.

7 “Behold, all you sons of Israel, agive your advice and counsel here.”

8 Then all the people arose as one man, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house.

9 “But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot.

10 “And we will take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000 to 1supply food for the people, that when they come to 2Gibeah of Benjamin, they may 3punish them for all the disgraceful acts that they have committed in Israel.”

11 Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire 1tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you?

13 “Now then, deliver up the men, the 1aworthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and bremove this wickedness from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel.

14 The sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel.

15 From the cities on that day the asons of Benjamin were 1numbered, 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were 1numbered, 700 choice men.

16 Out of all these people 700 achoice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 Then the men of Israel besides Benjamin were 1numbered, 400,000 men who draw the sword; all these were men of war.

Civil War, Benjamin Defeated

18 Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and ainquired of God and said, “Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?” Then the Lord said, “Judah shall go up first.”

19 So the sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Gibeah.

20 The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel arrayed for battle against them at Gibeah.

21 Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and 1afelled to the ground on that day 22,000 men of Israel.

22 But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day.

23 aThe sons of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and binquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall we again draw near for battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Go up against him.”

24 Then the sons of Israel 1came against the sons of Benjamin the second day.

25 Benjamin went out 1against them from Gibeah the second day and 2felled to the ground again 18,000 men of the sons of Israel; all these drew the sword.

26 Then aall the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.

27 The sons of Israel ainquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,

28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, Aaron’s son, stood before it to minister in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, afor tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”

29 aSo Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah.

30 The sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and arrayed themselves against Gibeah as at other times.

31 aThe sons of Benjamin went out 1against the people and were drawn away from the city, and they began to strike 2and kill some of the people as at other times, on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the field, about thirty men of Israel.

32 The sons of Benjamin said, “They are struck down before us, as at the first.” But the sons of Israel said, “Let us flee that we may draw them away from the city to the highways.”

33 Then all the men of Israel arose from their place and arrayed themselves at Baal-tamar; aand the men of Israel in ambush broke out of their place, even out of Maareh-geba.

34 When ten thousand choice men from all Israel came against Gibeah, the battle became 1fierce; abut 2Benjamin did not know that 3disaster was 4close to them.

35 And the Lord struck Benjamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day, all 1who draw the sword.

36 So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were 1defeated. aWhen the men of Israel gave 2ground to Benjamin because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah,

37 athe men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush also deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword.

38 Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was athat they would make a great cloud of smoke rise from the city.

39 Then the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike 1and kill about thirty men of Israel, afor they said, “Surely they are 2defeated before us, as in the first battle.”

40 But when the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, Benjamin looked abehind them; and behold, the whole city was going up in smoke to heaven.

41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were terrified; for they saw that 1adisaster was 2close to them.

42 Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel atoward the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them while those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of them.

43 aThey surrounded Benjamin, pursued them without rest and trod them down opposite Gibeah toward the 1east.

44 Thus 18,000 men of Benjamin fell; all these were valiant warriors.

45 1The rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of aRimmon, but they 2caught 5,000 of them on the highways and overtook them 3at Gidom and 4killed 2,000 of them.

46 So all of Benjamin who fell that day were 25,000 men who draw the sword; all these were valiant warriors.

47 But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon four months.

48 The men of Israel then turned back against the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found; they also set on fire all the cities which they found.


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