Judges 21:1-25

Judges 21:1-25 New International Version (NIV)

The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah: “Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite.” The people went to Bethel, where they sat before God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly. “LORD, God of Israel,” they cried, “why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?” Early the next day the people built an altar and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Israelites asked, “Who from all the tribes of Israel has failed to assemble before the LORD?” For they had taken a solemn oath that anyone who failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah was to be put to death. Now the Israelites grieved for the tribe of Benjamin, their fellow Israelites. “Today one tribe is cut off from Israel,” they said. “How can we provide wives for those who are left, since we have taken an oath by the LORD not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?” Then they asked, “Which one of the tribes of Israel failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah?” They discovered that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly. For when they counted the people, they found that none of the people of Jabesh Gilead were there. So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin.” They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan. Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon. So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of them. The people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. And the elders of the assembly said, “With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left? The Benjamite survivors must have heirs,” they said, “so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out. We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’ But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.” So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin. When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not give your daughters to them.’ ” So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them. At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

Judges 21:1-25 The Message (MSG)

Back at Mizpah the men of Israel had taken an oath: “No man among us will give his daughter to a Benjaminite in marriage.” Now, back in Bethel, the people sat in the presence of God until evening. They cried loudly; there was widespread lamentation. They said, “Why, O GOD, God of Israel, has this happened? Why do we find ourselves today missing one whole tribe from Israel?” Early the next morning, the people got busy and built an altar. They sacrificed Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings. Then the Israelites said, “Who from all the tribes of Israel didn’t show up as we gathered in the presence of GOD?” For they had all taken a sacred oath that anyone who had not gathered in the presence of GOD at Mizpah had to be put to death. But the People of Israel were feeling sorry for Benjamin, their brothers. They said, “Today, one tribe is cut off from Israel. How can we get wives for those who are left? We have sworn by GOD not to give any of our daughters to them in marriage.” They said, “Which one of the tribes of Israel didn’t gather before GOD at Mizpah?” It turned out that no one had come to the gathering from Jabesh Gilead. When they took a roll call of the people, not a single person from Jabesh Gilead was there. So the congregation sent twelve divisions of their top men there with the command, “Kill everyone of Jabesh Gilead, including women and children. These are your instructions: Every man and woman who has had sexual intercourse you must kill. But keep the virgins alive.” And that’s what they did. And they found four hundred virgins among those who lived in Jabesh Gilead; they had never had sexual intercourse with a man. And they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. Then the congregation sent word to the Benjaminites who were at the Rimmon Rock and offered them peace. And Benjamin came. They gave them the women they had let live at Jabesh Gilead. But even then, there weren’t enough for all the men. The people felt bad for Benjamin; GOD had left out Benjamin—the missing piece from the Israelite tribes. The elders of the congregation said, “How can we get wives for the rest of the men, since all the Benjaminite women have been killed? How can we keep the inheritance alive for the Benjaminite survivors? How can we prevent an entire tribe from extinction? We certainly can’t give our own daughters to them as wives.” (Remember, the Israelites had taken the oath: “Cursed is anyone who provides a wife to Benjamin.”) Then they said, “There is that festival of GOD held every year in Shiloh. It’s north of Bethel, just east of the main road that goes up from Bethel to Shechem and a little south of Lebonah.” So they told the Benjaminites, “Go and hide in the vineyards. Stay alert—when you see the Shiloh girls come out to dance the dances, run out of the vineyards, grab one of the Shiloh girls for your wife, and then hightail it back to the country of Benjamin. When their fathers or brothers come to lay charges against us, we’ll tell them, ‘We did them a favor. After all we didn’t go to war and kill to get wives for men. And it wasn’t as if you were in on it by giving consent. But if you keep this up, you will incur blame.’” And that’s what the Benjaminites did: They carried off girls from the dance, wives enough for their number, got away, and went home to their inheritance. They rebuilt their towns and settled down. From there the People of Israel dispersed, each man heading back to his own tribe and clan, each to his own plot of land. At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.

Judges 21:1-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin in marriage.” So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. They said, “Why, O LORD, God of Israel, has this come about in Israel, so that one tribe should be missing today in Israel?” It came about the next day that the people arose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then the sons of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up in the assembly to the LORD?” For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the LORD at Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” And the sons of Israel were sorry for their brother Benjamin and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel today. What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by the LORD not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?” And they said, “What one is there of the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the LORD at Mizpah?” And behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. For when the people were numbered, behold, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. And the congregation sent 12,000 of the valiant warriors there, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. This is the thing that you shall do: you shall utterly destroy every man and every woman who has lain with a man.” And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known a man by lying with him; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 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. Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had kept alive from the women of Jabesh-gilead; yet they were not enough for them. And the people were sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?” They said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be blotted out from Israel. But we cannot give them wives of our daughters.” For the sons of Israel had sworn, saying, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin.” So they said, “Behold, there is a feast of the LORD from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south side of Lebonah.” And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, and watch; and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to take part in the dances, then you shall come out of the vineyards and each of you shall catch his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. It shall come about, when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, that we shall say to them, ‘Give them to us voluntarily, because we did not take for each man of Benjamin a wife in battle, nor did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.’ ” The sons of Benjamin did so, and took wives according to their number from those who danced, whom they carried away. And they went and returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the cities and lived in them. The sons of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and each one of them went out from there to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:1-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Israelites had vowed at Mizpah, “We will never give our daughters in marriage to a man from the tribe of Benjamin.” Now the people went to Bethel and sat in the presence of God until evening, weeping loudly and bitterly. “O LORD, God of Israel,” they cried out, “why has this happened in Israel? Now one of our tribes is missing from Israel!” Early the next morning the people built an altar and presented their burnt offerings and peace offerings on it. Then they said, “Who among the tribes of Israel did not join us at Mizpah when we held our assembly in the presence of the LORD?” At that time they had taken a solemn oath in the LORD’s presence, vowing that anyone who refused to come would be put to death. The Israelites felt sorry for their brother Benjamin and said, “Today one of the tribes of Israel has been cut off. How can we find wives for the few who remain, since we have sworn by the LORD not to give them our daughters in marriage?” So they asked, “Who among the tribes of Israel did not join us at Mizpah when we assembled in the presence of the LORD?” And they discovered that no one from Jabesh-gilead had attended the assembly. For after they counted all the people, no one from Jabesh-gilead was present. So the assembly sent 12,000 of their best warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin.” Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found 400 young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan. The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the remaining people of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the 400 women of Jabesh-gilead who had been spared were given to them as wives. But there were not enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had made this gap among the tribes of Israel. So the elders of the assembly asked, “How can we find wives for the few who remain, since the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel is not wiped out. But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God’s curse.” Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, south of Lebonah and north of Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, “Go and hide in the vineyards. When you see the young women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to the land of Benjamin to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be sympathetic. Let them have your daughters, for we didn’t find wives for all of them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not actually give your daughters to them in marriage.’” So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. Each man caught one of the women as she danced in the celebration and carried her off to be his wife. They returned to their own land, and they rebuilt their towns and lived in them. Then the people of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes. In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

Judges 21:1-25 King James Version (KJV)

Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore; And said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel? And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpah, saying, He shall surely be put to death. And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives? And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpah to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh–gilead to the assembly. For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh–gilead there. And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh–gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh–gilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 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. And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh–gilead: and yet so they sufficed them not. And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin? And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel. Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin. Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Beth–el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth–el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty. And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them. And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:1-25 New Century Version (NCV)

At Mizpah the men of Israel had sworn, “Not one of us will let his daughter marry a man from the tribe of Benjamin.” The people went to the city of Bethel and sat before God until evening, crying loudly. They said, “LORD, God of Israel, why has this terrible thing happened to us so that one tribe of Israel is missing today?” Early the next day the people built an altar and put burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to God on it. Then the Israelites asked, “Did any tribe of Israel not come here to meet with us in the presence of the LORD?” They asked this question because they had sworn that anyone who did not meet with them at Mizpah would be killed. The Israelites felt sorry for their relatives, the Benjaminites. They said, “Today one tribe has been cut off from Israel. We swore before the LORD that we would not allow our daughters to marry a Benjaminite. How can we make sure that the remaining men of Benjamin will have wives?” Then they asked, “Which one of the tribes of Israel did not come here to Mizpah?” They found that no one from the city of Jabesh Gilead had come. The people of Israel counted everyone, but there was no one from Jabesh Gilead. So the whole group of Israelites sent twelve thousand soldiers to Jabesh Gilead to kill the people with their swords, even the women and children. “This is what you must do: Kill every man in Jabesh Gilead and every married woman.” The soldiers found four hundred young unmarried women in Jabesh Gilead, so they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan. Then the whole group of Israelites sent a message to the men of Benjamin, who were at the rock of Rimmon, offering to make peace with them. So the men of Benjamin came back at that time. The Israelites gave them the women from Jabesh Gilead who had not been killed, but there were not enough women. The people of Israel felt sorry for the Benjaminites because the LORD had separated the tribes of Israel. The elders of the Israelites said, “The women of Benjamin have been killed. Where can we get wives for the men of Benjamin who are still alive? These men must have children to continue their families so a tribe in Israel will not die out. But we cannot allow our daughters to marry them, because we swore, ‘Anyone who gives a wife to a man of Benjamin is cursed.’ We have an idea! There is a yearly festival of the LORD at Shiloh, which is north of the city of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of the city of Lebonah.” So the elders told the men of Benjamin, “Go and hide in the vineyards. Watch for the young women from Shiloh to come out to join the dancing. Then run out from the vineyards and take one of the young Shiloh women and return to the land of Benjamin. If their fathers or brothers come to us and complain, we will say: ‘Be kind to the men of Benjamin. We did not get wives for Benjamin during the war, and you did not give the women to the men from Benjamin. So you are not guilty.’ ” So that is what the Benjaminites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one of them, took her away, and married her. Then they went back to the land God had given them and rebuilt their cities and lived there. Then the Israelites went home to their own tribes and family groups, to their own land that God had given them. In those days Israel did not have a king. All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

Judges 21:1-25 American Standard Version (ASV)

Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. And the people came to Beth-el, and sat there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore. And they said, O Jehovah, the God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to-day one tribe lacking in Israel? And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up in the assembly unto Jehovah? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up unto Jehovah to Mizpah, saying, He shall surely be put to death. And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by Jehovah that we will not give them of our daughters to wives? And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up unto Jehovah to Mizpah? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. For when the people were numbered, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there. And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. And this is the thing that ye shall do: ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, that had not known man by lying with him; and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. And the whole congregation sent and spake to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace unto them. And Benjamin returned at that time; and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead: and yet so they sufficed them not. And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that Jehovah had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin? And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not blotted out from Israel. Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel had sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin. And they said, Behold, there is a feast of Jehovah from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. And they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, and see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come to complain unto us, that we will say unto them, Grant them graciously unto us, because we took not for each man of them his wife in battle, neither did ye give them unto them, else would ye now be guilty. And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they carried off: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and built the cities, and dwelt in them. And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

JUDGES 21:1-25 The Amplified Bible (AMP)

Now the men of Israel had sworn [an oath] at Mizpah, “None of us shall give his daughter in marriage to [a man of] Benjamin.” So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. They said, “O LORD, God of Israel, why has this come about in Israel, that there should be today one tribe missing from Israel?” And the next day the people got up early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then the sons of Israel said, “Which one from all the tribes of Israel did not come up in the assembly to the LORD?” For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the LORD at Mizpah, saying, “He shall certainly be put to death.” And the sons of Israel felt sorry [and had compassion] for their brother Benjamin and said, “One tribe has been cut off from Israel today. What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn [an oath] by the LORD that we will not give them any of our daughters as wives?” And they said, “Which one is there of the tribes from Israel that did not come up to Mizpah to the LORD?” And behold, [it was discovered that] no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead, to the assembly. For when the people were assembled, behold, there was not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there. And the congregation sent twelve thousand of the most courageous men there, and commanded them saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the sword, including the women and the children. And this is the thing that you shall do; you shall utterly destroy every male and every woman who is not a virgin.” And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known a man intimately; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. Then the whole congregation sent word to the [surviving] sons of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them. So [the survivors of] Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had kept alive from the women of Jabesh-gilead; but there were not enough [to provide wives] for them. And the people were sorry [and had compassion] for [the survivors of the tribe of] Benjamin because the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those [men] who are left, since the women of Benjamin have been destroyed?” They said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be wiped out from Israel. But we cannot give them wives from our daughters.” For the sons of Israel had sworn [an oath], “Cursed is he who gives a wife to [a man from the tribe of] Benjamin.” So they said, “Listen, there is the yearly feast of the LORD at Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south side of Lebonah.” So they instructed the sons of Benjamin, saying, “Go, set an ambush in the vineyards, and watch; if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then you shall come out of the vineyards and each of you shall catch his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of [the tribe of] Benjamin. When their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we shall say to them, ‘Give them to us voluntarily, because we did not take a wife for each man of Benjamin in battle, nor did you give wives to them, for that would have made you guilty [of breaking your oath].’ ” So the sons of [the tribe of] Benjamin did as instructed and took wives according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried away. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and rebuilt the towns and lived in them. The sons of Israel departed from there at that time, each man to his tribe and family, and each man went from there to his inheritance. In those days [when the judges governed] there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:1-25 English Standard Version (ESV)

Now the men of Israel had sworn at Mizpah, "No one of us shall give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin." And the people came to Bethel and sat there till evening before God, and they lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. And they said, "O LORD, the God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that today there should be one tribe lacking in Israel?" And the next day the people rose early and built there an altar and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the people of Israel said, "Which of all the tribes of Israel did not come up in the assembly to the LORD?" For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the LORD to Mizpah, saying, "He shall surely be put to death." And the people of Israel had compassion for Benjamin their brother and said, "One tribe is cut off from Israel this day. What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them any of our daughters for wives?" And they said, "What one is there of the tribes of Israel that did not come up to the LORD to Mizpah?" And behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead, to the assembly. For when the people were mustered, behold, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. So the congregation sent 12,000 of their bravest men there and commanded them, "Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword; also the women and the little ones. This is what you shall do: every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall devote to destruction." And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known a man by lying with him, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. Then the whole congregation sent word to the people of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon and proclaimed peace to them. And Benjamin returned at that time. And they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead, but they were not enough for them. And the people had compassion on Benjamin because the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. Then the elders of the congregation said, "What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?" And they said, "There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe not be blotted out from Israel. Yet we cannot give them wives from our daughters." For the people of Israel had sworn, "Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin." So they said, "Behold, there is the yearly feast of the LORD at Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah." And they commanded the people of Benjamin, saying, "Go and lie in ambush in the vineyards and watch. If the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and snatch each man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them, 'Grant them graciously to us, because we did not take for each man of them his wife in battle, neither did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.'" And the people of Benjamin did so and took their wives, according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried off. Then they went and returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and lived in them. And the people of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and they went out from there every man to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.