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20
The Punishment of Benjamin
1All the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” went out, from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, and they gathered as one body#Hebrew “man” to Yahweh at Mizpah. 2And the leaders of all the people, all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand sword-bearing infantry. 3(The descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin heard that the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” had gone up to Mizpah.) And the Israelites#Literally “sons of Israel” or “children of “Israel” said, “Tell us, how did this evil act occur?” 4The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, answered and said, “I came to Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. 5The lords of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night. They intended to kill me, and they raped my concubine, and she died. 6Then I grabbed my concubine and cut her into pieces, and I sent her throughout all the territory of Israel’s inheritance; for they committed a shameful and disgraceful thing in Israel. 7Look, all you Israelites!#Literally “sons/children of Israel” Make your decision#Literally “give your word” and advice here.”
8All the people got up as one body,#Hebrew “man” saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, or will any of us return to his house. 9So then, this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against her by lot. 10We will take ten men of one hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred of one thousand, and one thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions to the troops, to repay them when they come to Gibeah#Hebrew “Geba” of Benjamin for all the disgraceful things#Hebrew “thing” they did in Israel.” 11And all the men of Israel were gathered to the city as one body#Hebrew “man” united.
12Then the tribes of Israel sent men throughout all the tribes of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that happened among you? 13So then, hand over the men, the perverse lot,#Literally “sons of uselessness” who are in Gibeah, so that we may kill them and purge this wickedness from Israel.” But the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin were not willing to listen to the voice of their relatives,#Or “brothers” the Israelites.#Literally “sons/children of Israel” 14And the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin were gathered from the cities to Gibeah to go out for battle against the Israelites.#Literally “sons/children of Israel” 15From the cities the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin were counted on that day twenty-six thousand sword-wielding men,#Literally “men drawing sword” besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were counted seven hundred well-trained#Or “chosen” men. 16From all these troops were seven hundred well-trained#Or “choice/chosen” men who were left-handed;#Literally “bound by his right hand” each one could sling with a stone at a hair and not miss. 17And the men of Israel besides Benjamin were counted four hundred thousand sword-wielding men;#Literally “men drawing sword” all were warriors.#Literally “all were men of war”
18Then the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” got up and went up to Bethel, and they inquired of God, saying, “Who will go up first for the battle against the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin?” And Yahweh said, “Judah will go first.” 19And the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” got up in the morning, and they encamped against Gibeah. 20Then the men of Israel marched out for the battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel took up positions against them for battle at Gibeah. 21The descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin went out from Gibeah, and they struck down on that day twenty-two thousand men of Israel to the ground. 22But the troops, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves,#Literally “took heart” and again they arranged their battle lines in the place where they had arranged themselves the first day. 23The Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” went up and wept before Yahweh until evening and inquired of Yahweh, saying, “Should we again draw near from the battle against the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin, our relatives?”#Hebrew “my brother” And Yahweh said, “Go up against them.”#Hebrew “him”
24And the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” drew near to the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin on the second day. 25And Benjamin went out from Gibeah to meet them on the second day, and they struck down the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” again, eighteen thousand men to the ground; all of these were sword-wielding.#Literally “drawers of sword” 26And all the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” and all the troops went up and came to Bethel and wept; and they sat there before Yahweh and fasted on that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before Yahweh. 27And the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” inquired of Yahweh (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28and Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, was standing before it#Literally “before presence of it/him” to minister in those days), saying, “Should we go out once more to battle against the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin our relatives,#Hebrew “my brother” or should we stop?” And Yahweh said, “Go up tomorrow; I will give them#Hebrew “him” into your hand.”
29So Israel stationed an ambush all around Gibeah. 30And the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” went up against the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin on the third day, and they took up positions against Gibeah as before. 31The descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin went out to meet the troops, and they lured them away from the city and began to inflict casualties on the troops as before, on the main road, one of which goes up to Bethel, the other to Gibeah; and in the field there were about thirty men of Israel. 32And the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin thought,#Or “said” “They are being defeated before us as previously,”#Literally “on the first” and the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” said, “Let us flee and lure them#Hebrew “him” away from the city to the main roads.” 33And all the men of Israel got up from their places#Hebrew “place” and took up positions in Baal Tamar; and the ambush of Israel charged from their places,#Hebrew “place” from the vicinity of Gibeah.#Hebrew “Geba” 34Then ten thousand well-trained#Or “choice/chosen” men from all Israel came out against Gibeah, and the battle became fierce;#Or “the battle became heavy” they did not know that disaster was about to close in#Literally “touching” on them. 35And Yahweh defeated Benjamin in the presence of Israel, and the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” destroyed on that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men of Benjamin, all of them sword-wielding.#Literally “drawing sword”
36The descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin saw that they were defeated, and the men of Israel gave ground#Or “a place” or “space” to Benjamin because they trusted the ambush that they had set against Gibeah. 37And the ambush came quickly and advanced against Gibeah, and it put the whole city to the sword.#Literally “struck the whole city with the mouth of the sword” 38Now the appointed time for the men of Israel with the ambush was that they sent up for them a great amount of smoke from the city. 39And the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to inflict casualties on about thirty men of Israel because they thought,#Or “said” “They will be completely defeated before us as in the first battle.” 40And the cloud of smoke began to go up from the city in a column of smoke, and Benjamin turned backward, and behold, the whole city was going up in smoke!#Literally “to heaven” 41And the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed because they saw that disaster was closing in#Literally “touching” on them. 42And they retreated from before the men of Israel to the way of the wilderness, but the battle caught up to them, and those who came from the cities#Other ancient translations “city” destroyed them in the midst of them. 43They surrounded Benjamin; they pursued them#Hebrew “him” without rest#Or “at Nohah,” a location and trod them#Hebrew “him” down opposite Gibeah to the east. 44And eighteen thousand men from Benjamin fell, all of them able men.#Literally “men of strength” 45And they turned and fled toward the wilderness, to the rock of Rimmon, but they cut down on the main roads five thousand men; and they pursued after them up to Gidom, and they struck down two thousand men. 46So all of Benjamin who fell on that day were twenty-five thousand sword-wielding men;#Literally “men drawing sword” all of these were able men.#Literally “men of strength” 47But six hundred turned and fled toward the wilderness, to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon for four months. 48And the men of Israel returned to the descendants#Or “sons/children” of Benjamin, and they put them to the edge of the sword,#Literally the mouth of the sword” both the inhabitants of city and the animals that were found; they also set on fire all the cities that they found.