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Chapter 20

1Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, to Yahweh at Mizpah. 2The chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen who drew sword. 3(Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) The children of Israel said, Tell us, how was this wickedness brought to pass? 4The Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered, I came into Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. 5The men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about me by night; me they thought to have slain, and my concubine they forced, and she is dead. 6I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel; for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel. 7Behold, you children of Israel, all of you, give here your advice and counsel. 8All the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn to his house. 9But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot; 10and we will take ten men of one hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred of one thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to get food for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have worked in Israel. 11So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man. 12The tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is happen among you? 13Now therefore deliver up the men, the base fellows, who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers the children of Israel. 14The children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. 15The children of Benjamin were numbered on that day out of the cities twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were numbered seven hundred chosen men. 16Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men left-handed; everyone could sling stones at a hair-breadth, and not miss. 17The men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men who drew sword: all these were men of war. 18The children of Israel arose, and went up to Bethel, and asked counsel of God; and they said, Who shall go up for us first to battle against the children of Benjamin? Yahweh said, Judah shall go up first. 19The children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah. 20The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel set the battle in array against them at Gibeah. 21The children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites on that day Twenty-two thousand men. 22The people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves, and set the battle again in array in the place where they set themselves in array the first day. 23The children of Israel went up and wept before Yahweh until even; and they asked of Yahweh, saying, Shall I again draw near to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? Yahweh said, Go up against him. 24The children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. 25Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. 26Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came to Bethel, and wept, and sat there before Yahweh, and fasted that day until even; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Yahweh. 27The children of Israel asked of Yahweh (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? Yahweh said, Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver him into your hand. 29Israel set ambushes all around Gibeah. 30The children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. 31The children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to strike and kill of the people, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goes up to Bethel, and the other to Gibeah, in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32The children of Benjamin said, They are struck down before us, as at the first. But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them away from the city to the highways. 33All the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and set themselves in array at Baal Tamar: and the ambushers of Israel broke forth out of their place, even out of Maareh Geba. 34There came over against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore; but they didn’t know that evil was close on them. 35Yahweh struck Benjamin before Israel; and the children of Israel destroyed of Benjamin that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men: all these drew the sword. 36So the children of Benjamin saw that they were struck; for the men of Israel gave place to Benjamin, because they trusted the ambushers whom they had set against Gibeah. 37The ambushers hurried, and rushed on Gibeah; and the ambushers drew themselves along, and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the ambushers was that they should make a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city. 39The men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons; for they said, Surely they are struck down before us, as in the first battle. 40But when the cloud began to arise up out of the city in a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them; and behold, the whole of the city went up in smoke to the sky. 41The men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed; for they saw that evil had come on them. 42Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel to the way of the wilderness; but the battle followed hard after them; and those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of it. 43They enclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trod them down at their resting place, as far as over against Gibeah toward the sunrise. 44There fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valor. 45They turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men, and followed hard after them to Gidom, and struck of them two thousand men. 46So that all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword; all these were men of valor. 47But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and abode in the rock of Rimmon four months. 48The men of Israel turned again on the children of Benjamin, and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city, and the livestock, and all that they found: moreover all the cities which they found they set on fire.

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