The Tribe of Benjamin Is Attacked by the Other Tribes
1Then all of the people of Israel came out. They came from the whole land between Dan and Beersheba. They also came from the land of Gilead. All of them gathered together in the sight of the Lord at Mizpah.2The leaders of all of the tribes of Israel came. They took their places among the people of God who were gathered together. There were 400,000 fighting men who were carrying swords.3The tribe of Benjamin heard that the people of Israel had gone up to Mizpah. The people of Israel said, “Tell us how that awful thing happened.”4So the Levite spoke. He was the husband of the woman who had been murdered. He said, “I and my concubine went to Gibeah in Benjamin. We spent the night there.5During the night the men of Gibeah came after me. They surrounded the house. They were planning to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died.6“I took my concubine and cut her into pieces. I sent one piece to each part of Israel's territory. I did it because they had done a very terrible thing in Israel.7All of you men of Israel, speak up now. Give your decision.”8All of the men got up together. They said, “None of us will go home. Not one of us will return to his house.9Here is what we'll do to Gibeah. We'll use lots to tell us how to attack the city.10We'll take ten men out of every 100 from all of the tribes of Israel. We'll take 100 from every 1,000. We'll take 1,000 from every 10,000. The men we take will get supplies for the army. Then the army will go to Gibeah in Benjamin. They'll give Gibeah exactly what they should get because of the evil thing they did in Israel.”11So all of the men of Israel came together to fight against the city.12The tribes of Israel sent men through the whole tribe of Benjamin. They said, “What about this awful crime that was committed among you?13Hand over those evil men of Gibeah. We'll put them to death. In that way we'll get rid of those evil people.” But the people of Benjamin wouldn't listen to the other people of Israel.14They came together at Gibeah from their towns. They came to fight against the other people of Israel.15Right away the people of Benjamin gathered together 26,000 men from their towns. They were carrying swords. The men were added to the 700 who had been chosen from those who were living in Gibeah.16Among all of those men there were 700 who were left‑handed. Each of them could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.17Israel gathered 400,000 men together. They were carrying swords. All of them were fighting men. That number didn't include the tribe of Benjamin.18The people of Israel went up to Bethel. There they spoke to God. They asked him, “Who will go up first and fight for us against the people of Benjamin?” The Lord answered, “The tribe of Judah will go first.”19The next morning the people of Israel got up. They set up camp near Gibeah.20The men of Israel went out to fight against the men of Benjamin. They took up their battle positions against them at Gibeah.21The men of Benjamin came out of Gibeah. They killed 22,000 men of Israel on the field of battle that day.22But the men of Israel cheered each other on. They again took up their positions in the places where they had been the first day.23The men of Israel went and sobbed in the sight of the Lord until evening. They spoke to the Lord. They asked, “Should we go up again to fight against the men of Benjamin? They are our fellow Israelites.” The Lord answered, “Go up and fight against them.”24The men of Israel came near the men of Benjamin on the second day.25The men of Benjamin came out from Gibeah to oppose them. That time they killed 18,000 more men of Israel. All of the men who died had been carrying swords.26Then all of the people of Israel went up to Bethel. They sat there and sobbed in the sight of the Lord. They didn't eat anything that day until evening. Then they brought burnt offerings and friendship offerings to the Lord.27Again the people of Israel spoke to the Lord. In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there.28Phinehas was serving as priest at the ark. He was the son of Eleazar. Eleazar was the son of Aaron. The people of Israel asked, “Should we go up again to fight against the men of Benjamin? They are our fellow Israelites.” The Lord answered, “Go. Tomorrow I will hand them over to you.”29Then Israel hid some men and had them wait all around Gibeah.30They went up to fight against the men of Benjamin on the third day. They took up their positions against Gibeah, just as they had done before.31The men of Benjamin came out to fight against them. They were drawn away from the city. They began to wound and kill the men of Israel just as they had done before. About 30 men fell in battle. They fell in the open fields and on the roads. One of the roads led to Bethel. The other led to Gibeah.32The men of Benjamin said, “We're winning the battle over them, just as we did before.” But the men of Israel said, “Let's pull back. Let's draw them away from the city to the roads.”33All of the men of Israel moved away from their places. They took up new battle positions at Baal Tamar. The men who had been hiding charged out. They came from west of Gibeah.34Then 10,000 of Israel's finest men attacked Gibeah. The men of Benjamin didn't realize they were about to be destroyed. The fighting was very heavy.35The Lord helped Israel win the battle over Benjamin. On that day the men of Israel struck down 25,100 men of Benjamin. All of the men who died had been carrying swords.36Then the men of Benjamin saw that they had lost the battle. The men of Israel had moved away from their positions in front of Benjamin. They had depended on the men they had hidden near Gibeah.37Suddenly the men who had been hiding rushed into Gibeah. They spread out. Then they killed everyone in the city with their swords.38The men of Israel had made a plan with those who had been hiding. They had told them to send up a large cloud of smoke from the city.39Then the men of Israel would turn around and attack. The men of Benjamin had begun to wound and kill the men of Israel. They had struck down about 30 of them. They had said, “We're winning the battle over them, just as we did the first time.”40But a column of smoke began to go up from the city. The men of Benjamin turned around. They saw the smoke of the whole city going up into the sky.41Then the men of Israel turned around and attacked them. The men of Benjamin were terrified. They realized they were going to be destroyed.42So they ran away from the men of Israel. They ran toward the desert. But they couldn't escape the battle. Other men of Israel came out of the towns. There they struck the men of Benjamin down.43They surrounded them. They chased them and easily caught up with them. That happened east of Gibeah.44So 18,000 men of Benjamin fell in battle. All of them were brave fighters.45Some men of Benjamin turned back. They ran toward the desert to the rock of Rimmon. As they did, the men of Israel struck down 5,000 of them along the roads. They kept chasing the men of Benjamin all the way to Gidom. Along the way they struck down 2,000 more.46On that day 25,000 men of Benjamin fell in battle. They had been carrying swords. All of them were brave fighters.47But 600 men turned back. They ran into the desert to the rock of Rimmon. They stayed there for four months.48The men of Israel went back to Benjamin. They killed the people in all of the towns with their swords. They even killed the animals. So they killed everything they found. They set on fire all of the towns they came to.
English Standard Version
Israel’s War with the Tribe of Benjamin
1Then all the people of Israel came out, from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at Mizpah. (Jos 22:12; Jud 21:5; 1Sa 3:20; 1Sa 7:5; 1Sa 10:17; 1Sa 11:7; 2Sa 3:10; 2Sa 24:2)2And the chiefs of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 men on foot that drew the sword. (Jud 8:10; Jud 20:15; Jud 20:17; Jud 20:25; Jud 20:35; Jud 20:46; 1Sa 14:38)3(Now the people of Benjamin heard that the people of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the people of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this evil happen?”4And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came to Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. (Jud 19:15)5And the leaders of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house against me by night. They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead. (Jud 19:22; Jud 19:25)6So I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel, for they have committed abomination and outrage in Israel. (Jud 19:23; Jud 19:29)7Behold, you people of Israel, all of you, give your advice and counsel here.” (Jud 19:30)8And all the people arose as one man, saying, “None of us will go to his tent, and none of us will return to his house.9But now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot,10and we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions for the people, that when they come they may repay Gibeah of Benjamin for all the outrage that they have committed in Israel.”11So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man.12And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What evil is this that has taken place among you? (De 13:14; Jos 22:13; Jos 22:16)13Now therefore give up the men, the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and purge evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the people of Israel. (De 13:5; De 13:13; De 17:2; Jud 19:22)14Then the people of Benjamin came together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the people of Israel.15And the people of Benjamin mustered out of their cities on that day 26,000 men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who mustered 700 chosen men. (Nu 1:37; Nu 26:41; Jud 20:2)16Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. (Jud 3:15; 1Ch 12:2)17And the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered 400,000 men who drew the sword; all these were men of war. (Jud 20:15)18The people of Israel arose and went up to Bethel and inquired of God, “Who shall go up first for us to fight against the people of Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Judah shall go up first.” (Jud 1:1; Jud 20:26; Jud 20:31)19Then the people of Israel rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah.20And the men of Israel went out to fight against Benjamin, and the men of Israel drew up the battle line against them at Gibeah.21The people of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and destroyed on that day 22,000 men of the Israelites. (Jud 20:25)22But the people, the men of Israel, took courage, and again formed the battle line in the same place where they had formed it on the first day.23And the people of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until the evening. And they inquired of the Lord, “Shall we again draw near to fight against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Go up against them.” (Jud 20:26)24So the people of Israel came near against the people of Benjamin the second day.25And Benjamin went against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed 18,000 men of the people of Israel. All these were men who drew the sword. (Jud 20:2; Jud 20:21)26Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. (Jud 20:18; Jud 20:31)27And the people of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, (Jos 18:1; 1Sa 4:3)28and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days), saying, “Shall we go out once more to battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin, or shall we cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.” (Nu 25:7; Nu 31:6; De 10:8; De 18:5; De 18:7; Jos 24:33)29So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. (Jos 8:4)30And the people of Israel went up against the people of Benjamin on the third day and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times.31And the people of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city. And as at other times they began to strike and kill some of the people in the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the open country, about thirty men of Israel. (Jud 20:18; Jud 20:26; Jud 21:19)32And the people of Benjamin said, “They are routed before us, as at the first.” But the people of Israel said, “Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways.” (Jos 8:5)33And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place and set themselves in array at Baal-tamar, and the men of Israel who were in ambush rushed out of their place from Maareh-geba.34And there came against Gibeah 10,000 chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was hard, but the Benjaminites did not know that disaster was close upon them. (Jud 20:41)35And the Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and the people of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day. All these were men who drew the sword. (Jud 20:2)36So the people of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. The men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, because they trusted the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah.37Then the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush moved out and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. (Jos 8:19)38Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the men in the main ambush was that when they made a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city39the men of Israel should turn in battle. Now Benjamin had begun to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel. They said, “Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.” (Jud 20:31)40But when the signal began to rise out of the city in a column of smoke, the Benjaminites looked behind them, and behold, the whole of the city went up in smoke to heaven. (Jos 8:20)41Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed, for they saw that disaster was close upon them. (Jud 20:34)42Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel in the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them. And those who came out of the cities were destroying them in their midst. (Jos 8:15; Jos 8:24)43Surrounding the Benjaminites, they pursued them and trod them down from Nohah as far as opposite Gibeah on the east.44Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, all of them men of valor.45And they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon. Five thousand men of them were cut down in the highways. And they were pursued hard to Gidom, and 2,000 men of them were struck down. (Jos 15:32; Jud 20:42; Jud 21:13)46So all who fell that day of Benjamin were 25,000 men who drew the sword, all of them men of valor.47But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon and remained at the rock of Rimmon four months. (Jud 20:42; Jud 20:45)48And the men of Israel turned back against the people of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, the city, men and beasts and all that they found. And all the towns that they found they set on fire.