1Then all Israel from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead came together as one and assembled before the Lord in Mizpah.2The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of God’s people, four hundred thousand men armed with swords.3(The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, “Tell us how this awful thing happened.”4So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, “I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night.5During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died.6I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece to each region of Israel’s inheritance, because they committed this lewd and outrageous act in Israel.7Now, all you Israelites, speak up and tell me what you have decided to do.”8All the men rose up together as one, saying, “None of us will go home. No, not one of us will return to his house.9But now this is what we’ll do to Gibeah: We’ll go up against it in the order decided by casting lots.10We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for this outrageous act done in Israel.”11So all the Israelites got together and united as one against the city.12The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What about this awful crime that was committed among you?13Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.” But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites.14From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites.15At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred able young men from those living in Gibeah.16Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred select troops who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.17Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fit for battle.18The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?” The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.”19The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah.20The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah.21The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day.22But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day.23The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?” The Lord answered, “Go up against them.”24Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day.25This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords.26Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord.27And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there,28with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?” The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”29Then Israel set an ambush around Gibeah.30They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before.31The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away from the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads—the one leading to Bethel and the other to Gibeah.32While the Benjamites were saying, “We are defeating them as before,” the Israelites were saying, “Let’s retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads.”33All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place on the west of Gibeah.34Then ten thousand of Israel’s able young men made a frontal attack on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize how near disaster was.35The Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords.36Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten. Now the men of Israel had given way before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush they had set near Gibeah.37Those who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword.38The Israelites had arranged with the ambush that they should send up a great cloud of smoke from the city,39and then the Israelites would counterattack. The Benjamites had begun to inflict casualties on the Israelites (about thirty), and they said, “We are defeating them as in the first battle.”40But when the column of smoke began to rise from the city, the Benjamites turned and saw the whole city going up in smoke.41Then the Israelites counterattacked, and the Benjamites were terrified, because they realized that disaster had come on them.42So they fled before the Israelites in the direction of the wilderness, but they could not escape the battle. And the Israelites who came out of the towns cut them down there.43They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easily overran them in the vicinity of Gibeah on the east.44Eighteen thousand Benjamites fell, all of them valiant fighters.45As they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, the Israelites cut down five thousand men along the roads. They kept pressing after the Benjamites as far as Gidom and struck down two thousand more.46On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite swordsmen fell, all of them valiant fighters.47But six hundred of them turned and fled into the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months.48The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the towns they came across they set on fire.
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.