So all the men of Israel got together and united as one man1 against the city.
The tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, "What about this awful crime that was committed among you?213
Now surrender those wicked men3 of Gibeah so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.4" But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites.
From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites.
At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred chosen men from those living in Gibeah.
Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed,5 each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fighting men.
The Israelites went up to Bethela6 and inquired of God.7 They said, "Who of us shall go first8 to fight9 against the Benjamites?" The LORD replied, "Judah10 shall go first."
The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah.
The men of Israel went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah.
The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites11 on the battlefield that day.
But the men of Israel encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day.
The Israelites went up and wept before the LORD 12 until evening,13 and they inquired of the LORD.14 They said, "Shall we go up again to battle15 against the Benjamites, our brothers?" The LORD answered, "Go up against them."
Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day.
This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites,16 all of them armed with swords.
Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD.17 They fasted18 that day until evening and presented burnt offerings19 and fellowship offeringsb20 to the LORD.2127
And the Israelites inquired of the LORD.22 (In those days the ark of the covenant of God23 was there,
with Phinehas son of Eleazar,24 the son of Aaron, ministering before it.)25 They asked, "Shall we go up again to battle with Benjamin our brother, or not?" The LORD responded, "Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.26"
Then Israel set an ambush27 around Gibeah.
They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before.
The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away28 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 Bethel29 and the other to Gibeah.
While the Benjamites were saying, "We are defeating them as before,"30 the Israelites were saying, "Let's retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads."
All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place31 on the westc of Gibeah.d34
Then ten thousand of Israel's finest men made a frontal attack on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize32 how near disaster was.3335
The LORD defeated Benjamin34 before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords.
Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten. Now the men of Israel had given way35 before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush36 they had set near Gibeah.
The men who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword.3738
The men of Israel had arranged with the ambush that they should send up a great cloud of smoke38 from the city,3939
and then the men of Israel would turn in the battle. The Benjamites had begun to inflict casualties on the men of Israel (about thirty), and they said, "We are defeating them as in the first battle."4040
But when the column of smoke began to rise from the city, the Benjamites turned and saw the smoke of the whole city going up into the sky.4141
Then the men of Israel turned on them,42 and the men of Benjamin were terrified, because they realized that disaster had come43 upon them.
So they fled before the Israelites in the direction of the desert, but they could not escape the battle. And the men of Israel who came out of the towns cut them down there.
They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easilye overran them in the vicinity of Gibeah on the east.
Eighteen thousand Benjamites fell, all of them valiant fighters.4445
As they turned and fled toward the desert to the rock of Rimmon,45 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.
On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite46 swordsmen fell, all of them valiant fighters.
But six hundred men turned and fled into the desert to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months.
The 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.47