The men of Israel had taken an oath1 at Mizpah:2 "Not one of us will give3 his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite."
The people went to Bethel,a where they sat before God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly.
"O LORD, the God of Israel," they cried, "why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing4 from Israel today?"
Early the next day the people built an altar and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.b55
Then the Israelites asked, "Who from all the tribes of Israel6 has failed to assemble before the LORD?" For they had taken a solemn oath that anyone who failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah should certainly be put to death.
Now the Israelites grieved for their brothers, the Benjamites. "Today one tribe is cut off from Israel," they said.
"How can we provide wives for those who are left, since we have taken an oath7 by the LORD not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?"