Now surrender those wicked men1 of Gibeah so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.2" 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,3 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 Bethela4 and inquired of God.5 They said, "Who of us shall go first6 to fight7 against the Benjamites?" The LORD replied, "Judah8 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 Israelites9 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 10 until evening,11 and they inquired of the LORD.12 They said, "Shall we go up again to battle13 against the Benjamites, our brothers?" The LORD answered, "Go up against them."