The people grieved for Benjamin,1 because the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel.
And the elders of the assembly said, "With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left?
The Benjamite survivors must have heirs," they said, "so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out.218
We can't give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath:3 'Cursed be anyone who gives4 a wife to a Benjamite.'
But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh,5 to the north of Bethel6, and east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem,7 and to the south of Lebonah."
So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, "Go and hide in the vineyards
and watch. When the girls of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing,8 then rush from the vineyards and each of you seize a wife from the girls of Shiloh and go to the land of Benjamin.
When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, 'Do us a kindness by helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war, and you are innocent, since you did not give9 your daughters to them.' "
So that is what the Benjamites did. While the girls were dancing,10 each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance11 and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.1224
At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance.
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.13