Then the people of Israel asked, "Has anyone failed to come here in the sight of the LORD? Is anyone missing from all of the tribes of Israel?" The people had made a promise with an oath. They had said that anyone who failed to come to Mizpah in the sight of the LORD should certainly be put to death.
The people of Israel were very sad because of what had happened to the tribe of Benjamin. After all, they were their fellow Israelites. "Today one tribe has been cut off from Israel," they said.
"How can we provide wives for the men who are left? We've made a promise with an oath in the sight of the Lord. We've promised not to give any of our daughters to be married to them."
Then they asked, "Has any tribe of Israel failed to come here to Mizpah in the sight of the LORD?" They discovered that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come. No one from there had gathered together with the others in the camp.
They counted the people. They found that none of the people of Jabesh Gilead had come to Mizpah.
So the community sent 12,000 fighting men to Jabesh Gilead. They directed them to take their swords and kill those who were living there. That included the women and children.
"Here is what you must do," they said. "Kill every male. Also kill every woman who is not a virgin."
They found 400 young women in Jabesh Gilead who had never made love to a man. So they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.
Then the whole community sent an offer of peace to the men of Benjamin. The men were at the rock of Rimmon.
So the men of Benjamin returned at that time. They were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there weren't enough women for all of them.
The people were very sad because of what had happened to the tribe of Benjamin. The LORD had left a gap in the tribes of Israel. They weren't complete without Benjamin.