When the men of Benjamin came out to attack, they were drawn away from the town. And as they had done before, they began to kill the Israelites. About thirty Israelites died in the open fields and along the roads, one leading to Bethel and the other leading back to Gibeah.
Then the warriors of Benjamin shouted, “We’re defeating them as we did before!” But the Israelites had planned in advance to run away so that the men of Benjamin would chase them along the roads and be drawn away from the town.
When the main group of Israelite warriors reached Baal-tamar, they turned and took up their positions. Meanwhile, the Israelites hiding in ambush to the west of Gibeah jumped up to fight.
References for Judges 20:33
There were 10,000 elite Israelite troops who advanced against Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that Benjamin didn’t realize the impending disaster.
So the helped Israel defeat Benjamin, and that day the Israelites killed 25,100 of Benjamin’s warriors, all of whom were experienced swordsmen.
Then the men of Benjamin saw that they were beaten. The Israelites had retreated from Benjamin’s warriors in order to give those hiding in ambush more room to maneuver against Gibeah.
Then those who were hiding rushed in from all sides and killed everyone in the town.
They had arranged to send up a large cloud of smoke from the town as a signal.
When the Israelites saw the smoke, they turned and attacked Benjamin’s warriors. By that time Benjamin’s warriors had killed about thirty Israelites, and they shouted, “We’re defeating them as we did in the first battle!”
But when the warriors of Benjamin looked behind them and saw the smoke rising into the sky from every part of the town,
the men of Israel turned and attacked. At this point the men of Benjamin became terrified, because they realized disaster was close at hand.
So they turned around and fled before the Israelites toward the wilderness. But they couldn’t escape the battle, and the people who came out of the nearby towns were also killed.
References for Judges 20:42
The Israelites surrounded the men of Benjamin and chased them relentlessly, finally overtaking them east of Gibeah.
References for Judges 20:43
That day 18,000 of Benjamin’s strongest warriors died in battle.
The survivors fled into the wilderness toward the rock of Rimmon, but Israel killed 5,000 of them along the road. They continued the chase until they had killed another 2,000 near Gidom.
So that day the tribe of Benjamin lost 25,000 strong warriors armed with swords,
leaving only 600 men who escaped to the rock of Rimmon, where they lived for four months.
And the Israelites returned and slaughtered every living thing in all the towns—the people, the livestock, and everything they found. They also burned down all the towns they came to.