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Judges 21 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 Back at Mizpah the men of Israel had taken an oath: "No man among us will give his daughter to a Benjaminite in marriage." 1 The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah: "Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite."
2 Now, back in Bethel, the people sat in the presence of God until evening. They cried loudly; there was widespread lamentation. 2 The people went to Bethel, where they sat before God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly.
3 They said, "Why, O God, God of Israel, has this happened? Why do we find ourselves today missing one whole tribe from Israel?" 3 "O LORD, the God of Israel," they cried, "why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?"
4 Early the next morning, the people got busy and built an altar. They sacrificed Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings. 4 Early the next day the people built an altar and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.
5 Then the Israelites said, "Who from all the tribes of Israel didn't show up as we gathered in the presence of God?" For they had all taken a sacred oath that anyone who had not gathered in the presence of God at Mizpah had to be put to death. 5 Then the Israelites asked, "Who from all the tribes of Israel 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.
6 But the People of Israel were feeling sorry for Benjamin, their brothers. They said, "Today, one tribe is cut off from Israel. 6 Now the Israelites grieved for their brothers, the Benjamites. "Today one tribe is cut off from Israel," they said.
7 How can we get wives for those who are left? We have sworn by God not to give any of our daughters to them in marriage." 7 "How can we provide wives for those who are left, since we have taken an oath by the LORD not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?"
8 They said, "Which one of the tribes of Israel didn't gather before God at Mizpah?" 8 Then they asked, "Which one of the tribes of Israel failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah?" They discovered that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly.
9 When they took a roll call of the people, not a single person from Jabesh Gilead was there. 9 For when they counted the people, they found that none of the people of Jabesh Gilead were there.
10 So the congregation sent twelve divisions of their top men there with the command, "Kill everyone of Jabesh Gilead, including women and children. 10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children.
11 These are your instructions: Every man and woman who has had sexual intercourse you must kill. But keep the virgins alive." And that's what they did. 11 "This is what you are to do," they said. "Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin."
12 And they found 400 virgins among those who lived in Jabesh Gilead; they had never had sexual intercourse with a man. And they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.
13 Then the congregation sent word to the Benjaminites who were at the Rimmon Rock and offered them peace. 13 Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon.
14 And Benjamin came. They gave them the women they had let live at Jabesh Gilead. But even then, there weren't enough for all the men. 14 So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of them.
15 The people felt bad for Benjamin; God had left out Benjamin - the missing piece from the Israelite tribes. 15 The people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel.
16 The elders of the congregation said, "How can we get wives for the rest of the men, since all the Benjaminite women have been killed? 16 And the elders of the assembly said, "With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left?
17 How can we keep the inheritance alive for the Benjaminite survivors? How can we prevent an entire tribe from extinction? 17 The Benjamite survivors must have heirs," they said, "so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out.
18 We certainly can't give our own daughters to them as wives." (Remember, the Israelites had taken the oath: "Cursed is anyone who provides a wife to Benjamin.") 18 We can't give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: 'Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.'
19 Then they said, "There is that festival of God held every year in Shiloh. It's north of Bethel, just east of the main road that goes up from Bethel to Shechem and a little south of Lebonah." 19 But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh, to the north of Bethel, and east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and to the south of Lebonah."
20 So they told the Benjaminites, "Go and hide in the vineyards. 20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, "Go and hide in the vineyards
21 Stay alert - when you see the Shiloh girls come out to dance the dances, run out of the vineyards, grab one of the Shiloh girls for your wife, and then hightail it back to the country of Benjamin. 21 and watch. When the girls of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, then rush from the vineyards and each of you seize a wife from the girls of Shiloh and go to the land of Benjamin.
22 When their fathers or brothers come to lay charges against us, we'll tell them, 'We did them a favor. After all we didn't go to war and kill to get wives for men. And it wasn't as if you were in on it by giving consent. But if you keep this up, you will incur blame.'" 22 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 give your daughters to them.' "
23 And that's what the Benjaminites did: They carried off girls from the dance, wives enough for their number, got away, and went home to their inheritance. They rebuilt their towns and settled down. 23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the girls were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.
24 From there the People of Israel dispersed, each man heading back to his own tribe and clan, each to his own plot of land. 24 At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance.
25 At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing. 25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.