Judges 20 (Third Millennium Bible)

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1 Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpah. 2 And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen who drew the sword. 3 (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) Then said the children of Israel, "Tell us, how was this wickedness?" 4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was slain, answered and said, "I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. 5 And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me; and my concubine have they forced, so that she is dead. 6 And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel; for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel. 7 Behold, ye are all children of Israel. Give here your advice and counsel." 8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, "We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house. 9 But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah: We will go up by lot against it; 10 and we will take ten men out of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred out of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand to fetch victuals for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel." 11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man. 12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, "What wickedness is this that is done among you? 13 Now therefore, deliver us the men, the children of Belial, who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and put away evil from Israel." But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel; 14 but the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah to go out to battle against the children of Israel. 15 And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were numbered seven hundred chosen men. 16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men, lefthanded. Every one could sling stones at a hairbreadth and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men who drew the sword. All these were men of war. 18 And the children of Israel arose and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God and said, "Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin?" And the LORD said, "Judah shall go up first." 19 And the children of Israel rose up in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. 21 And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men. 22 And the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and set up again in battle array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. 23 And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until evening, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin, my brother?" And the LORD said, "Go up against him." 24 And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. 25 And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. 26 Then all the children of Israel and all the people went up, and came unto the house of God and wept, and sat there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 27 And the children of Israel inquired of the LORD (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, "Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin, my brother, or shall I cease?" And the LORD said, "Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into thine hand." 29 And Israel set liersinwait round about Gibeah. 30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. 31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite some of the people and kill, as at other times, in the highways (of which one goeth up to the house of God and the other to Gibeah in the field), about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the children of Benjamin said, "They are smitten down before us, as at the first." But the children of Israel said, "Let us flee and draw them from the city unto the highways." 33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baaltamar; and the liersinwait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah. 34 And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore; but they knew not that evil was near them. 35 And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel; and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and a hundred men; all these drew the sword. 36 So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten; for the men of Israel gave way to the Benjamites, because they trusted in the liersinwait whom they had set against Gibeah. 37 And the liersinwait hastened and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liersinwait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liersinwait that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city. 39 And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons; for they said, "Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle." 40 But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven. 41 And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed; for they saw that evil had come upon them. 42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them; and those who came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them. 43 Thus they enclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them and trod them down with ease opposite Gibeah toward the sunrising. 44 And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men. All these were men of valor. 45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon; and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men, and pursued hard after them unto Gidom and slew two thousand men of them. 46 So all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men who drew the sword. All these were men of valor. 47 But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon, and abode in the rock of Rimmon four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city and the beast, and all that came to hand. Also they set on fire all the cities that they came to.
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