Judges 19; Judges 20; Judges 21

1 In those days Israel didn't have a king. There was a Levite who lived deep in the hill country of Ephraim. He got a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 But she wasn't faithful to him. She left him. She went back to her father's house in Bethlehem in Judah. She stayed there for four months. 3 Then her husband went to see her. He tried to talk her into coming back with him. He had his servant and two donkeys with him. She took her husband into her father's house. When her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. 4 His father-in-law, the woman's father, begged him to stay. So he remained with him for three days. He ate, drank and slept there. 5 On the fourth day they got up early. The Levite prepared to leave. But the woman's father spoke to his son-in-law. He said, "Have something to eat. It will give you strength. Then you can go on your way." 6 So the two of them sat down. They ate and drank together. After that, the woman's father said, "Please stay tonight. Enjoy yourself." 7 The man got up to go. But his father-in-law talked him into staying. So he stayed there that night. 8 On the morning of the fifth day, he got up to go. But the woman's father said, "Have something to eat. It will give you strength. Wait until this afternoon!" So the two of them ate together. 9 Then the man got up to leave. His concubine and his servant got up when he did. But his father-in-law, the woman's father, spoke to him again. "Look," he said. "It's almost evening. The day is nearly over. So spend another night here. Please stay. Enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and go back home." 10 But the man didn't want to stay another night. So he left. He went toward Jebus. He had his two donkeys and his concubine with him. The donkeys had saddles on them. Jebus is also called Jerusalem. 11 By the time the travelers came near Jebus, the day was almost over. So the servant said to his master, "Come. Let's stop at this Jebusite city. Let's spend the night here." 12 His master replied, "No. We won't go into a city where strangers live. The people there aren't from Israel. We'll continue on to Gibeah." 13 He added, "Come. Let's try to reach Gibeah or Ramah. We can spend the night in one of those places." 14 So they continued on. As they came near Gibeah in Benjamin, the sun went down. 15 They stopped there to spend the night. They went to the city's main street and sat down. But no one took them home for the night. 16 That evening an old man came into the city. He had been working in the fields. He was from the hill country of Ephraim. But he was living in Gibeah. The people who lived there were from the tribe of Benjamin. 17 The old man saw the traveler in the main street. He asked, "Where are you going? Where did you come from?" 18 The Levite answered, "We've come from Bethlehem in Judah. We're on our way to Ephraim. I live deep in the hill country there. I've been to Bethlehem. Now I'm going to the house of the Lord. But no one has taken me home for the night. 19 We have straw and feed for our donkeys. We have food and wine for ourselves. We have enough for me, my female servant and the young man who is with us. We don't need anything." 20 "You are welcome at my house," the old man said. "I'd be happy to supply anything you might need. But don't spend the night in the street." 21 So the old man took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After the travelers had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink. 22 They were inside enjoying themselves. But some of the evil men who lived in the city surrounded the house. They pounded on the door. They shouted to the old man who owned the house. They said, "Bring out the man who came to your house. We want to have sex with him." 23 The owner of the house went outside. He said to them, "No, my friends. Don't do such an evil thing. This man is my guest. So don't do this terrible thing. 24 "Look, here is my virgin daughter. And here's the Levite's concubine. I'll bring them out to you now. You can have them. Do to them what you want to. But don't do such a terrible thing to this man." 25 The men wouldn't listen to him. So the Levite sent his concubine out to them. They forced her to have sex with them. They raped her all night long. As the night was ending, they let her go. 26 At sunrise she went back to the house where her master was staying. She fell down at the door. She stayed there until daylight. 27 Later that morning her master got up. He opened the door of the house. He stepped out to continue on his way. But his concubine was lying there. She had fallen at the doorway of the house. Her hands were reaching out toward the door. 28 He said to her, "Get up. Let's go." But there wasn't any answer. Then he put her dead body on his donkey. And he started out for home. 29 When he reached home, he got a knife. He cut up his concubine. He cut her into 12 pieces. He sent them into all of the territories of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen or done before. Nothing like this has happened since the day the people of Israel came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!"
1 Then all of the people of Israel came out. They came from the whole land between Dan and Beersheba. They also came from the land of Gilead. All of them gathered together in the sight of the LORD at Mizpah. 2 The leaders of all of the tribes of Israel came. They took their places among the people of God who were gathered together. There were 400,000 fighting men who were carrying swords. 3 The tribe of Benjamin heard that the people of Israel had gone up to Mizpah. The people of Israel said, "Tell us how that awful thing happened." 4 So the Levite spoke. He was the husband of the woman who had been murdered. He said, "I and my concubine went to Gibeah in Benjamin. We spent the night there. 5 During the night the men of Gibeah came after me. They surrounded the house. They were planning to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died. 6 "I took my concubine and cut her into pieces. I sent one piece to each part of Israel's territory. I did it because they had done a very terrible thing in Israel. 7 All of you men of Israel, speak up now. Give your decision." 8 All of the men got up together. They said, "None of us will go home. Not one of us will return to his house. 9 Here is what we'll do to Gibeah. We'll use lots to tell us how to attack the city. 10 We'll take ten men out of every 100 from all of the tribes of Israel. We'll take 100 from every 1,000. We'll take 1,000 from every 10,000. The men we take will get supplies for the army. Then the army will go to Gibeah in Benjamin. They'll give Gibeah exactly what they should get because of the evil thing they did in Israel." 11 So all of the men of Israel came together to fight against the city. 12 The tribes of Israel sent men through the whole tribe of Benjamin. They said, "What about this awful crime that was committed among you? 13 Hand over those evil men of Gibeah. We'll put them to death. In that way we'll get rid of those evil people." But the people of Benjamin wouldn't listen to the other people of Israel. 14 They came together at Gibeah from their towns. They came to fight against the other people of Israel. 15 Right away the people of Benjamin gathered together 26,000 men from their towns. They were carrying swords. The men were added to the 700 who had been chosen from those who were living in Gibeah. 16 Among all of those men there were 700 who were left-handed. Each of them could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17 Israel gathered 400,000 men together. They were carrying swords. All of them were fighting men. That number didn't include the tribe of Benjamin. 18 The people of Israel went up to Bethel. There they spoke to God. They asked him, "Who will go up first and fight for us against the people of Benjamin?" The LORD answered, "The tribe of Judah will go first." 19 The next morning the people of Israel got up. They set up camp near Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went out to fight against the men of Benjamin. They took up their battle positions against them at Gibeah. 21 The men of Benjamin came out of Gibeah. They killed 22,000 men of Israel on the field of battle that day. 22 But the men of Israel cheered each other on. They again took up their positions in the places where they had been the first day. 23 The men of Israel went and sobbed in the sight of the LORD until evening. They spoke to the Lord. They asked, "Should we go up again to fight against the men of Benjamin? They are our fellow Israelites." The LORD answered, "Go up and fight against them." 24 The men of Israel came near the men of Benjamin on the second day. 25 The men of Benjamin came out from Gibeah to oppose them. That time they killed 18,000 more men of Israel. All of the men who died had been carrying swords. 26 Then all of the people of Israel went up to Bethel. They sat there and sobbed in the sight of the Lord. They didn't eat anything that day until evening. Then they brought burnt offerings and friendship offerings to the Lord. 27 Again the people of Israel spoke to the Lord. In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there. 28 Phinehas was serving as priest at the ark. He was the son of Eleazar. Eleazar was the son of Aaron. The people of Israel asked, "Should we go up again to fight against the men of Benjamin? They are our fellow Israelites." The LORD answered, "Go. Tomorrow I will hand them over to you." 29 Then Israel hid some men and had them wait all around Gibeah. 30 They went up to fight against the men of Benjamin on the third day. They took up their positions against Gibeah, just as they had done before. 31 The men of Benjamin came out to fight against them. They were drawn away from the city. They began to wound and kill the men of Israel just as they had done before. About 30 men fell in battle. They fell in the open fields and on the roads. One of the roads led to Bethel. The other led to Gibeah. 32 The men of Benjamin said, "We're winning the battle over them, just as we did before." But the men of Israel said, "Let's pull back. Let's draw them away from the city to the roads." 33 All of the men of Israel moved away from their places. They took up new battle positions at Baal Tamar. The men who had been hiding charged out. They came from west of Gibeah. 34 Then 10,000 of Israel's finest men attacked Gibeah. The men of Benjamin didn't realize they were about to be destroyed. The fighting was very heavy. 35 The LORD helped Israel win the battle over Benjamin. On that day the men of Israel struck down 25,100 men of Benjamin. All of the men who died had been carrying swords. 36 Then the men of Benjamin saw that they had lost the battle. The men of Israel had moved away from their positions in front of Benjamin. They had depended on the men they had hidden near Gibeah. 37 Suddenly the men who had been hiding rushed into Gibeah. They spread out. Then they killed everyone in the city with their swords. 38 The men of Israel had made a plan with those who had been hiding. They had told them to send up a large cloud of smoke from the city. 39 Then the men of Israel would turn around and attack. The men of Benjamin had begun to wound and kill the men of Israel. They had struck down about 30 of them. They had said, "We're winning the battle over them, just as we did the first time." 40 But a column of smoke began to go up from the city. The men of Benjamin turned around. They saw the smoke of the whole city going up into the sky. 41 Then the men of Israel turned around and attacked them. The men of Benjamin were terrified. They realized they were going to be destroyed. 42 So they ran away from the men of Israel. They ran toward the desert. But they couldn't escape the battle. Other men of Israel came out of the towns. There they struck the men of Benjamin down. 43 They surrounded them. They chased them and easily caught up with them. That happened east of Gibeah. 44 So 18,000 men of Benjamin fell in battle. All of them were brave fighters. 45 Some men of Benjamin turned back. They ran toward the desert to the rock of Rimmon. As they did, the men of Israel struck down 5,000 of them along the roads. They kept chasing the men of Benjamin all the way to Gidom. Along the way they struck down 2,000 more. 46 On that day 25,000 men of Benjamin fell in battle. They had been carrying swords. All of them were brave fighters. 47 But 600 men turned back. They ran into the desert to the rock of Rimmon. They stayed there for four months. 48 The men of Israel went back to Benjamin. They killed the people in all of the towns with their swords. They even killed the animals. So they killed everything they found. They set on fire all of the towns they came to.
1 The men of Israel had taken an oath and made a promise at Mizpah. They had said, "Not one of us will give his daughter to be married to a man from Benjamin." 2 The people went to Bethel. They sat there until evening in the sight of God. They sobbed loudly and bitterly. 3 "Lord, you are the God of Israel," they cried. "Why has this happened to Israel? Why is one tribe missing from Israel today?" 4 Early the next day the people built an altar. They brought burnt offerings and friendship offerings. 5 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. 6 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. 7 "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." 8 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. 9 They counted the people. They found that none of the people of Jabesh Gilead had come to Mizpah. 10 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. 11 "Here is what you must do," they said. "Kill every male. Also kill every woman who is not a virgin." 12 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. 13 Then the whole community sent an offer of peace to the men of Benjamin. The men were at the rock of Rimmon. 14 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. 15 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. 16 The elders of the community spoke up. They said, "All of the women of Benjamin have been wiped out. So how will we find wives for the men who are left? 17 The men of Benjamin who are still alive need to have children," they said. "If they don't, a tribe of Israel will be wiped out. 18 "But we can't give them our daughters to be their wives. We Israelites have taken an oath and made a promise. We've said, 'May anyone who gives a wife to a man from Benjamin be under the LORD's curse.' 19 "Look, a feast is celebrated every year in Shiloh in honor of the Lord. Shiloh is north of Bethel. It's east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. It's south of Lebonah." 20 So they told the men of Benjamin what to do. They said, "Go. Hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. The young women of Shiloh will come out. They'll join in the dancing. When they do, run out of the vineyards. Each of you grab hold of a young woman from Shiloh to be your wife. Then go to the land of Benjamin. 22 "Their fathers or brothers might not be happy with what we're doing. If they aren't, we'll say to them, 'Do us a favor. Help the men of Benjamin. We didn't get wives for them during the battle. You aren't guilty of doing anything wrong. After all, you didn't give your daughters to them. They were stolen from you.' " 23 So that's what the men of Benjamin did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one. He carried her away to be his wife. Then the men returned to their own share of land. They built the towns again. They settled down in them. 24 At that time the men of Israel also left. They went home to their tribes and family groups. Each one went to his own share of land. 25 In those days Israel didn't have a king. The people did anything they thought was right.
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