Judges 201And so all the sons of Israel went out like one man, from Dan to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, and they gathered together, before the Lord, at Mizpah. 2And all the chiefs of the people, and every tribe of Israel, convened as an assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand foot soldiers for battle. 3(But it was not hidden from the sons of Benjamin that the sons of Israel had ascended to Mizpah.) And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was killed, being questioned as to how so great a crime had been perpetrated, 4responded: “I went to Gibeah of Benjamin, with my wife, and I diverted to that place. 5And behold, the men of that city, at night, surrounded the house in which I was staying, intending to kill me. And they abused my wife with such an incredible fury of lust that in the end she died. 6And taking her up, I cut her into pieces, and I sent the parts into all the borders of your possession. For never before was such a nefarious crime, and so great a sin, committed in Israel. 7You are all present here, O sons of Israel. Discern what you ought to do.” 8And all the people, standing, responded as if with the word of one man: “We shall not return to our own tents, nor shall anyone enter into his own house. 9But this we shall do in common against Gibeah: 10We shall select ten men out of one hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred out of one thousand, and one thousand out of ten thousand, so that they may transport supplies for the army, and so that we will be able to fight against Gibeah of Benjamin, and to repay it for its crime as it deserves.” 11And all of Israel convened against the city, like one man, with one mind and one counsel. 12And they sent messengers to the entire tribe of Benjamin, who said: “Why has so great a wickedness been found among you? 13Deliver the men of Gibeah, who have perpetrated this deplorable act, so that they may die, and so that the evil may be taken away from Israel.” And they were not willing to listen to the command of their brothers, the sons of Israel. 14Instead, out of all the cities that were their lot, they convened at Gibeah, so that they might bring them assistance, and so that they might contend against the entire people of Israel. 15And there were found from Benjamin twenty-five thousand who drew the sword, aside from the inhabitants of Gibeah, 16who were seven hundred very strong men, fighting with the left hand as well as with the right hand, and casting stones from a sling so accurately that they were able to strike even a hair, and the path of the stone would by no means miss to either side. 17Then too, among the men of Israel apart from the sons of Benjamin, there were found four hundred thousand who drew the sword and who were prepared for battle. 18And they rose up and went to the house of God, that is, to Shiloh. And they consulted God, and they said, “Who shall be, in our army, the first to contend against the sons of Benjamin?” And the Lord responded to them, “Let Judah be your leader.” 19And immediately the sons of Israel, rising up in the morning, made camp near Gibeah. 20And setting out from there to fight against Benjamin, they began to assault the city. 21And the sons of Benjamin, departing from Gibeah, slew twenty-two thousand men from the sons of Israel, on that day. 22Again the sons of Israel, trusting in both strength and number, set their troops in order, in the same place where they had contended before. 23But first they also went up and wept before the Lord, even until night. And they consulted him and said, “Should I continue to go forth, so as to contend against the sons of Benjamin, my brothers, or not?” And he responded to them, “Ascend against them, and undertake the struggle.” 24And when the sons of Israel had continued to do battle against the sons of Benjamin on the next day, 25the sons of Benjamin burst forth from the gates of Gibeah. And meeting them, they made such a frenzied slaughter against them that they struck down eighteen thousand men who drew the sword. 26As a result, all the sons of Israel went to the house of God, and sitting down, they wept before the Lord. And they fasted that day until evening, and they offered to him holocausts and victims of peace offerings. 27And they inquired about their state. At that time, the ark of the covenant of the Lord was in that place. 28And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was the first ruler of the house. And so, they consulted the Lord, and they said, “Should we continue to go forth in battle against the sons of Benjamin, our brothers, or should we cease?” And the Lord said to them: “Ascend. For tomorrow, I will deliver them into your hands.” 29And the sons of Israel stationed ambushes around the city of Gibeah. 30And they brought out their army against Benjamin a third time, just as they had done on the first and second times. 31But the sons of Benjamin again burst forth boldly from the city. And since their enemies were fleeing, they pursued them a long way, so that they might wound or kill some of them, just as they had done on the first and second days. And they turned their backs along two paths, one bringing them toward Bethel, and the other toward Gibeah. And they struck down about thirty men. 32For they thought that they were falling back as they had done before. But instead, skillfully feigning flight, they undertook a plan to draw them away from the city, and by seeming to flee, to lead them along the above stated paths. 33And so all the sons of Israel, rising up from their positions, set their troops in order, in the place which is called Baaltamar. Likewise, the ambushes that encircled the city began, little by little, to reveal themselves, 34and to advance upon the western part of the city. Moreover, another ten thousand men from all of Israel were provoking a conflict with the inhabitants of the city. And the war grew heavy against the sons of Benjamin. And they did not realize that, on all sides of them, death was imminent. 35And the Lord struck them down in the sight of the sons of Israel, and they put to death, on that day, twenty-five thousand of them, along with one hundred men, all warriors and those who drew the sword. 36But the sons of Benjamin, when they had seen themselves to be the weaker, began to flee. And the sons of Israel discerning this, gave them room to flee, so that they might arrive at the ambushes that were prepared, which they had positioned near the city. 37And after they had risen up suddenly from hiding, and those of Benjamin had turned their backs to those who cut them down, they entered the city, and they struck it with the edge of the sword. 38Now the sons of Israel had given a sign to those whom they had stationed in ambushes, so that, after they had seized the city, they would light a fire, and by the smoke ascending on high, they would show that the city was captured. 39And then, the sons of Israel discerned this sign during the battle (for the sons of Benjamin had thought that they fled, and they pursued them forcefully, cutting down thirty men from their army). 40And they saw something like a pillar of smoke ascending from the city. Likewise, Benjamin, looking back, discerned that the city was captured, for the flames were being carried on high. 41And those who before had pretended to flee, turning their faces, withstood them more strongly. And when the sons of Benjamin had seen this, they turned their backs in flight, 42and they began to go toward the way of the desert, with the adversary pursuing them to that place also. Moreover, those who had set fire to the city also met them. 43And so it happened that they were cut down on both sides by the enemies, nor was there any respite for the dying. They were killed and struck down on the eastern side of the city of Gibeah. 44Now those who were put to death in the same place were eighteen thousand men, all very robust fighters. 45And when those who remained of Benjamin had seen this, they fled into the wilderness. And they were traveling toward the rock which is called Rimmon. In that flight also, among those who were scattering in different directions, they slew five thousand men. And though they scattered all the more, they continued to pursue them, and then they put to death another two thousand. 46And so it happened that all of those who were slain from Benjamin, in various places, were twenty-five thousand fighters, very willing to go to war. 47And so there remained from the entire number of Benjamin six hundred men who were able to escape and to flee into the wilderness. And they settled at the rock of Rimmon, for four months. 48But the sons of Israel, returning, had struck with the sword all that remained in the city, from men even to cattle. And all the cities and villages of Benjamin were consumed with devouring flames.
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