Judges 211 The sons of Israel had also taken an oath at Mizpah, and they said, “None of us shall give his daughters as a wife to the sons of Benjamin.” 2 And they all went to the house of God at Shiloh. And sitting in his sight until evening, they lifted up their voice, and they began to weep, with a great wailing, saying, 3 “Why, O Lord, God of Israel, has this evil happened among your people, so that this day one tribe would be taken away from us?” 4 Then, rising at first light on the next day, they built an altar. And they offered holocausts and victims of peace offerings there, and they said, 5 “Who, out of all the tribes of Israel, did not ascend with the army of the Lord?” For they had bound themselves with a great oath, when they were at Mizpah, that whoever was not present would be slain. 6 And the sons of Israel, having been led to repentance over their brother Benjamin, began to say: “One tribe has been taken away from Israel. 7 From where shall they receive wives? For we have all sworn in common that we will not give our daughters to them.” 8 For this reason, they said, “Who is there, out of all the tribes of Israel, that did not ascend to the Lord at Mizpah?” And behold, the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead were found not to have been among that army. 9 (Likewise, in the time when they had been at Shiloh, not one of them was found to be there.) 10 And so they sent ten thousand very robust men, and they instructed them, saying, “Go and strike down the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead with the edge of the sword, including their wives and little ones.” 11 And this shall be what you ought to do: “Everyone of the male gender, as well as all the women who have known men, shall be put to death. But the virgins you shall reserve.” 12 And four hundred virgins, who had not known the bed of a man, were found from Jabesh-Gilead. And they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, in the land of Canaan. 13 And they sent messengers to the sons of Benjamin, who were at the rock of Rimmon, and they instructed them, so that they would receive them in peace. 14 And the sons of Benjamin went, at that time, and wives were given to them from the daughters of Jabesh-Gilead. But others were not found, whom they might give in a similar manner. 15 And all of Israel was very saddened, and they did penance for destroying one tribe out of Israel. 16 And those greater by birth said: “What shall we do with the remainder, those who have not received wives? For all the females of Benjamin have been cut down, 17 and we must take great care, and make provision with a very great diligence, so that one tribe may not be wiped away from Israel. 18 As for our own daughters, we are not able to give them, being bound by an oath and a curse, when we said, ‘Accursed is he who will give any of his daughters to Benjamin as a wife.’ ” 19 And they took counsel, and they said, “Behold, there is a yearly solemnity of the Lord at Shiloh, which is situated to the north of the city of Bethel, and on the eastern side of the way that one takes from Bethel to Shechem, and to the south of the town of Lebonah.” 20 And they instructed the sons of Benjamin, and they said: “Go, and hide in the vineyards. 21 And when you will have seen daughters of Shiloh being led out to dance, according to custom, go forth suddenly from the vineyards, and let each one seize one wife from among them, and travel into the land of Benjamin. 22 And when their fathers and brothers arrive, and they begin to complain against you and to argue, we will say to them: ‘Take pity on them. For they have not seized them by right of war or conquest. Instead, begging to receive them, you did not give them, and so the sin was on your part.’ ” 23 And so the sons of Benjamin did just as they had been ordered. And according to their number, they seized for themselves one wife each, out of those who were led out dancing. And they went into their own possession, and they built up their cities, and they lived in them. 24 The sons of Israel also returned, according to their tribes and families, to their tents. In those days, there was no king in Israel. Instead, each one did what seemed right to himself.
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