20 1THEN ALL the Israelites came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at Mizpah, from Dan even to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead. 2And the chiefs of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 men on foot who drew the sword. 3(Now the Benjamites [among whom the vile tragedy occurred] heard that the [other] Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) There the Israelites asked, How did this wickedness happen? 4And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, replied, I came to Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. 5And the men of Gibeah rose against me and beset the house round about me by night; they meant to kill me and they raped my concubine, and she is dead. 6And 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 abomination and [wicked] folly in Israel. 7Behold, you Israelites, all of you, give here your advice and counsel. 8And all the people arose as one man, saying, Not any of us will go to his tent, and none of us will return to his home. 9But now this we will do to Gibeah: we will go up by lot against it, 10And we will take ten men of 100 throughout all the tribes of Israel, and 100 of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000, to bring provisions for the men, that when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin they may do to them according to all the [wicked] folly which they have committed in Israel. 11So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man. 12And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that has been done among you? 13Now therefore, give up the men [involved], the base fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and put away evil from Israel. But the Benjamites would not listen to the voice of their kinsmen the Israelites. 14But the Benjamites out of the cities assembled at Gibeah to go out to battle against the other Israelites. 15And the Benjamites mustered out of their cities at that time 26,000 men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who mustered 700 chosen men. 16Among all these were 700 chosen left-handed men; every one could sling stones at a hair and not miss. 17And the men of Israel, other than Benjamin, mustered 400,000 men who drew the sword; all these were men of war. 18The Israelites arose and went up to the house of God [Bethel] and asked counsel of God and said, Which of us shall take the lead to battle against the Benjamites? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first. 19Then the Israelites rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin and set the battle in array against them at Gibeah. 21The Benjamites came forth out of Gibeah and felled to the ground that day 22,000 men of the Israelites. 22But the people, the men of Israel, took courage and strengthened themselves and again set their battle line in the same place where they formed it the first day. 23And the Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening and asked of the Lord, Shall we go up again to battle against our brethren the Benjamites? And the Lord said, Go up against them. 24So the Israelites came near against the Benjamites the second day. 25And Benjamin went forth out of Gibeah against them the second day and felled to the ground the Israelites again, 18,000 men, all of whom were swordsmen. 26Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up and came to the house of God [Bethel] and wept; and they sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 27And the Israelites inquired of the Lord--for the ark of the covenant of God was there [at Bethel] in those days, 28And Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days--saying, Shall we yet again go out to battle against our brethren the Benjamites or shall we quit? And the Lord said, Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand. 29So Israel set men in ambush round about Gibeah. 30And the Israelites went up against the Benjamites on the third day and set themselves in array against Gibeah as at other times. 31And the Benjamites went out against their army and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite and kill some of the people as at other times, in the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the open country--about thirty men of Israel. 32And the Benjamites said, They are routed before us as at first. But the Israelites said, Let us flee and draw them from the city to the highways. 33And all the men of Israel rose out of their places and set themselves in array at Baal-tamar, and the men of Israel in ambush rushed out of their place in the meadow of Geba. 34And there came against Gibeah 10,000 chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was hard; but the Benjamites did not know disaster was close upon them. 35And the Lord overcame Benjamin before Israel, and the Israelites destroyed of the Benjamites that day 25,100 men, all of whom were swordsmen. 36So the Benjamites saw that they were defeated. The men of Israel gave ground to the Benjamites, because they trusted in the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37And the men in ambush quickly rushed upon Gibeah, and the liers-in-wait moved out and smote all the city with the sword. 38Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that when they made a great cloud of smoke arise from the city, 39The men of Israel should all turn back in battle. Now Benjamin had begun to smite and kill some of the men of Israel, about thirty persons. They said, Surely they are falling before us as in the first battle. 40But when the [signal] cloud began to rise out of the city in a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and behold, the whole of the city went up in smoke to the heavens. 41When the men of Israel turned back again, the men of Benjamin were dismayed, for they saw that disaster had come upon them. 42Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel and fled toward the wilderness, but the battle followed close behind and overtook them; and the inhabitants of the cities destroyed those [Benjamites] who came through them in their midst. 43They surrounded the Benjamites, pursued them, and overtook and trod them down at their resting-place as far as opposite Gibeah toward the east. 44And there fell 18,000 men of Benjamin, all of them men of valor. 45And [the Benjamites] turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and Israel picked off on the highways 5,000 men of them; they pursued hard after them to Gidom and slew 2,000 more of them. 46So that all of Benjamin who fell that day were 25,000 men who drew the sword, all of them men of valor. 47But 600 men turned and fled to the wilderness to the rock Rimmon and remained at the rock Rimmon four months. 48And the men of Israel turned back against the Benjamites and smote them with the sword, men and beasts and all that they found. Also they set on fire all the towns to which they came.
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