21 1NOW THE men of Israel had sworn at Mizpah, None of us shall give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin. 2And the Israelites came to the house of God [Bethel] and sat there until evening before God and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. 3And they said, O Lord, the God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel? 4And next morning the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. 5And the Israelites said, Which among all the tribes of Israel did not come up with the assembly to the Lord? For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah, saying, He shall surely die. 6And the Israelites changed their purpose [and had compassion] for the Benjamites their kinsmen and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel today. 7What shall we do for wives for those who are left, seeing we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them our daughters as wives? 8And they said, Which one is there of the tribes of Israel that did not come up to Mizpah to the Lord? And behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead, to the assembly. 9For when the people were mustered, behold, not one of the citizens of Jabesh-gilead was there. 10And the congregation sent there 12,000 of the bravest men, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the sword, also the women and the little ones. 11And this is what you shall do; utterly destroy every male and every woman who is not a virgin. 12And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins, who had known no man by lying with him; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 13And the whole congregation sent word to the Benjamites who were at the rock of Rimmon and invited them to be friendly with them. 14And Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead; and yet there were not enough for them. 15And the people had compassion on Benjamin, because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 16Then the elders of the congregation said, What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women of Benjamin are destroyed? 17And they said, There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe shall not be wiped out of Israel. 18But we cannot give them wives of our daughters, for the Israelites have sworn, Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin. 19So they said, Behold, there is the yearly feast of the Lord at Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem and south of Lebonah. 20So they commanded the Benjamites, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21And watch; if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and catch every man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh and go to the land of Benjamin. 22And when their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, we will say to them, Grant them graciously unto us, because we did not reserve a wife for each of them in battle, neither did you give wives to them, for that would have made you guilty [of breaking your oath]. 23And the Benjamites did so and took wives, according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried off; then they went and returned to their inheritance and repaired the towns and dwelt in them. 24And the Israelites left there then, every man to his tribe and family, and they went out from there every man to his inheritance. 25In those days [N]there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.
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