20:22. Again Israel, trusting in their strength and their number, set their army in array in the same place, where they had fought before:
Trusting in their strength... The Lord suffered them to be overthrown and many of them to be slain, though their cause was just; partly in punishment of the idolatry which they exercised or tolerated in the tribe of Dan, and elsewhere; and partly because they trusted in their own strength; and therefore, though he bid them fight, he would not give them the victory, till they were thoroughly humbled and had learned to trust in him alone.
20:23. Yet so that they first went up and wept before the Lord until night: and consulted him and said: Shall I go out any more to fight against the children of Benjamin my brethren or not? And he answered them: Go up against them, and join battle.
20:24. And when the children of Israel went out the next day to fight against the children of Benjamin,
20:25. The children of Benjamin sallied forth out of the gates of Gabaa: and meeting them, made so great a slaughter of them, as to kill eighteen thousand men that drew the sword.
20:26. Wherefore all the children of Israel came to the house of God, and sat and wept before the Lord: and they fasted that day till the evening, and offered to him holocausts, and victims of peace offerings,
20:27. And inquired of him concerning their state. At that time the ark of the covenant of the Lord was there,
20:28. And Phinees, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was over the house. So they consulted the Lord, and said: Shall we go out any more to fight against the children of Benjamin, our brethren, or shall we cease?
And the Lord said to them: Go up, for to morrow I will deliver them into your hands.
20:29. And the children of Israel set ambushes round about the city of Gabaa:
20:30. And they drew up their army against Benjamin the third time, as they had done the first and second.
20:31. And the children of Benjamin boldly issued out of the city, and seeing their enemies flee, pursued them a long way, so as to wound and kill some of them, as they had done the first and second day, whilst they fled by two highways, whereof one goeth up to Bethel and the other to Gabaa, and they slew about thirty men:
20:32. For they thought to cut them off as they did before. But they artfully feigning a flight, designed to draw them away from the city, and by their seeming to flee, to bring them to the highways aforesaid.
20:33. Then all the children of Israel rising up out of the places where they were, set their army in battle array, in the place which is called Baalthamar. The ambushes also, which were about the city, began by little and little to come forth,
20:34. And to march from the west side of the city. And other ten thousand men chosen out of all Israel, attacked the inhabitants of the city. And the battle grew hot against the children of Benjamin: and they understood not that present death threatened them on every side.
20:35. And the Lord defeated them before the children of Israel, and they slew of them in that day five and twenty thousand, and one hundred, all fighting men, and that drew the sword.
20:36. But the children of Benjamin, when they saw themselves to be too weak, began to flee. Which the children of Israel seeing, gave them place to flee, that they might come to the ambushes that were prepared, which they had set near the city.
20:37. And they that were in ambush arose on a sudden out of their coverts, and whilst Benjamin turned their backs to the slayers, went into the city, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
20:38. Now the children of Israel had given a sign to them, whom they had laid in ambushes, that after they had taken the city, they should make a fire: that by the smoke rising on high, they might shew that the city was taken.
20:39. And when the children of Israel saw this in the battle, (for the children of Benjamin thought they fled, and pursued them vigorously, killing thirty men of their army)
20:40. And perceived, as it were, a pillar of smoke rise up from the city; and Benjamin looking back, saw that the city was taken, and that the flames ascended on high:
20:41. They that before had made as if they fled, turning their faces, stood bravely against them. Which the children of Benjamin seeing, turned their backs,
20:42. And began to go towards the way of the desert, the enemy pursuing them thither also. And they that fired the city came also out to meet them.
20:43. And so it was, that they were slain on both sides by the enemies, and there was no rest of their men dying. They fell and were beaten down on the east side of the city of Gabaa.
20:44. And they that were slain in the same place, were eighteen thousand men, all most valiant soldiers.
20:45. And when they that remained of Benjamin saw this, they fled into the wilderness, and made towards the rock that is called Remmon. In that flight also, as they were straggling, and going different ways; they slew of them five thousand men. And as they went farther, they still pursued them, and slew also other two thousand.
20:46. And so it came to pass, that all that were slain of Benjamin, in divers places, were five and twenty thousand fighting men, most valiant for war.
20:47. And there remained of all the number of Benjamin only six hundred men that were able to escape, and flee to the wilderness: and they abode in the rock Remmon four months.
20:48. But the children of Israel returning, put all the remains of the city to the sword, both men and beasts, and all the cities and villages of Benjamin were consumed with devouring flames.
Judges Chapter 21
The tribe of Benjamin is saved from being utterly extinct, by providing wives for the six hundred that remained.
21:1. Now the children of Israel had also sworn in Maspha, saying: None of us shall give of his daughters to the children of Benjamin to wife.
21:2. And they all came to the house of God in Silo, and sitting before him till the evening, lifted up their voices, and began to lament and weep, saying:
21:3. O Lord God of Israel, why is so great an evil come to pass in thy people, that this day one tribe should be taken away from among us?
21:4. And rising early the next day, they built an altar: and offered there holocausts, and victims of peace, and they said:
21:5. Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the army of the Lord? for they had bound themselves with a great oath, when they were in Maspha, that whosoever were wanting should be slain.
21:6. And the children of Israel being moved with repentance for their brother Benjamin, began to say: One tribe is taken away from Israel.
21:7. Whence shall they take wives? For we have all in general sworn, not to give our daughters to them.
21:8. Therefore they said: Who is there of all the tribes of Israel, that came not up to the Lord to Maspha? And, behold, the inhabitants of Jabes Galaad were found not to have been in that army.
21:9. (At that time also when they were in Silo, no one of them was found there,)
21:10. So they sent ten thousand of the most valiant men, and commanded them, saying: Go and put the inhabitants of Jabes Galaad to the sword, with their wives and their children.
21:11. And this is what you shall observe: Every male, and all women that have known men, you shall kill, but the virgins you shall save.
21:12. And there were found of Jabes Galaad four hundred virgins, that had not known the bed of a man, and they brought them to the camp in Silo, into the land of Chanaan.
21:13. And they sent messengers to the children of Benjamin, that were in the rock Remmon, and commanded them to receive them in peace.
21:14. And the children of Benjamin came at that time, and wives were given them of Jabes Galaad: but they found no others, whom they might give in like manner.
21:15. And all Israel was very sorry, and repented for the destroying of one tribe out of Israel.
21:16. And the ancients said: What shall we do with the rest, that have not received wives? for all the women in Benjamin are dead.
21:17. And we must use all care, and provide with great diligence, that one tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.
21:18. For as to our own daughters we cannot give them, being bound with an oath and a curse, whereby we said: Cursed be he that shall give Benjamin any of his daughters to wife.
21:19. So they took counsel, and said: Behold, there is a yearly solemnity of the Lord in Silo, which is situate on the north of the city of Bethel, and on the east side of the way, that goeth from Bethel to Sichem, and on the south of the town of Lebona.