Judges 20
New Heart English Bible
1Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, to the LORD at Mizpah. 2The leaders of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen who drew sword. 3(Now the people of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) The children of Israel said, "Tell us, how did this wickedness happen?" 4The Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, "I came into Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my secondary wife, to spend the night. 5And the leaders of Gibeah rose against me, and surrounded the house at night. They intended to kill me, and they raped my secondary wife, and she is dead. 6I took my secondary wife, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of the inheritance of Israel; for they have committed wickedness and disgrace in Israel. 7Look, you children of Israel, all of you, give your advice and counsel here."

8All the people arose as one man, saying, "None of us will go to his tent, neither will any of us return to his house. 9But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot; 10and we will take ten men of one hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred of one thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to get food for the people, those setting forth, that when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin they may repay all the disgrace that they have committed in Israel." 11So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man.

12The tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, "What wickedness is this that has happened among you? 13Now therefore deliver up the men, the wicked men who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel." But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the children of Israel. 14The people of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. 15The people of Benjamin were numbered on that day out of the cities twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were numbered seven hundred chosen men. 16Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men left-handed; everyone could sling stones at a hair and not miss.

17The men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men who drew sword: all these were men of war.

18The children of Israel arose, and went up to Bethel, and asked counsel of God; and they said, "Who shall go up for us first to battle against the people of Benjamin?" The LORD said, "Judah will go up first."

19The children of Israel rose up in the morning, and camped against Gibeah. 20The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel set the battle in array against them at Gibeah. 21The people of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites on that day twenty-two thousand men. 22The people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves, and set the battle again in array in the place where they set themselves in array the first day. 23The children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until evening; and they asked of the LORD, saying, "Shall I again draw near to battle against the people of Benjamin my brother?" The LORD said, "Go up against him."

24The children of Israel came near against the people of Benjamin the second day. 25Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. 26Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came to Bethel, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 27The children of Israel asked of the LORD (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), "Shall I yet again go out to battle against the people of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?" The LORD said, "Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver him into your hand."

29Israel set ambushes all around Gibeah. 30The children of Israel went up against the people of Benjamin on the third day, and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. 31The people of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to strike and kill some of the people, as at other times, on the highways, of which one goes up to Bethel, and the other to Gibeah, in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32The people of Benjamin said, "They are defeated before us, as previously." But the children of Israel said, "Let us flee, and draw them away from the city to the highways." 33All the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and set themselves in array at Baal Tamar. And the men of Israel in ambush rushed out of their place west of Geba. 34There came over against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was severe; but they didn't know that disaster was close upon them. 35The LORD struck Benjamin before Israel; and the children of Israel destroyed of Benjamin that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men: all armed with swords.

36So the people of Benjamin saw that they were defeated; for the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, because they trusted the ambushers whom they had set against Gibeah. 37The ambushers hurried, and rushed on Gibeah; and the ambushers drew themselves along, and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the ambushers was that they should make a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city. 39The men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons; for they said, "Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle." 40But when the cloud began to arise up out of the city in a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them; and look, the whole city went up in smoke into the sky. 41The men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were terrified; for they saw that disaster had come on them. 42Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel to the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and those who came out of the cities destroyed them in its midst. 43They surrounded Benjamin, and they pursued them from Nohah and overtook them near Gibeah toward the east. 44There fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valor. 45They turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon: and they killed on the highways five thousand men, and followed hard after them to Gidom, and struck down two thousand men. 46So that all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand swordsmen; all these were valiant fighters. 47But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and stayed in the rock of Rimmon four months. 48The men of Israel turned again on the people of Benjamin, and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city, and the livestock, and all that they found: moreover all the cities which they found they set on fire.

New Heart English Bible
Edited by Wayne A. Mitchell.
Public Domain 2008-2023

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