12 “If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to dwell there,

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Israel's War with the Tribe of Benjamin

20 Then (A)all the people of Israel came out, (B)from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at (C)Mizpah. And the (D)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 (E)that drew the sword. (Now the people of Benjamin heard that the people of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the people of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this evil happen?” And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, (F)“I came to Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. (G)And the leaders of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house against me by night. They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead. (H)So I took hold of 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 (I)outrage in Israel. Behold, you people of Israel, all of you, (J)give your advice and counsel here.”

And all the people arose as one man, saying, “None of us will go to his tent, and none of us will return to his house. But now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot, 10 and we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions for the people, that when they come they may repay Gibeah of Benjamin for all the outrage that they have committed in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man.

12 (K)And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What evil is this that has taken place among you? 13 Now therefore give up the men, (L)the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death (M)and purge evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the people of Israel. 14 Then the people of Benjamin came together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the people of Israel. 15 And the people of Benjamin mustered out of their cities on that day (N)26,000 men (O)who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who mustered 700 chosen men. 16 Among all these were 700 chosen men who were (P)left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered (Q)400,000 men who drew the sword; all these were men of war.

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11 And the people of Israel (A)heard it said, “Behold, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh have built the altar at the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region about the Jordan, on the side that belongs to the people of Israel.” 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, (B)the whole assembly of the people of Israel gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.

13 Then the people of Israel sent to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, (C)Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, (D)every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 And they came to the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord, ‘What is this breach of faith that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following the Lord by building yourselves an altar this day (E)in rebellion against the Lord? 17 Have we not had enough of (F)the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the Lord, 18 that you too must turn away this day from following the Lord? And if (G)you too rebel against the Lord today then tomorrow (H)he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 But now, if the land of your possession is unclean, pass over into the Lord's land (I)where the Lord's tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us. (J)Only do not rebel against the Lord or make us as rebels by building for yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 (K)Did not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and (L)wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.’”

21 Then the people of Reuben, the people of Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 “The Mighty One, (M)God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! (N)He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the Lord, do not spare us today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord. Or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or peace offerings on it, may the Lord himself (O)take vengeance. 24 No, but we did it from fear that (P)in time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you people of Reuben and people of Gad. You have no portion in the Lord.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be (Q)a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we (R)do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’ 28 And we thought, ‘If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say, “Behold, the copy of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be (S)a witness between us and you.”’ 29 Far be it from us that we should (T)rebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord (U)by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!”

30 When (V)Phinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh spoke, (W)it was good in their eyes. 31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh, “Today we know that (X)the Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the Lord. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Lord.”

32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the chiefs, returned from the people of Reuben and the people of Gad (Y)in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the people of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 And the report (Z)was good in the eyes of the people of Israel. And the people of Israel (AA)blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them to destroy the land where the people of Reuben and the people of Gad were settled. 34 The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, (AB)“it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

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