New International Version
The Israelites Punish the Benjamites
20 Then all Israel(A) from Dan to Beersheba(B) and from the land of Gilead came together as one(C) and assembled(D) before the Lord in Mizpah.(E) 2 The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of God’s people, four hundred thousand men(F) armed with swords. 3 (The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, “Tell us how this awful thing happened.”
4 So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, “I and my concubine came to Gibeah(G) in Benjamin to spend the night.(H) 5 During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me.(I) They raped my concubine, and she died.(J) 6 I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece to each region of Israel’s inheritance,(K) because they committed this lewd and outrageous act(L) in Israel. 7 Now, all you Israelites, speak up and tell me what you have decided to do.(M)”
8 All the men rose up together as one, saying, “None of us will go home. No, not one of us will return to his house. 9 But now this is what we’ll do to Gibeah: We’ll go up against it in the order decided by casting lots.(N) 10 We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah[a] in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for this outrageous act done in Israel.” 11 So all the Israelites got together and united as one against the city.(O)
12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What about this awful crime that was committed among you?(P) 13 Now turn those wicked men(Q) of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.(R)”
But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites. 14 From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites. 15 At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred able young men from those living in Gibeah. 16 Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred select troops who were left-handed,(S) each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
17 Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fit for battle.
- Judges 20:10 One Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts Geba, a variant of Gibeah
New International Version
11 And when the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side, 12 the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh(A) to go to war against them.
13 So the Israelites sent Phinehas(B) son of Eleazar,(C) the priest, to the land of Gilead—to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 14 With him they sent ten of the chief men, one from each of the tribes of Israel, each the head of a family division among the Israelite clans.(D)
15 When they went to Gilead—to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh—they said to them: 16 “The whole assembly of the Lord says: ‘How could you break faith(E) with the God of Israel like this? How could you turn away from the Lord and build yourselves an altar in rebellion(F) against him now? 17 Was not the sin of Peor(G) enough for us? Up to this very day we have not cleansed ourselves from that sin, even though a plague fell on the community of the Lord! 18 And are you now turning away from the Lord?
“‘If you rebel against the Lord today, tomorrow he will be angry with the whole community(H) of Israel. 19 If the land you possess is defiled, come over to the Lord’s land, where the Lord’s tabernacle(I) stands, and share the land with us. But do not rebel against the Lord or against us by building an altar(J) for yourselves, other than the altar of the Lord our God. 20 When Achan son of Zerah was unfaithful in regard to the devoted things,[a](K) did not wrath(L) come on the whole community(M) of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.’”(N)
21 Then Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh replied to the heads of the clans of Israel: 22 “The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God,(O) the Lord!(P) He knows!(Q) And let Israel know! If this has been in rebellion or disobedience to the Lord, do not spare us this day. 23 If we have built our own altar to turn away from the Lord and to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings,(R) or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it, may the Lord himself call us to account.(S)
24 “No! We did it for fear that some day your descendants might say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 The Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you—you Reubenites and Gadites! You have no share in the Lord.’ So your descendants might cause ours to stop fearing the Lord.
26 “That is why we said, ‘Let us get ready and build an altar—but not for burnt offerings or sacrifices.’ 27 On the contrary, it is to be a witness(T) between us and you and the generations that follow, that we will worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings.(U) Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no share in the Lord.’
28 “And we said, ‘If they ever say this to us, or to our descendants, we will answer: Look at the replica of the Lord’s altar, which our ancestors built, not for burnt offerings and sacrifices, but as a witness(V) between us and you.’
29 “Far be it from us to rebel(W) against the Lord and turn away from him today by building an altar for burnt offerings, grain offerings and sacrifices, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle.(X)”
30 When Phinehas the priest and the leaders of the community—the heads of the clans of the Israelites—heard what Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had to say, they were pleased. 31 And Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, said to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, “Today we know that the Lord is with us,(Y) because you have not been unfaithful to the Lord in this matter. Now you have rescued the Israelites from the Lord’s hand.”
32 Then Phinehas son of Eleazar, the priest, and the leaders returned to Canaan from their meeting with the Reubenites and Gadites in Gilead and reported to the Israelites.(Z) 33 They were glad to hear the report and praised God.(AA) And they talked no more about going to war against them to devastate the country where the Reubenites and the Gadites lived.
34 And the Reubenites and the Gadites gave the altar this name: A Witness(AB) Between Us—that the Lord is God.
- Joshua 22:20 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.