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Judges 20Amplified Bible (AMP)

Resolve to Punish the Guilty

20 Then all the sons of Israel from Dan [in the north] to Beersheba [in the south], including the land of Gilead came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at Mizpah. The chiefs of all the people of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand men on foot who drew the sword. (Now the Benjamites [in whose territory the crime was committed] heard that the [other tribes of the] sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, “How did this evil thing happen?” So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, replied, “I had come with my concubine to spend the night in Gibeah, [a town] which belongs to [the tribe of] Benjamin. But the men of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me, but instead they raped my concubine [so brutally] that she died. So I took my concubine and cut her [corpse] in pieces and sent her [body parts] throughout the land of the inheritance of Israel; for the men of Gibeah have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. Now then, all you sons of Israel, all of you, give your advice and counsel here [regarding what should be done].”

Then all the people stood [unified] as one man, saying, “None of us will go to his tent, and none of us will return to his home [until this is settled]. But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it, 10 and we will take ten men out of a hundred throughout the tribes of Israel, and a hundred out of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand to bring provisions for the men, so that when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, they may punish them for all the despicable acts which they have committed in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel assembled against the city, united as one man.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this evil thing that has been done among you? 13 Now therefore, turn over the men [involved], the [a]worthless and wicked men in Gibeah, so that we may put them to death and remove this wickedness from Israel.” But the Benjamites would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel. 14 Then the [tribe of the] sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the [other] sons of Israel. 15 And the Benjamites assembled out of their cities at that time twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who assembled seven hundred chosen men. 16 Out of all these people were seven hundred choice [b]left-handed men; each one could sling stones at [a target no wider than] a hair and not [c]miss.

17 Then the men of Israel, other than Benjamin, assembled four hundred thousand men who drew the sword; all of these were men of war.

Civil War, Benjamin Defeated

18 The men of Israel arose and went up to [d]Bethel and asked of God and said, “Which of us shall take the lead to battle against the sons [tribe] of Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Judah [shall go up] first.”

19 Then the [fighting men of the] sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and assembled in battle formation against them at Gibeah. 21 The sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and struck to the ground on that day twenty-two thousand [fighting] men of Israel. 22 But the people, the [fighting] men of Israel, took courage and strengthened themselves and again set their battle line in the same place where they formed it the first day. 23 The sons of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and asked of the Lord, “Shall we advance again to battle against the sons of our brother Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Go up against them.”

24 So the sons of Israel came against the sons of Benjamin the second day. 25 And [the fighting men from the tribe of] Benjamin went out of Gibeah against them the second day and again struck to the ground the sons of Israel, eighteen thousand men, all of whom were swordsmen. 26 Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; and they sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 27 And the sons of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there [at Bethel] in those days, 28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I quit?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will hand them over to you.”

29 So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30 The [fighting men of the] sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and placed themselves in battle formation against Gibeah as at other times. 31 The Benjamites went out against [e]their army and were lured away from the city, and they began to strike and kill some of the people as at other times, on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the open country, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the Benjamites said, “They are defeated before us, as at the first.” But the sons of Israel said, “Let us flee and lure them away from the city to the highways.” 33 Then all the men of Israel got up from their places and placed themselves in battle formation at Baal-tamar; and the men of Israel [who were] in ambush rushed from their place in the plain of Maareh-geba. 34 When the ten thousand choice [fighting] men from all Israel came against Gibeah, the battle was hard and fierce; but the Benjamites did not realize that disaster was about to strike them. 35 And the Lord struck down [the tribe of] Benjamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed twenty-five thousand one hundred men of Benjamin that day, all of whom were swordsmen.

36 So the Benjamites realized that they were defeated. Then men of Israel gave ground to the Benjamites, because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had placed against Gibeah. 37 Then the men in ambush quickly rushed and attacked Gibeah; and the men in ambush also deployed and struck the entire city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that they would make a great cloud of smoke rise from the city. 39 So the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel, for they said, “Certainly they are defeated before us as in the first battle!” 40 But when the [signal] cloud began to rise out of the city in a column of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them; and behold, the entire city went up in smoke to heaven. 41 When the men of Israel turned back again, the men of Benjamin were terrified, for they saw that disaster had fallen upon them. 42 Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel [and fled] toward the direction of the wilderness, but the battle followed and overtook them. As the [fighting men of the] sons of Benjamin ran among them, the Israelites of the cities came out and destroyed them. 43 They surrounded [the men of] Benjamin, pursued them relentlessly, and overtook them opposite Gibeah toward the east. 44 Thus eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, all of these brave and able warriors. 45 The survivors [of Benjamin] turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and Israel caught five thousand of them on the roads and overtook them at Gidom and killed two thousand of them. 46 So all of Benjamin who fell that day were twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword, all of them brave and able warriors. 47 But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon and stayed at the rock of Rimmon for four months. 48 The men of Israel turned back against [the tribe of] the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city [of Gibeah] and the livestock and all that they found. They also set on fire all the [surrounding] towns which they found.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 20:13 Lit sons of Belial.
  2. Judges 20:16 Lit impeded in the right hand.
  3. Judges 20:16 This is the verb usually translated as to sin.
  4. Judges 20:18 Apparently the ark of the covenant and the high priest were in Bethel.
  5. Judges 20:31 Lit the people.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Judges 20New International Version (NIV)

The Israelites Punish the Benjamites

20 Then all Israel from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead came together as one and assembled before the Lord in Mizpah. 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 armed with swords. (The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, “Tell us how this awful thing happened.”

So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, “I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died. I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece to each region of Israel’s inheritance, because they committed this lewd and outrageous act in Israel. Now, all you Israelites, speak up and tell me what you have decided to do.

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. But now this is what we’ll do to Gibeah: We’ll go up against it in the order decided by casting lots. 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.

12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What about this awful crime that was committed among you? 13 Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.

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, 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.

18 The Israelites went up to Bethel[b] and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?”

The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.”

19 The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. 20 The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. 21 The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day. 22 But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. 23 The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?”

The Lord answered, “Go up against them.”

24 Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day. 25 This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords.

26 Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. 27 And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28 with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?”

The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.

29 Then Israel set an ambush around Gibeah. 30 They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before. 31 The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away from the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads—the one leading to Bethel and the other to Gibeah. 32 While the Benjamites were saying, “We are defeating them as before,” the Israelites were saying, “Let’s retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads.”

33 All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place on the west[c] of Gibeah.[d] 34 Then ten thousand of Israel’s able young men made a frontal attack on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize how near disaster was. 35 The Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords. 36 Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten.

Now the men of Israel had given way before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush they had set near Gibeah. 37 Those who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword. 38 The Israelites had arranged with the ambush that they should send up a great cloud of smoke from the city, 39 and then the Israelites would counterattack.

The Benjamites had begun to inflict casualties on the Israelites (about thirty), and they said, “We are defeating them as in the first battle.” 40 But when the column of smoke began to rise from the city, the Benjamites turned and saw the whole city going up in smoke. 41 Then the Israelites counterattacked, and the Benjamites were terrified, because they realized that disaster had come on them. 42 So they fled before the Israelites in the direction of the wilderness, but they could not escape the battle. And the Israelites who came out of the towns cut them down there. 43 They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easily[e] overran them in the vicinity of Gibeah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand Benjamites fell, all of them valiant fighters. 45 As they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, the Israelites cut down five thousand men along the roads. They kept pressing after the Benjamites as far as Gidom and struck down two thousand more.

46 On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite swordsmen fell, all of them valiant fighters. 47 But six hundred of them turned and fled into the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months. 48 The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the towns they came across they set on fire.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 20:10 One Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts Geba, a variant of Gibeah
  2. Judges 20:18 Or to the house of God; also in verse 26
  3. Judges 20:33 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. Judges 20:33 Hebrew Geba, a variant of Gibeah
  5. Judges 20:43 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

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