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Judges 20-21 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 20

Assembly of Israelites. So all the Israelites came out as one, from Dan to Beer-sheba[a] including the land of Gilead, and the assembly gathered to the Lord at Mizpah. The leaders of all the people, all the staff-bearers of Israel,[b] presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God—four hundred thousand foot soldiers who carried swords. Meanwhile, the Benjaminites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah. The Israelites asked, “How did this evil thing happen?” and the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, testified: “It was at Gibeah of Benjamin, which my concubine and I had entered for the night. The lords of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded me in the house at night. I was the one they intended to kill, but they abused my concubine and she died. So I took my concubine and cut her up and sent her through every part of the territory of Israel, because of the terrible thing they had done in Israel. So now, all you Israelites, give your judgment and counsel in this matter.” All the people rose as one to say, “None of us will leave for our tents or return to our homes. Now as for Gibeah, this is what we will do: We will go up against it by lot, 10 taking from all the tribes of Israel ten men for every hundred, a hundred for every thousand, a thousand for every ten thousand, and procuring supplies for the soldiers who will go to exact from Gibeah of Benjamin the full measure of the terrible thing it committed in Israel.”

11 So all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one. 12 The tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin to say, “What is this evil that has occurred among you? 13 Now give up the men, the scoundrels who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and thus purge the evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites refused to listen to their kindred, the Israelites. 14 Instead, the Benjaminites assembled from their cities at Gibeah, to march out to battle with the Israelites. 15 On that day the Benjaminites mustered from their cities twenty-six thousand swordsmen, in addition to the inhabitants of Gibeah, who mustered seven hundred picked men 16 [c]who were left-handed, every one of them able to sling a stone at a hair without missing. 17 The men of Israel, without Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them warriors. 18 They went up to Bethel and consulted God. When the Israelites asked, “Who shall go up first for us to do battle with the Benjaminites?” the Lord said: Judah first.[d] 19 [e]The Israelites rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah.

War with Benjamin. 20 The men of Israel marched out to do battle with Benjamin and drew up in battle array against them at Gibeah. 21 The Benjaminites marched out of Gibeah that day and felled twenty-two thousand men of Israel. 22 [f]But the army of the men of Israel took courage and again drew up for battle in the place where they had drawn up on the previous day. 23 Then the Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening. “Shall I again engage my brother Benjamin in battle?” they asked the Lord; and the Lord answered: Attack! 24 When the Israelites drew near to the Benjaminites on the second day, 25 Benjamin marched out of Gibeah against them again and felled eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them swordsmen. 26 So the entire Israelite army went up and entered Bethel, where they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and communion offerings before the Lord. 27 The Israelites consulted the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of the Lord was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron,[g] was standing in his presence in those days), and asked, “Shall I again go out to battle with my brother Benjamin, or shall I stop?” The Lord said: Attack! For tomorrow I will deliver him into your power. 29 [h]So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah.

30 When the Israelites went up against the Benjaminites on the third day, they drew up against Gibeah as on other occasions. 31 When the Benjaminites marched out to meet the army, they began, as on other occasions, to strike down some of the troops along the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and one to Gibeah in the open country; about thirty Israelites were slain. 32 The Benjaminites thought, “They are routed before us as previously.” The Israelites, however, were thinking, “We will flee and draw them out from the city onto the highways.” 33 And then all the men of Israel rose from their places, forming up at Baal-tamar, and the Israelites in ambush rushed from their place west of Gibeah 34 and advanced against Gibeah with ten thousand picked men from all Israel. The fighting was severe, but no one knew that a disaster was closing in. 35 The Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel; and on that day the Israelites killed twenty-five thousand one hundred men of Benjamin, all of them swordsmen.

36 Then the Benjaminites saw that they were defeated. The men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, trusting in the ambush they had set at Gibeah. 37 Then the men in ambush, having made a sudden dash against Gibeah, marched in and put the whole city to the sword. 38 The arrangement the men of Israel had with the men in ambush was that they would send up a smoke signal from the city, 39 and the men of Israel would then wheel about in the battle. Benjamin, having begun by killing off some thirty of the men of Israel, thought, “Surely they are completely routed before us, as in the earlier fighting.” 40 But when the signal, the column of smoke, began to rise up from the city, Benjamin looked back and there was the whole city going up in smoke toward heaven. 41 Then when the men of Israel wheeled about, the men of Benjamin were thrown into confusion, for they realized that disaster was closing in on them. 42 They retreated before the men of Israel in the direction of the wilderness, but the fighting kept pace with them, and those who had been in the city were spreading destruction in between. 43 They surrounded the men of Benjamin, pursued them from Nohah and drove them along to a point east of Gibeah. 44 Eighteen thousand from Benjamin fell, all of them warriors. 45 They turned and fled into the wilderness to the crag of Rimmon. The Israelites picked off five thousand men on the highways and kept pace with them as far as Gidom, where they struck down another two thousand of them. 46 The total of those from Benjamin who fell that day was twenty-five thousand swordsmen, all of them warriors. 47 Six hundred men turned and fled into the wilderness to the crag of Rimmon, where they remained for four months.

48 Then the men of Israel turned back against the Benjaminites, putting them to the sword—the inhabitants of the cities, the livestock, and all they came upon. Moreover they destroyed by fire all the cities they came upon.

Chapter 21

Ensuring a Future for Benjamin. [i]The men of Israel took an oath at Mizpah: “None of us will give his daughter in marriage to anyone from Benjamin.” So the people went to Bethel and remained there before God until evening, raising their voices in bitter weeping. They said, “Lord, God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel that today one tribe of Israel should be lacking?” Early the next day the people built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and communion offerings. Then the Israelites asked, “Are there any among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the Lord for the assembly?” For there was a solemn oath that anyone who did not go up to the Lord at Mizpah should be put to death.

The Israelites were disconsolate over their brother Benjamin and said, “Today one tribe has been cut off from Israel. What can we do about wives for the survivors, since we have sworn by the Lord not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?” And when they asked, “Is there one among the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the Lord in Mizpah?” they found that none of the men of Jabesh-gilead had come to the encampment for the assembly. A roll call of the people was taken, and none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was present. 10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand warriors there with orders, “Go put the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead to the sword. 11 This is what you are to do: Every male and every woman who has had relations with a male you shall put under the ban.”[j] 12 Finding among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgin women, who had not had relations with a man, they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, in the land of Canaan. 13 Then the whole assembly sent word to the Benjaminites at the crag of Rimmon, offering them peace. 14 [k]So Benjamin returned at that time, and they were given as wives the women of Jabesh-gilead who had been spared; but these proved to be not enough for them.

15 The people had regrets about Benjamin because the Lord had made a breach among the tribes of Israel. 16 The elders of the assembly said, “What shall we do for wives for the survivors? For the women of Benjamin have been annihilated.” 17 They said, “There must be heirs for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be wiped out from Israel. 18 Yet we cannot give them any of our daughters in marriage.” For the Israelites had taken an oath, “Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin!” 19 Then they thought of the yearly feast of the Lord at Shiloh, north of Bethel, east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah. 20 And they instructed the Benjaminites, “Go and set an ambush in the vineyards. 21 When you see the women of Shiloh come out to join in the dances, come out of the vineyards and catch a wife for each of you from the women of Shiloh; then go on to the land of Benjamin. 22 When their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we shall say to them, ‘Release them to us as a kindness, since we did not take a woman for every man in battle. Nor did you yourselves give your daughters to them, thus incurring guilt.’”[l]

23 The Benjaminites did this; they carried off wives for each of them from the dancers they had seized, and they went back each to his own heritage, where they rebuilt the cities and settled them. 24 At that time the Israelites dispersed from there for their own tribes and clans; they set out from there each to his own heritage.

25 [m]In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own sight.

Footnotes:

  1. 20:1 From Dan to Beer-sheba: the entire country, from north to south. The land of Gilead: Israelite territory east of the Jordan.
  2. 20:2 The staff-bearers of Israel: the tribal leaders.
  3. 20:16 The strange notice that the Gibeahite warriors were left-handed was probably added here under the influence of the Ehud story; cf. 3:15 and the note there.
  4. 20:18 Judah first: as in 1:2, where the enemy is the Canaanites. This time the attack is against fellow Israelites, an indication of how far things have deteriorated in these days when as yet “there was no king in Israel”; see note on 17:6.
  5. 20:19–25 The Israelites are defeated twice by the Benjaminites.
  6. 20:22–23 These two verses seem to be transposed. The day of supplication described in v. 23 must have preceded the assembly for battle reported in v. 22.
  7. 20:28 Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron: the main line of the priesthood was traced through a grandson of Aaron by this name; see Ex 6:25 and Nm 25:10–13. Whether the priest identified here is the same man or his lineal descendant, the mention of his name adds authority to the sanctuary at Bethel. The reference to the ark of the covenant in the preceding verse has the same effect.
  8. 20:29–46 The Israelites are successful in their third attempt to defeat Benjamin. Leaving an ambush behind, they decoy the enemy troops out of the city by pretending to be routed as on the two previous occasions. The stratagem is strongly reminiscent of that employed in the conquest of Ai (Jos 8). Two accounts of the present battle against Gibeah are preserved, one in 20:29–36a and another in 20:36b–46.
  9. 21:1–7 The victorious Israelites now become concerned about the survival of the tribe they have defeated. Despite the large number of Benjaminites killed in the final battle (20:46) and the general carnage that followed (20:48), there does not seem to be a shortage of men. The problem is rather a shortage of wives for the surviving men, the result of a previously unmentioned vow the Israelites took not to permit their daughters to marry Benjaminites.
  10. 21:11 Under the ban: see note on 1:17. In this case the sanction is imposed not because of the rules for the conquest of the promised land (cf. Dt 20:10–18) but because of the failure of the men of Jabesh-gilead to honor their oath and report for the assembly.
  11. 21:14 Very strong political ties existed between the people of Jabesh-gilead and the Benjaminites, especially those involving Saul, the Benjaminite king of Israel. See 1 Sm 11, where Saul rescues Jabesh from an Ammonite siege, and 1 Sm 31:11–13, where the people of Jabesh exert themselves to ensure that the bodies of Saul and his sons should receive honorable burial.
  12. 21:22 Release them…guilt: this verse is difficult. Evidently the elders intend to make two arguments in support of their request that the men of Shiloh release their claims on the abducted women. The first argument seems to be that an insufficient number of women were taken “in battle”—i.e., the raid on Jabesh-gilead—to provide “a woman for every man”—i.e., a wife for every Benjaminite. The second argument is that since the women have been kidnapped, the men of Shiloh will not be guilty of having violated the oath mentioned above in 21:1, 7, and 18.
  13. 21:25 See note on 17:6. This final editorial comment calls attention to the chaos that followed the Benjaminite civil war and the near anarchy that characterized the various efforts to meet the need for wives for the Benjaminites.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 119:81-96 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Kaph

81 My soul longs for your salvation;
    I put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes long to see your promise.
    When will you comfort me?
83 I am like a wineskin shriveled by smoke,
    but I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long can your servant survive?
    When will your judgment doom my foes?
85 The arrogant have dug pits for me;
    defying your law.
86 All your commandments are steadfast.
    Help me! I am pursued without cause.
87 They have almost put an end to me on earth,
    but I do not forsake your precepts.
88 In your mercy give me life,
    to observe the testimonies of your mouth.

Lamedh

89 [a]Your word, Lord, stands forever;
    it is firm as the heavens.
90 Through all generations your truth endures;
    fixed to stand firm like the earth.
91 By your judgments they stand firm to this day,
    for all things are your servants.
92 Had your law not been my delight,
    I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts;
    through them you give me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
    for I cherish your precepts.
95 The wicked hope to destroy me,
    but I seek to understand your testimonies.
96 I have seen the limits of all perfection,
    but your commandment is without bounds.

Footnotes:

  1. 119:89–91 God’s word creates the world, which manifests that word by its permanence and reliability.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Mark 2:18-3:6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to him and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast[a] while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. 22 Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

The Disciples and the Sabbath.[b] 23 As he was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. 24 At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” 25 He said to them, “Have you never read what David did[c] when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? 26 How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” 27 Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man,[d] not man for the sabbath. 28 [e]That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Chapter 3

A Man with a Withered Hand. [f]Again he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. [g]The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:19 Can the wedding guests fast?: the bridal metaphor expresses a new relationship of love between God and his people in the person and mission of Jesus to his disciples. It is the inauguration of the new and joyful messianic time of fulfillment and the passing of the old. Any attempt at assimilating the Pharisaic practice of fasting, or of extending the preparatory discipline of John’s disciples beyond the arrival of the bridegroom, would be as futile as sewing a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak or pouring new wine into old wineskins with the resulting destruction of both cloth and wine (Mk 2:21–22). Fasting is rendered superfluous during the earthly ministry of Jesus; cf. Mk 2:20.
  2. 2:23–28 This conflict regarding the sabbath follows the same pattern as in Mk 2:18–22.
  3. 2:25–26 Have you never read what David did?: Jesus defends the action of his disciples on the basis of 1 Sm 21:2–7 in which an exception is made to the regulation of Lv 24:9 because of the extreme hunger of David and his men. According to 1 Samuel, the priest who gave the bread to David was Ahimelech, father of Abiathar.
  4. 2:27 The sabbath was made for man: a reaffirmation of the divine intent of the sabbath to benefit Israel as contrasted with the restrictive Pharisaic tradition added to the law.
  5. 2:28 The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath: Mark’s comment on the theological meaning of the incident is to benefit his Christian readers; see note on Mk 2:10.
  6. 3:1–5 Here Jesus is again depicted in conflict with his adversaries over the question of sabbath-day observance. His opponents were already ill disposed toward him because they regarded Jesus as a violator of the sabbath. Jesus’ question Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil? places the matter in the broader theological context outside the casuistry of the scribes. The answer is obvious. Jesus heals the man with the withered hand in the sight of all and reduces his opponents to silence; cf. Jn 5:17–18.
  7. 3:6 In reporting the plot of the Pharisees and Herodians to put Jesus to death after this series of conflicts in Galilee, Mark uses a pattern that recurs in his account of later controversies in Jerusalem (Mk 11:17–18; 12:13–17). The help of the Herodians, supporters of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, is needed to take action against Jesus. Both series of conflicts point to their gravity and to the impending passion of Jesus.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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