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[a] and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?”
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