but this time they had a different plan. They said, “When the men of Benjamin attack, we will run off and let them chase us away from the town and into the country roads.” The soldiers of Benjamin attacked the Israelite army and started pushing it back from the town. They killed about thirty Israelites in the fields and along the road between Gibeah and Bethel. The men of Benjamin were thinking, “We’re mowing them down like we did before.” The Israelites were running away, but they headed for Baal-Tamar, where they regrouped. They had set an ambush, and they were sure it would work. Ten thousand of Israel’s best soldiers had been hiding west of Gibeah, and as soon as the men of Benjamin chased the Israelites into the countryside, these ten thousand soldiers made a surprise attack on the town gates. They dashed in and captured Gibeah, killing everyone there. Then they set the town on fire, because the smoke would be the signal for the other Israelite soldiers to turn and attack the soldiers of Benjamin. The fighting had been so heavy around the soldiers of Benjamin, that they did not know the trouble they were in. But then they looked back and saw clouds of smoke rising from the town. They looked in front and saw the soldiers of Israel turning to attack. This terrified them, because they realized that something horrible was happening. And it was horrible—over twenty-five thousand soldiers of Benjamin died that day, and those who were left alive knew that the Lord had given Israel the victory.
So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin, and the Israeli army killed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day, leaving but a tiny remnant of their forces. Summary of the Battle: The army of Israel retreated from the men of Benjamin in order to give the ambush more room for maneuvering. When the men of Benjamin had killed about thirty of the Israelis, they were confident of a massive slaughter just as on the previous days. But then the men in ambush rushed into the village and slaughtered everyone in it, and set it on fire. The great cloud of smoke pouring into the sky was the signal for the Israeli army to turn around and attack the army of Benjamin,
The ambush erupted and made quick work of Gibeah. The ambush spread out and massacred the city. The strategy for the main body of the ambush was that they send up a smoke signal from the city. Then the men of Israel would turn in battle. When that happened, Benjamin had killed about thirty Israelites and thought they were on their way to victory, yelling out, “They’re on the run, just as in the first battle!” But then the signal went up from the city—a huge column of smoke. When the Benjaminites looked back, there it was, the whole city going up in smoke.
Then the people of Benjamin realized their crushing defeat. The warriors of Israel had retreated before their foes, trusting the men lying in ambush who had rushed upon Gibeah and destroyed the entire city.
And when these ambushments had risen up suddenly from [the] hid places, and Benjamin gave (their) backs to the slayers, they entered into the city, and they smote it by sharpness of sword. (And when those set in ambush had suddenly risen up from their hiding places, and the Benjaminites had given their backs to the killers, the Israelites entered into the city, and struck down the people with their sharp swords.)
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