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.
The army of Benjamin had killed about 30 Israelite soldiers. So the men of Benjamin were saying, “We are winning, as before.” But then a big cloud of smoke began to rise from the city. The men of Benjamin turned around and saw the smoke. The whole city was on fire. Then the army of Israel stopped running away. They turned around and began to fight. The men of Benjamin were afraid because they knew that a terrible thing had happened to them.
By the time the men of Israel had turned back on them, the men of Benjamin fell apart—they could see that they were trapped. Confronted by the Israelites, they tried to get away down the wilderness road, but by now the battle was everywhere. The men of Israel poured out of the towns, killing them right and left, hot on their trail, picking them off east of Gibeah.
they that feigned to flee before, turned their face to Benjamin, and more strongly withstood him. And when the sons of Benjamin had seen this thing, (And then they who had feigned to flee before, now turned their faces to the Benjaminites/now turned to face the Benjaminites, and strongly stood against them. And when the Benjaminites had seen this,)
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