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 Judges 20
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The New American Standard Bible
   Book of JudgesClick Verse Reference for Study Notes
    20:1-48 - Study Chapter  - Click for Chapter Audio

Resolve to Punish the Guilty

1 Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the LORD at Mizpah. R377 2 The chiefs F313 of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 foot soldiers F314 who R378 drew the sword. 3 (Now the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, "Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?" 4 So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, "I came with my concubine to spend the night at Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin. 5 "But the men R379 of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me; instead, they ravished R380 my concubine so that she died. 6 "And I took R381 hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel's inheritance; for they R382 have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 "Behold, all you sons of Israel, give R383 your advice and counsel here."

8 Then all the people arose as one man, saying, "Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house. 9 "But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot. 10 "And we will take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000 to supply F315 food for the people, that when they come to Gibeah F316 of Benjamin, they may punish F317 them for all the disgraceful acts that they have committed in Israel." 11 Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire tribe F318 of Benjamin, saying, "What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? 13 "Now then, deliver up the men, the worthless R384 F319 fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove R385 this wickedness from Israel." But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel. 14 The sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel. 15 From the cities on that day the sons R386 of Benjamin were numbered, F320 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were numbered, F320 700 choice men. 16 Out of all these people 700 choice R387 men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 Then the men of Israel besides Benjamin were numbered, F321 400,000 men who draw the sword; all these were men of war.

Civil War, Benjamin Defeated

18 Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired R388 of God and said, "Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?" Then the LORD said, "Judah shall go up first."

19 So the sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel arrayed for battle against them at Gibeah. 21 Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and felled R389 F322 to the ground on that day 22,000 men of Israel. 22 But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day. 23 The R390 sons of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until evening, and inquired R391 of the LORD, saying, "Shall we again draw near for battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin?" And the LORD said, "Go up against him."

24 Then the sons of Israel came F323 against the sons of Benjamin the second day. 25 Benjamin went out against F324 them from Gibeah the second day and felled F325 to the ground again 18,000 men of the sons of Israel; all these drew the sword. 26 Then all R392 the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 27 The sons of Israel inquired R393 of the LORD (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, Aaron's son, stood before it to minister in those days), saying, "Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?" And the LORD said, "Go up, for R394 tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand."

29 So R395 Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30 The sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and arrayed themselves against Gibeah as at other times. 31 The R396 sons of Benjamin went out against F326 the people and were drawn away from the city, and they began to strike and F327 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 field, about thirty men of Israel. 32 The sons of Benjamin said, "They are struck down before us, as at the first." But the sons of Israel said, "Let us flee that we may draw them away from the city to the highways." 33 Then all the men of Israel arose from their place and arrayed themselves at Baal-tamar; and R397 the men of Israel in ambush broke out of their place, even out of Maareh-geba. 34 When ten thousand choice men from all Israel came against Gibeah, the battle became fierce; F328 but R398 Benjamin F329 did not know that disaster F330 was close F331 to them. 35 And the LORD struck Benjamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day, all who F332 draw the sword.

36 So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. F333 When R399 the men of Israel gave ground F334 to Benjamin because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah, 37 the R400 men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush also deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that R401 they would make a great cloud of smoke rise from the city. 39 Then the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and F335 kill about thirty men of Israel, for R402 they said, "Surely they are defeated F336 before us, as in the first battle." 40 But when the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, Benjamin looked behind R403 them; and behold, the whole city was going up in smoke to heaven. 41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were terrified; for they saw that disaster R404 F337 was close F338 to them. 42 Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel toward R405 the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them while those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of them. 43 They R406 surrounded Benjamin, pursued them without rest and trod them down opposite Gibeah toward the east. F339 44 Thus 18,000 men of Benjamin fell; all these were valiant warriors. 45 The F340 rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, R407 but they caught F341 5,000 of them on the highways and overtook them at F342 Gidom and killed F343 2,000 of them. 46 So all of Benjamin who fell that day were 25,000 men who draw the sword; all these were valiant warriors. 47 But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48 The men of Israel then turned back against the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found; they also set on fire all the cities which they found.

F313: Lit cornerstones
F314: Lit men
F315: Lit take
F316: Hebrew Geba
F317: Lit do
F318: Lit tribes
F319: Lit sons of Belial
F320: Or mustered
F320: Or mustered
F321: Or mustered
F322: Lit destroyed
F323: Lit approached
F324: Lit to meet
F325: Lit destroyed
F326: Lit to meet
F327: Lit slain ones
F328: Lit heavy
F329: Lit they
F330: Lit evil
F331: Lit touching
F332: Lit these
F333: Lit smitten
F334: Lit place
F335: Lit slain ones
F336: Lit smitten
F337: Lit evil
F338: Lit touching
F339: Lit sunrise
F340: So with Gr; Hebrew And they
F341: Lit gleaned
F342: Lit as far as
F343: Lit smote

R377: 1 Samuel 7:5
R378: Judges 8:10
R379: Judges 19:22
R380: Judges 19:25f
R381: Judges 19:29
R382: Genesis 34:7; Joshua 7:15
R383: Judges 19:30
R384: 2 Corinthians 6:15
R385: Deuteronomy 13:5; 17:12; 1 Corinthians 5:13
R386: Numbers 1:36,37; 2:23; 26:41
R387: Judges 3:15; 1 Chronicles 12:2
R388: Numbers 27:21; Judges 20:23,27
R389: Judges 20:25
R390: Joshua 7:6,7
R391: Judges 20:18
R392: Judges 20:23; 21:2
R393: Judges 20:18
R394: Judges 7:9
R395: Joshua 8:4
R396: Joshua 8:16
R397: Joshua 8:19
R398: Joshua 8:14; Job 1:21:13
R399: Joshua 8:15
R400: Joshua 8:19
R401: Joshua 8:20
R402: Judges 20:32
R403: Joshua 8:20
R404: Proverbs 5:22; 11:5,6; 29:6
R405: Joshua 8:15,24
R406: Hosea 9:9; 10:9
R407: Judges 21:13


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