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Judges 21 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

21 And the men of Israel have sworn in Mizpeh, saying, `None of us doth give his daughter to Benjamin for a wife.'

And the people come in to Beth-El, and sit there till the evening before God, and lift up their voice, and weep -- a great weeping,

and say, `Why, O Jehovah, God of Israel, hath this been in Israel -- to be lacking to-day, from Israel, one tribe?'

And it cometh to pass on the morrow, that the people rise early, and build there an altar, and cause to ascend burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.

And the sons of Israel say, `Who [is] he that hath not come up in the assembly out of all the tribes of Israel unto Jehovah?' for the great oath hath been concerning him who hath not come up unto Jehovah to Mizpeh, saying, `He is surely put to death.'

And the sons of Israel repent concerning Benjamin their brother, and say, `There hath been to-day cut off one tribe from Israel,

what do we do for them -- for those who are left -- for wives, and we -- we have sworn by Jehovah not to give to them of our daughters for wives?'

And they say, `Who is [that] one out of the tribes of Israel who hath not come up unto Jehovah to Mizpeh?' and lo, none hath come in unto the camp from Jabesh-Gilead -- unto the assembly.

And the people numbered themselves, and lo, there is not there a man of the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead.

10 And the company send there twelve thousand men of the sons of valour, and command them, saying, `Go -- and ye have smitten the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead by the mouth of the sword, even the women and the infants.

11 And this [is] the thing which ye do; every male, and every woman knowing the lying of a male, ye devote.'

12 And they find out of the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead four hundred young women, virgins, who have not known man by the lying of a male, and they bring them in unto the camp at Shiloh, which [is] in the land of Canaan.

13 And all the company send, and speak, unto the sons of Benjamin who [are] in the rock Rimmon, and proclaim to them peace;

14 and Benjamin turneth back at that time, and they give to them the women whom they have kept alive of the women of Jabesh-Gilead, and they have not found for [all of] them so.

15 And the people repented concerning Benjamin, for Jehovah had made a breach among the tribes of Israel.

16 And the elders of the company say, `What do we do to the remnant for wives -- for the women have been destroyed out of Benjamin?'

17 And they say, `A possession of an escaped party [is] to Benjamin, and a tribe is not blotted out from Israel;

18 and we -- we are not able to give to them wives out of our daughters, for the sons of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed [is] he who is giving a wife to Benjamin.'

19 And they say, `Lo, a festival of Jehovah [is] in Shiloh, from time to time, which [is] on the north of Beth-El, at the rising of the sun, by the highway which is going up from Beth-El to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.'

20 And they command the sons of Benjamin, saying, `Go -- and ye have laid wait in the vineyards,

21 and have seen, and lo, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances -- then ye have gone out from the vineyards, and caught for you each his wife out of the daughters of Shiloh, and gone to the land of Benjamin;

22 and it hath been, when their fathers or their brethren come in to plead unto us, that we have said unto them, Favour us [by] them, for we have not taken [to] each his wife in battle, for ye -- ye have not given to them at this time [that] ye are guilty.'

23 And the sons of Benjamin do so, and take women according to their number, out of the dancers whom they have taken violently away; and they go, and turn back unto their inheritance, and build the cities, and dwell in them.

24 And the sons of Israel go up and down thence at that time, each to his tribe, and to his family; and they go out thence each to his inheritance.

25 In those days there is no king in Israel; each doth that which is right in his own eyes.

Judges 21 New International Version (NIV)

Wives for the Benjamites

21 The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah: “Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite.”

The people went to Bethel,[a] where they sat before God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly. Lord, God of Israel,” they cried, “why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?”

Early the next day the people built an altar and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.

Then the Israelites asked, “Who from all the tribes of Israel has failed to assemble before the Lord?” For they had taken a solemn oath that anyone who failed to assemble before the Lord at Mizpah was to be put to death.

Now the Israelites grieved for the tribe of Benjamin, their fellow Israelites. “Today one tribe is cut off from Israel,” they said. “How can we provide wives for those who are left, since we have taken an oath by the Lord not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?” Then they asked, “Which one of the tribes of Israel failed to assemble before the Lord at Mizpah?” They discovered that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly. For when they counted the people, they found that none of the people of Jabesh Gilead were there.

10 So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children. 11 “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin. 12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.

13 Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon. 14 So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of them.

15 The people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. 16 And the elders of the assembly said, “With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left? 17 The Benjamite survivors must have heirs,” they said, “so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out. 18 We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’ 19 But look, there is the annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin. 22 When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not give your daughters to them.’”

23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.

24 At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance.

25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 21:2 Or to the house of God
New International Version (NIV)

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