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Judges 20 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

20 And all the sons of Israel go out, and the company is assembled as one man, from Dan even unto Beer-Sheba, and the land of Gilead, unto Jehovah, at Mizpeh.

And the chiefs of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, station themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen drawing sword.

And the sons of Benjamin hear that the sons of Israel have gone up to Mizpeh. And the sons of Israel say, `Speak ye, how hath this evil been?'

And the man, the Levite, husband of the woman who hath been murdered, answereth and saith, `Into Gibeah (which [is] to Benjamin) I have come, I and my concubine, to lodge;

and rise against me do the masters of Gibeah -- and they go round the house against me by night -- me they thought to slay, and my concubine they have humbled, and she dieth;

and I lay hold on my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and send her into all the country of the inheritance of Israel; for they have done wickedness and folly in Israel;

lo, ye [are] all sons of Israel; give for you a word and counsel here.'

And all the people rise as one man, saying, `None of us doth go to his tent, and none of us doth turn aside to his house;

and now, this [is] the thing which we do to Gibeah -- against it by lot!

10 and we have taken ten men of a hundred, of all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of a myriad, to receive provision for the people, to do, at their coming to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly which it hath done in Israel.'

11 And every man of Israel is gathered unto the city, as one man -- companions.

12 And the tribes of Israel send men among all the tribes of Benjamin, saying, `What [is] this evil which hath been among you?

13 And now, give up the men -- sons of worthlessness -- which [are] in Gibeah, and we put them to death, and we put away evil from Israel.' And [the sons of] Benjamin have not been willing to hearken to the voice of their brethren, the sons of Israel;

14 and the sons of Benjamin are gathered out of the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle with the sons of Israel.

15 And the sons of Benjamin number themselves on that day; out of the cities [are] twenty and six thousand men drawing sword, apart from the inhabitants of Gibeah, [who] numbered themselves, seven hundred chosen men;

16 among all this people [are] seven hundred chosen men, bound of their right hand, each of these slinging with a stone at the hair, and he doth not err.

17 And the men of Israel numbered themselves, apart from Benjamin, four hundred thousand men, drawing sword, each of these a man of war.

18 And they rise and go up to Beth-El, and ask of God, and the sons of Israel say, `Who doth go up for us at the commencement to battle with the sons of Benjamin?' and Jehovah saith, `Judah -- at the commencement.'

19 And the sons of Israel rise in the morning, and encamp against Gibeah,

20 and the men of Israel go out to battle with Benjamin, and the men of Israel set themselves in array with them, [for] battle against Gibeah,

21 and the sons of Benjamin come out from Gibeah, and destroy in Israel on that day two and twenty thousand men -- to the earth.

22 And the people, the men of Israel, strengthen themselves, and add to set the battle in array in the place where they arranged themselves on the first day.

23 And the sons of Israel go up and weep before Jehovah till the evening, and ask of Jehovah, saying, `Do I add to draw nigh to battle with the sons of Benjamin, my brother?' And Jehovah saith, `Go up against him.'

24 And the sons of Israel draw near unto the sons of Benjamin on the second day,

25 and Benjamin cometh out to meet them from Gibeah on the second day, and destroy among the sons of Israel again eighteen thousand men -- to the earth; all these are drawing sword.

26 And all the sons of Israel go up, even all the people, and come in to Beth-El, and weep, and sit there before Jehovah, and fast on that day till the evening, and cause to ascend burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before Jehovah.

27 And the sons of Israel ask of Jehovah, -- and there [is] the ark of the covenant of God in those days,

28 and Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, is standing before it in those days -- saying, `Do I add again to go out to battle with the sons of Benjamin, my brother, or do I cease?' And Jehovah saith, `Go up, for to-morrow I give him into thy hand.'

29 And Israel setteth liers in wait against Gibeah, round about,

30 and the sons of Israel go up against the sons of Benjamin, on the third day, and arrange themselves against Gibeah, as time by time.

31 And the sons of Benjamin come out to meet the people; they have been drawn away out of the city, and begin to smite [some] of the people -- wounded as time by time, in the highways (of which one is going up to Beth-El, and the other to Gibeah in the field), [are] about thirty men of Israel.

32 And the sons of Benjamin say, `They are smitten before us as at the beginning;' but the sons of Israel said, `Let us flee, and draw them away out of the city, unto the highways.'

33 And all the men of Israel have risen from their place, and arrange themselves at Baal-Tamar, and the ambush of Israel is coming forth out of its place, out of the meadow of Gibeah.

34 And they come in over against Gibeah -- ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel -- and the battle [is] grievous, and they have not known that the evil is striking against them.

35 And Jehovah smiteth Benjamin before Israel, and the sons of Israel destroy in Benjamin, on that day, twenty and five thousand, and a hundred men; all these [are] drawing sword.

36 And the sons of Benjamin see that they have been smitten -- and the men of Israel give place to Benjamin, for they have trusted unto the ambush which they had set against Gibeah,

37 and the ambush have hasted, and push against Gibeah, and the ambush draweth itself out, and smiteth the whole of the city by the mouth of the sword.

38 And there was the appointed sign to the men of Israel with the ambush -- their causing to go up a great volume of smoke from the city.

39 And the men of Israel turn in battle, and Benjamin hath begun to smite the wounded among the men of Israel, about thirty men, for they said, `Surely they are utterly smitten before us, as [at] the first battle;

40 and the volume hath begun to go up from the city -- a pillar of smoke -- and Benjamin turneth behind, and lo, gone up hath the perfection of the city toward the heavens.

41 And the men of Israel have turned, and the men of Benjamin are troubled, for they have seen that the evil hath stricken against them --

42 and they turn before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness, and the battle hath followed them; and those who [are] from the city are destroying them in their midst;

43 they have compassed the Benjamites -- they have pursued them -- with ease they have trodden them down till over-against Gibeah, at the sun-rising.

44 And there fall of Benjamin eighteen thousand men -- the whole of these [are] men of valour;

45 and they turn and flee toward the wilderness, unto the rock of Rimmon; and they glean of them in the highways five thousand men, and follow after them unto Gidom, and smite of them two thousand men.

46 And all those falling of Benjamin are twenty and five thousand men drawing sword, on that day -- the whole of these [are] men of valour;

47 and there turn and flee into the wilderness, unto the rock of Rimmon six hundred men, and they dwell in the rock Rimmon four months.

48 And the men of Israel have turned back unto the sons of Benjamin, and smite them by the mouth of the sword out of the city, -- men unto cattle, unto all that is found; also all the cities which are found they have sent into fire.

Judges 20 New International Version (NIV)

The Israelites Punish the Benjamites

20 Then all Israel from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead came together as one and assembled before the Lord in Mizpah. The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of God’s people, four hundred thousand men armed with swords. (The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, “Tell us how this awful thing happened.”

So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, “I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died. I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece to each region of Israel’s inheritance, because they committed this lewd and outrageous act in Israel. Now, all you Israelites, speak up and tell me what you have decided to do.

All the men rose up together as one, saying, “None of us will go home. No, not one of us will return to his house. But now this is what we’ll do to Gibeah: We’ll go up against it in the order decided by casting lots. 10 We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah[a] in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for this outrageous act done in Israel.” 11 So all the Israelites got together and united as one against the city.

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

The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.”

19 The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. 20 The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. 21 The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day. 22 But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. 23 The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?”

The Lord answered, “Go up against them.”

24 Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day. 25 This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords.

26 Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. 27 And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28 with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?”

The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.

29 Then Israel set an ambush around Gibeah. 30 They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before. 31 The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away from the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads—the one leading to Bethel and the other to Gibeah. 32 While the Benjamites were saying, “We are defeating them as before,” the Israelites were saying, “Let’s retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads.”

33 All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place on the west[c] of Gibeah.[d] 34 Then ten thousand of Israel’s able young men made a frontal attack on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize how near disaster was. 35 The Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords. 36 Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten.

Now the men of Israel had given way before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush they had set near Gibeah. 37 Those who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword. 38 The Israelites had arranged with the ambush that they should send up a great cloud of smoke from the city, 39 and then the Israelites would counterattack.

The Benjamites had begun to inflict casualties on the Israelites (about thirty), and they said, “We are defeating them as in the first battle.” 40 But when the column of smoke began to rise from the city, the Benjamites turned and saw the whole city going up in smoke. 41 Then the Israelites counterattacked, and the Benjamites were terrified, because they realized that disaster had come on them. 42 So they fled before the Israelites in the direction of the wilderness, but they could not escape the battle. And the Israelites who came out of the towns cut them down there. 43 They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easily[e] overran them in the vicinity of Gibeah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand Benjamites fell, all of them valiant fighters. 45 As they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, the Israelites cut down five thousand men along the roads. They kept pressing after the Benjamites as far as Gidom and struck down two thousand more.

46 On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite swordsmen fell, all of them valiant fighters. 47 But six hundred of them turned and fled into the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months. 48 The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the towns they came across they set on fire.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 20:10 One Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts Geba, a variant of Gibeah
  2. Judges 20:18 Or to the house of God; also in verse 26
  3. Judges 20:33 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. Judges 20:33 Hebrew Geba, a variant of Gibeah
  5. Judges 20:43 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

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