Judges 20

1So all the people of Israel joined together. They all came together to stand before the Lord in the city of Mizpah. People came from everywhere in Israel. Even the Israelite people from Gilead were there. 2The leaders of all the family groups of Israel were there. They took their places in the public meeting of God’s people. There were 400,000 soldiers with swords in that place. 3The people from the family group of Benjamin heard that the people of Israel were meeting together in Mizpah. The people of Israel said, “Tell us how this terrible thing happened.” 4So the husband of the woman that had been murdered told them the story. He said, “My woman servant and I came to the city of Gibeah in the area of Benjamin. We spent the night there. 5But during the night the leaders of the city of Gibeah came to the house where I was staying. They surrounded the house, and they wanted to kill me. They raped my woman servant, and she died. 6So I took my woman servant and cut her into pieces. Then I sent one piece to each of the family groups of Israel. I sent the 12 pieces to the lands we have received. I did that because the people of Benjamin have done this terrible thing in Israel. 7Now, all you men of Israel, speak up. Give your decision about what we should do.” 8Then all the people stood up at the same time. They said together, “None of us will go home. No, not one of us will go back to his house. 9Now this is what we will do to the city of Gibeah: We will throw lots to let God show us what to do to those people. 10We will choose ten men from every 100 from all the family groups of Israel. And we will choose 100 men from every 1,000. We will choose 1,000 men from every 10,000. Those men we have chosen will get supplies for the army. Then the army will go to the city of Gibeah in the area of Benjamin. The army will punish those people for the terrible thing they did among the people of Israel.” 11So all the men of Israel gathered together at the city of Gibeah. They were all agreed to what they were doing. 12The family groups of Israel sent men to the family group of Benjamin with a message. The message was: “What about this terrible thing that some of your men have done? 13Send those bad men from the city of Gibeah to us. Give us those men so that we can put them to death. We must remove the evil from among the people of Israel.” But the people from the family group of Benjamin would not listen to the messengers from their relatives, the other people of Israel. 14The people from the family group of Benjamin left their cities and went to the city of Gibeah. They went to Gibeah to fight against the other family groups of Israel. 15The people from the family group of Benjamin got 26,000 soldiers together. All those soldiers were trained for war. They also had 700 trained soldiers from the city of Gibeah. 16There were also 700 trained soldiers that were trained to fight with their left hand. Each one of them could use a sling with great skill. They all could use a sling to throw a stone at a hair and not miss! 17All the family groups of Israel, except Benjamin, gathered together 400,000 fighting men. Those 400,000 men had swords. Each one was a trained soldier. 18The people of Israel went up to the city of Bethel. At Bethel they asked God, “Which family group will be first to attack the family group of Benjamin?” The Lord answered, “The family group of Judah will go first.” 19The next morning the people of Israel got up. They made a camp near the city of Gibeah. 20Then the army of Israel went out to fight the army of Benjamin. The army of Israel got ready for a battle against the army of Benjamin at the city of Gibeah. 21Then the army of Benjamin came out of the city of Gibeah. The army of Benjamin killed 22,000 men in the army of Israel during the battle that day. 22- 23The people of Israel went to the Lord. They cried until evening. They asked the Lord, “Should we go to fight the people of Benjamin again? Those people are our relatives.” The Lord answered, “Go fight against them.” The men of Israel encouraged each other. Then they again went out to fight, like they did the first day. 24Then the army of Israel came near the army of Benjamin. This was the second day of the war. 25The army of Benjamin came out of the city of Gibeah to attack the army of Israel on the second day. This time, the army of Benjamin killed another 18,000 men from the army of Israel. All of those men in the army of Israel were trained soldiers. 26Then all the people of Israel went up to the city of Bethel. At that place they sat down and cried to the Lord. They did not eat anything all day, until evening. They also offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. 27The men of Israel asked the Lord a question. (In those days God’s Box of the Agreement was there at Bethel. 28Phinehas was the priest that served God there. Phinehas was the son of Eleazar. Eleazar was the son of Aaron.) The people of Israel asked, “The people of Benjamin are our relatives. Should we again go to fight against them? Or should we stop fighting?” The Lord answered, “Go. Tomorrow I will help you to defeat them.” 29Then the army of Israel hid some men all around the city of Gibeah. 30The army of Israel went to fight against the city of Gibeah on the third day. They got ready for battle, like they did before. 31The army of Benjamin came out of the city of Gibeah to fight the army of Israel. The army of Israel backed up and let the army of Benjamin chase them. In this way, the army of Benjamin was tricked into leaving the city far behind them. The army of Benjamin began to kill some of the men in the army of Israel, like they did before. They killed about 30 men from Israel. They killed some of those men in the fields, and they killed some of those men on the roads. One road led to the city of Bethel. The other road led to the city of Gibeah. 32The men of Benjamin said, “We are winning like before!” The men of Israel were running away, but it was a trick. They wanted to lead the men of Benjamin away from their city and onto the roads. 33So all the men ran away. They stopped at a place named Baal Tamar. Some of the men of Israel were hiding west of Gibeah. They ran from their hiding places ˻and attacked Gibeah˼. 3410,000 of Israel’s best trained soldiers attacked the city of Gibeah. The fighting was very heavy. But the army of Benjamin did not know what terrible thing was going to happen to them. 35The Lord used the army of Israel and defeated the army of Benjamin. On that day, the army of Israel killed 25,100 soldiers from Benjamin. All those soldiers had been trained for war. 36So the people of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. The army of Israel had moved back. They moved back because they were depending on the surprise attack. They had men hiding near Gibeah. 37The men that were hiding rushed into the city of Gibeah. They spread out and killed everyone in the city with their swords. 38Now the men of Israel had made a plan with the men that were hiding. The men that were hiding were supposed to send a special signal. The men were supposed to make a big cloud of smoke. 39- 41The army of Benjamin had killed about 30 Israelite soldiers. So the men of Benjamin were saying, “We are winning, like 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. Now they knew what terrible thing had happened to them. 42So the army of Benjamin ran away from the army of Israel. They ran toward the desert. But they could not escape the fighting. And the men of Israel came out of the cities and killed them. 43The men of Israel surrounded the men of Benjamin and began chasing them. They did not let them rest. They defeated them in the area east of Gibeah. 44So 18,000 brave and strong fighters from the army of Benjamin were killed. 45The army of Benjamin turned around and ran toward the desert. They ran to a place called the Rock of Rimmon. But the army of Israel killed 5,000 soldiers from Benjamin along the roads. They kept chasing the men of Benjamin. They chased them as far as a place named Gidom. The army of Israel killed 2,000 more men from Benjamin in that place. 46On that day, 25,000 men of the army of Benjamin were killed. All those men fought bravely with their swords. 47But 600 men from Benjamin ran into the desert. They went to the place called the Rock of Rimmon and stayed there for four months. 48The men of Israel went back to the land of Benjamin. They killed the people in every city they came to. They also killed all the animals. They destroyed everything they could find. They burned every city they came to.

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