Man’s View of Sin Corrected by God: The Benjamite War
The Council of Israel About the Sin of Benjamin (20:1-11)
1 And all the children of Israel went forth, and the assembly gathered together as one man, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and the land of Gilead, unto Jehovah at Mizpah. 2 And the heads of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the congregation of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword. 3 And the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah. And the children of Israel said, Tell us, how was this wickedness? 4 Then the Levite, the husband of the woman that was murdered, answered and said, I came to Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. 5 And the citizens of Gibeah rose against me, and surrounded the house because of me, by night; they thought to slay me, and my concubine have they humbled so that she died. 6 Then I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout the country of the inheritance of Israel; for they have committed lewdness and villany in Israel. 7 Behold, all ye, children of Israel, deliberate and give here your counsel. 8 And all the people rose up as one man, saying, We will not any one go to his tent, neither will we any one turn into his house. 9 But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah: we go by lot against it; 10 and we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand, to fetch victuals for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the villany that they have wrought in Israel. 11 And all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.
The Benjamite War is Set in Array (20:12-17)
12 And the tribes of Israel sent men to all the families of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that has been done among you? 13 And now give up the men, the sons of Belial, who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel. 14 And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities of Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. 15 And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities, twenty-six thousand men that drew sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were numbered seven hundred chosen men. 16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men left-handed; all these slang stones at a hair breadth, and missed not. 17 And the men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war.
Israel is Badly Beaten in Two Consecutive Battles (20:18-25)
18 And the children of Israel arose and went up to Bethel, and inquired of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And Jehovah said, Judah first. 19 And the children of Israel rose up in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. 21 And the children of Benjamin went forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty-two thousand men. 22 And the people, the men of Israel, took courage, and set the battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. 23 And the children of Israel went up and wept before Jehovah until even, and inquired of Jehovah, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And Jehovah said, Go up against him. 24 And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. 25 And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and again destroyed to the ground of the children of Israel eighteen thousand men: all these drew the sword.
After Weeping Before the Lord, Israel Decimates Benjamin (20:26-48)
26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up and came to Bethel, and wept, and abode there before Jehovah, and fasted that day until even, and offered up burnt-offerings and peace-offerings before Jehovah. 27 And the children of Israel inquired of Jehovah (and the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And Jehovah said, Go up; for to-morrow I will give them into thy hand. 29 And Israel set liers in wait against Gibeah, round about. 30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at the other times. 31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city, and began to smite of the people, slaying as at the former times, in the highways, of which one leads to Bethel and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first. And the children of Israel said, Let us flee, that we may draw them from the city to the highways. 33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baal-Tamar; and the ambush of Israel rushed forth out of their place, out of the meadows of Geba. 34 And there came from opposite Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was severe; but they knew not that disaster was coming upon them. 35 And Jehovah smote Benjamin before Israel; and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjaminites that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men: all these drew the sword. 36 And the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten. — And the men of Israel gave place to Benjamin, because they trusted to the ambush that they had set against Gibeah. 37 And the ambush hasted, and fell upon Gibeah; and the ambush drew along, and smote the whole city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the ambush, that they should make a thick column of smoke rise up out of the city. 39 And when the men of Israel turned back in the battle, Benjamin began to smite, slaying of the men of Israel about thirty men; for they said, Surely they are quite routed before us as in the first battle. 40 And when the burning began to rise up out of the city as a pillar of smoke, Benjamin looked behind, and behold, the whole city ascended in smoke to the heavens. 41 Then the men of Israel turned back, and the men of Benjamin were amazed, for they saw that disaster was come upon them. 42 And they turned before the men of Israel to the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and those who came out of the cities destroyed them in their midst. 43 They encompassed the Benjaminites, chased them, trode them down at the resting-place over against Gibeah toward the sun-rising. 44 And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men: all these, men of valour. 45 And they turned and fled towards the wilderness to the cliff of Rimmon, and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them to Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them. 46 So that all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand men that drew the sword: all these, men of valour. 47 And six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness to the cliff of Rimmon, and abode at the cliff of Rimmon four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city as the cattle, and all that was found; even all the cities that were found did they set on fire.