Israel Restored: A Loving Care for Benjamin
Israel Undertakes to Help Benjamin Rebuild Their Numbers (21:1-15)
1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter to the Benjaminites as wife. 2 And the people came to Bethel, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly, 3 and said, Jehovah, God of Israel, why is it come to pass in Israel, that there should be this day one tribe lacking in Israel? 4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered up burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. 5 And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation to Jehovah? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to Jehovah to Mizpah, saying, He shall certainly be put to death. 6 And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, To-day is one tribe extirpated from Israel. 7 What shall we do for wives for them that remain? since we have sworn by Jehovah that we will not give them of our daughters for wives. 8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpah to Jehovah? And behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-Gilead, to the congregation; 9 for the people were numbered, and behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead there. 10 And the assembly sent thither twelve thousand men of the most valiant and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead with the edge of the sword, and the women and the children. 11 And this is the thing which ye shall do: ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain with man. 12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead four hundred young women that were virgins, who had known no man by lying with any male, and they brought them to the camp, to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 13 And the whole assembly sent to speak to the children of Benjamin that were at the cliff of Rimmon, and to proclaim peace to them. 14 And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them the wives whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-Gilead; but even so they found not enough for them. 15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because Jehovah had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
The Sons of Benjamin Catch Wives from the Daughters of Shiloh (21:16-25)
16 And the elders of the assembly said, What shall we do for wives for them that remain? for the women have been destroyed out of Benjamin. 17 And they said, There must be a possession for those of Benjamin that have escaped, that a tribe be not blotted out of Israel. 18 But we cannot give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to the Benjaminites! 19 And they said, Behold, there is a feast of Jehovah from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, toward the sun-rising of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. 20 And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; 21 and see, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come to complain to us, that we will say to them, Gratify us with them, because we did not take each man his wife in the war; for ye did not give them to them, that ye should now be guilty. 23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught; and they went and returned to their inheritance, and built the cities, and dwelt in them. 24 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance. 25 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.