The Bible in Its Traditions

Judges 21:1–25

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Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying: 'There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife.'

Jgs20:48  And the children of Israel returned to the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword from the city of Methla, even to the cattle, and every thing that was found in all the cities: and they burnt with fire the cities they found.

Jgs20:48  But the sons of Israel, returning, had struck with the sword all that remained in the city, from men even to cattle. And all the cities and villages of Benjamin were consumed with devouring flames.

And the people came to Beth-el, and sat there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore.

Now the children of Israel swore in Massephath, saying, No man of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin for a wife.

The sons of Israel had also taken an oath at Mizpah, and they said, “None of us shall give his daughters as a wife to the sons of Benjamin.”

And they said: 'O YHWH, the God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to-day one tribe lacking in Israel?'

And the people came to Baethel, and sat there until evening before God: and they lifted up their voice and wept with a great weeping;

And they all went to the house of God at Shiloh. And sitting in his sight until evening, they lifted up their voice, and they began to weep, with a great wailing, saying,

And it came to pass on the morrow that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt-offerings and peace- offerings.

and said, Wherefore, O Lord God of Israel, has this come to pass, that to-day one tribe should be counted as missing from Israel?

“Why, O Lord, God of Israel, has this evil happened among your people, so that this day one tribe would be taken away from us?”

And the children of Israel said: 'Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up in the assembly unto YHWH?' For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up unto the YHWH to Mizpah, saying: 'He shall surely be put to death.'

And it came to pass on the morrow that the people rose up early, and built there an altar, and offered up whole-burnt-offerings and peace offerings.

Then, rising at first light on the next day, they built an altar. And they offered holocausts and victims of peace offerings there, and they said,

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And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said: 'There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.

And the children of Israel said, Who of all the tribes of Israel, went not up in the congregation to the Lord? for there was a great oath concerning those who went not up to the Lord to Massephath, saying, He shall surely be put to death.

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How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by YHWH that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?'

And the children of Israel relented toward Benjamin their brother, and said, To-day one tribe is cut off from Israel.

And the sons of Israel, having been led to repentance over their brother Benjamin, began to say: “One tribe has been taken away from Israel.

And they said: 'What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up unto YHWH to Mizpah?' And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly.

What shall we do for wives for the rest that remain? whereas we have sworn by the Lord, not to give them of our daughters for wives.

From where shall they receive wives? For we have all sworn in common that we will not give our daughters to them.”

For when the people were numbered, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.

And they said, What one man is there of the tribes of Israel, who went not up to the Lord to Massephath? and, behold, no man came to the camp from Jabis Galaad to the assembly.

For this reason, they said, “Who is there, out of all the tribes of Israel, that did not ascend to the Lord at Mizpah?” And behold, the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead were found not to have been among that army.

10  And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying: 'Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones.

10  And the people were numbered, and there was not there a man from the inhabitants of Jabis Galaad.

10  (Likewise, in the time when they had been at Shiloh, not one of them was found to be there.)

11  And this is the thing that ye shall do: ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.'

11  And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the strongest, and they charged them, saying, Go ye and smite the inhabitants of Jabis Galaad with the edge of the sword.

11  And so they sent ten thousand very robust men, and they instructed them, saying, “Go and strike down the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead with the edge of the sword, including their wives and little ones.”

12  And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, that had not known man by lying with him; and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

12  And this shall ye do: every male and every woman that has known the lying with man ye shall devote to destruction, but the virgins ye shall save alive: and they did so.

12  And this shall be what you ought to do: “Everyone of the male gender, as well as all the women who have known men, shall be put to death. But the virgins you shall reserve.”

13  And the whole congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace unto them.

13  And they found among the inhabitants of Jabis Galaad four hundred young virgins, who had not known man by lying with him; and they brought them to Selom in the land of Chanaan.

13  And four hundred virgins, who had not known the bed of a man, were found from Jabesh-Gilead. And they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, in the land of Canaan.

14  And Benjamin returned at that time; and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh- gilead; and yet so they sufficed them not.

14  And all the congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin in the rock Remmon, and invited them to make peace.

14  And they sent messengers to the sons of Benjamin, who were at the rock of Rimmon, and they instructed them, so that they would receive them in peace.

15  And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that YHWH had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

15  And Benjamin returned to the children of Israel at that time, and the children of Israel gave them the women whom they had save alive of the daughters of Jabis Galaad; and they were content.

15  And the sons of Benjamin went, at that time, and wives were given to them from the daughters of Jabesh-Gilead. But others were not found, whom they might give in a similar manner.

16  Then the elders of the congregation said: 'How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?'

16  And the people relented for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

16  And all of Israel was very saddened, and they did penance for destroying one tribe out of Israel.

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17  And they said: 'They that are escaped must be as an inheritance for Benjamin, that a tribe be not blotted out from Israel.

17  And the elders of the congregation said, What shall we do for wives for them that remain? for the women have been destroyed out of Benjamin.

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18  Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters.' For the children of Israel had sworn, saying: 'Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.'

18  And they said, There must be an inheritance of them that are escaped of Benjamin; and so a tribe shall not be destroyed out of Israel.

18  and we must take great care, and make provision with a very great diligence, so that one tribe may not be wiped away from Israel.

19  And they said: 'Behold, there is the feast of YHWH from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.'

19  For we shall not be able to give them wives of our daughters, because we swore among the children of Israel, saying, Cursed is he that gives a wife to Benjamin.

19  As for our own daughters, we are not able to give them, being bound by an oath and a curse, when we said, ‘Accursed is he who will give any of his daughters to Benjamin as a wife.’ ”

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20  And they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying: 'Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;

20  And they said, Lo! now there is a feast of the Lord from year to year in Selom, which is on the north of Baethel, eastward on the way that goes up from Baethel to Sychem, and from the south of Lebona.

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21  and see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

21  And they charged the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;

21  And they instructed the sons of Benjamin, and they said: “Go, and hide in the vineyards.

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22  And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come to strive with us, that we will say unto them: Grant them graciously unto us; because we took not for each man of them his wife in battle; neither did ye give them unto them, that ye should now be guilty.'

22  and ye shall see; and lo! if there come out the daughters of the inhabitants of Selom to dance in dances, then shall ye go out of the vineyards and seize for yourselves every man a wife of the daughters of Selom, and go ye into the land of Benjamin.

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23  And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they carried off; and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and built the cities, and dwelt in them.

23  And it shall come to pass, when their fathers or their brethren come to dispute with us, that we will say to them, Grant them freely to us, for we have not taken every man his wife in the battle: because ye did not give to them according to the occasion, ye transgressed.

23  And when their fathers and brothers arrive, and they begin to complain against you and to argue, we will say to them: ‘Take pity on them. For they have not seized them by right of war or conquest. Instead, begging to receive them, you did not give them, and so the sin was on your part.’ ”

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.

24  And the children of Benjamin did so; and they took wives according to their number from the dancers whom they seized: and they went and returned to their inheritance, and built the cities, and dwelt in them.

24  And so the sons of Benjamin did just as they had been ordered. And according to their number, they seized for themselves one wife each, out of those who were led out dancing. And they went into their own possession, and they built up their cities, and they lived in them.

25  In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

25  And the children of Israel went thence at that time every man to his tribe and his kindred; and they went thence every man to his inheritance.

25  The sons of Israel also returned, according to their tribes and families, to their tents. In those days, there was no king in Israel. Instead, each one did what seemed right to himself.