The Bible in Its Traditions

Judges 21:15–25

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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.