Judges 20, 21
1 All the children of Israel came out; all the congregation from Dan including Bersabee, and from the land of Galaad to the Lord at Mizpah, gathered as one man. 2 And all the tribes of Israel stood before the Lord in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand foot soldiers who drew the sword. 3 Now the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.
Then the sons of Israel came and said, “Tell us where this wicked deed happened?” 4 So the Levite man, the husband of the woman murdered, answered and said, “My concubine and I went into Gibeah of Benjamin to lodge. 5 And that night, the men of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house. They intended to kill me, but instead they raped my concubine, and as a result she died. 6 So I laid hold of my concubine and divided her in pieces, and because they committed lewdness and outrage in Israel, I sent her throughout all the territory of the inheritance of the children of Israel. 7 Look! You are all children of Israel; consider and take counsel here among yourselves.”
8 So all the people arose as one man, saying, “None of us will go back to his tent, nor will any turn back to his house. 9 Instead, this is what is to be done to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot. 10 Moreover, we will take ten men out of every hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, a hundred out of every thousand, and a thousand out of every ten thousand, to make provisions for the people to entice them to come to Gibeah in Benjamin, and then do to it all the vileness which it did in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel gathered in the city as one man.
12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men throughout all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has occurred among you? 13 Now therefore, deliver up the men, the sons of lawlessness in Gibeah, so that we may put them to death and put away the evil from Israel!” But the sons of Benjamin were not pleased to hear the voice of their brethren, the sons of Israel. 14 Instead, the sons of Benjamin gathered together from their cities to Gibeah, to go into battle against the sons of Israel. 15 And from their cities at that time, the sons of Benjamin numbered twenty-three thousand men who drew the sword, not including the inhabitants of Gibeah, who numbered seven hundred select men 16 from all this people who could use both hands. All these could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17 The men of Israel, excluding Benjamin, numbered four hundred thousand men who drew the sword; all of these were men of war.
18 Then the sons of Israel arose and went up to Bethel to inquire of God. They said, “Which of us shall first go up to battle against the sons of Benjamin?” The Lord said, “Judah, as leader, will go up first.” 19 So the sons of Israel rose in the early morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And all the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and they engaged them at Gibeah. 21 Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah, and on that day in Israel Benjamin cut down to the ground twenty-two thousand men of the Israelites.
22 And the men of Israel regrouped and again engaged in battle at the place where they engaged on the first day. 23 Then the sons of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and asked counsel of the Lord, saying, “Shall we again draw near for battle against the sons of Benjamin, our brothers?” And the Lord said, “Go up against them.”
24 So the sons of Israel went out to wage war against the sons of Benjamin on the second day. 25 And the sons of Benjamin went out to meet those from Gibeah on the second day, and cut down to the ground eighteen thousand more of the sons of Israel; all these drew the sword. 26 Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and they offered burnt offerings and pure offerings before the Lord, 27 because the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days. 28 In those days, Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it. And the sons of Israel asked the Lord, saying, “Shall we yet again go out to battle against the sons of Benjamin, our brothers, or shall we cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hands.”
29 Then the sons of Israel positioned themselves for an ambush round about Gibeah. 30 And the sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day, and arrayed themselves against Gibeah as before. 31 So all the sons of Benjamin went out to meet the people, leaving the city empty. As they did before, they began to strike down and kill some of the people, about thirty men of Israel—on the roads, one heading to Bethel and the other to Gibeah—and in the field. 32 And the sons of Benjamin said, “As the first time, they are falling before us.”
But the sons of Israel said, “Let us flee so as to draw them out from the city onto the roads.” And so they did. 33 So every man rose up from his place and united together at Baal Tamar. And the men of Israel burst forth from their position of ambush at Maaragabeh. 34 Ten thousand select men from all Israel came against Gibeah, and the battle was fierce. And Gibeah did not comprehend the disaster that was coming upon them. 35 The Lord struck Benjamin before the sons of Israel, and the sons of Israel destroyed twenty-five thousand one hundred men from Benjamin that day. All these drew the sword.
36 So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were beaten, and the men of Israel gave up ground to the Benjamites, for they relied on the ambush they had prepared against Gibeah. 37 And as the sons of Israel retreated, those men in ambush rose up and quickly charged Gibeah. The entire ambush rushed forth and struck the city with the edge of the sword.
38 And the sons of Israel used a signal of battle with those in ambush. They would send up a signal of smoke from the city. 39 And the sons of Israel saw that the ambush had seized Gibeah. So they stood in battle formation, allowing Benjamin to strike and wound about thirty of the men of Israel, for they said, “Surely again they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the signal cloud began to rise as a pillar of concentrated smoke from the city, the Benjamites looked behind them, and behold the complete end of the city was rising up to heaven. 41 The men of Israel turned back, and the men of Benjamin hastened away, seeing that evil overwhelmed them. 42 Therefore they looked in the direction of the desert, away from the sons of Israel, and fled.
But the battle overtook them, and those from the cities utterly eliminated those in the midst of them. 43 They cut down the Benjamites, chased them from the foot of Nova, and easily trampled them down until they came opposite Gibeah toward the east. 44 And eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell—all these were men of strength. 45 The rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and the sons of Israel cut down five thousand men. The sons of Israel relentlessly pursued after them as far as Gidom, and struck two thousand of their men. 46 All of Benjamin who drew the sword that day, and fell, were twenty-five thousand men. All these were men of valor.
47 The rest turned and fled toward the desert to the rock of Rimmon, even six hundred men, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon for four months. 48 And the sons of Israel turned back against the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, from the city of Methla, to the livestock, and to everything found in all the cities. And they set on fire all the cities they found.
Wives for the Benjamites
1 Now the men of Israel swore an oath at Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife.” 2 Then the people came to Bethel, and remained there before God till evening. They lifted up their voices and wept mightily 3 and said, “O Lord God of Israel, why has this come to pass, that today one tribe should be missing in Israel?”
4 The next morning the people rose early and built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. 5 The sons of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up with the assembly to the Lord?” For they had made a great oath concerning anyone who had not come up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” 6 And the sons of Israel had compassion toward Benjamin their brother, and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel today. 7 What shall we do for wives for the large number who remain, for we have sworn by the Lord not to give them our daughters as wives?”
8 And they said, “What one tribe of Israel did not come up to Mizpah to the Lord?” And take notice, no one came to the camp from Jabesh Gilead to the assembly. 9 For when the people were counted, indeed, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead was there. 10 So the congregation sent out there twelve thousand men from the sons of valor, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword. 11 And this is what you shall do: You shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has known a man intimately. But the virgins you will preserve.” And they did so. 12 So they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known a man intimately; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, in the land of Canaan. 13 Then the whole congregation sent and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and called them to peace. 14 Benjamin came back to the sons of Israel at that time, and the sons of Israel gave them the women whom they saved alive of the daughters of Jabesh Gilead, and it was thus pleasing to them.
15 The people had compassion for Benjamin, because the Lord brought about a rift in the tribes of Israel. 16 And the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since the women of Benjamin were destroyed?” 17 And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe of Israel may not be wiped out. 18 For we will not be able to give them wives from our daughters, because we swore among the sons of Israel, saying, ‘Cursed be the one who gives a wife to Benjamin.’ ”
19 And they said, “Remember, in a few days there is the yearly feast of the Lord in Shiloh, on the north of Bethel, on the road leading eastward from Bethel to Shechem, and from the south of Lebonah.” 20 Therefore they instructed the sons of Benjamin, saying, “Go, lie in wait in the vineyards 21 and watch. And behold, if the daughters of the inhabitants of Shiloh come out to perform in their dances, then go out from the vineyards, and let every man capture a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh and return to the land of Benjamin. 22 And whenever their fathers or their brothers come to pass judgment on you, we will say to them, ‘Have compassion on them for us, since no men received from us a wife for himself in the war, because you did not give to them at the appointed time you transgressed.”
23 And the sons of Benjamin did so; they took enough wives for their number from those who danced, whom they seized. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and rebuilt the cities and dwelt in them. 24 At that time, the sons of Israel walked away from that place, every man to his tribe and his family. And they went out from there, every man to his inheritance. 25 In those days there was no king in Israel. A man did what was right according to his own vision.
18 And they tested God in their hearts
By asking food for their souls;
19 And they slandered God and said,
“Why is God unable to prepare a table in the desert?
20 Since He struck the rock, and waters flowed,
And brooks flooded,
Is He also unable to give us bread
Or to prepare a table for His people?”
21 Therefore, the Lord heard and was enraged,
And fire was kindled in Jacob,
And wrath arose against Israel,
22 Because they did not believe in God,
Nor put their hope in His salvation.
23 And He commanded the clouds above
And opened the doors of heaven;
24 And He rained manna for them to eat
And gave them the bread of heaven;
25 Man ate the bread of angels;
He sent them food in abundance.
26 He took away the south wind from heaven,
And with His power He brought in the southwest wind;
27 He rained flesh on them like dust
And winged birds like the sand of the sea,
28 And they fell in the midst of their camp,
All around their tents;
29 And they ate and were well filled,
And He brought them their own desire;
30 They were not deprived of their desire.
While their food was still in their mouth,
31 The wrath of God rose up against them,
And killed their wealthy ones
And shackled Israel’s chosen ones.
32 In all these things they still sinned
And did not believe in His wonders;
33 And their days ended in folly
And their years with haste.
34 When He killed them, they sought Him out,
And turned back, and rose up early before God;
35 They remembered God was their helper,
And the Most High God their redeemer.
36 But they deceived Him with their mouth
And lied to Him with their tongue,
37 For their heart was not right with Him,
Neither were they faithful to His covenant.
11 The son of a king is in the light of life,
And those acceptable to him are as a cloud of the latter rain.
12 The abodes of wisdom are more to be chosen than gold,
And the abodes of discernment are more to be chosen than silver.
13 The paths of life turn away from evil,
And the ways of righteousness are length of life;
14 He who receives instruction shall be in good things,
And he who heeds rebukes shall become wise;
15 He who guards his own ways shall keep his own soul,
And he who loves his life shall use his mouth sparingly.
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 “bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
29 “To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.
30 “Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.
31 “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 “And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
34 “And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Do Not Judge
37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?
40 “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
41 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?
42 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit
43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
44 “For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.
45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Build on the Rock
46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
47 “Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
48 “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
49 “But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”