|Judges 21 |
1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, "None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife."
2 And the people came to the house of God and sat there before God until evening and lifted up their voices and wept greatly;
3 And said, "O LORD God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that there should be one tribe missing from Israel today?"
4 So the next day the people rose early, and built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
5 And the children of Israel said, "Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up with the congregation to the LORD?" For they had made a solemn oath concerning anyone who did not come up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, "He shall surely be put to death."
6 Now the children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their brother, and said, "There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.
7 What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them our daughters as wives?"
8 And they said, "Which one is there of the tribes of Israel that did not come up to Mizpeh to the LORD?" And, behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh Gilead to the assembly.
9 For when the people were numbered, behold, none of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead were there.
10 So the congregation sent twelve thousand of the most valiant men there, and commanded them saying, "Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword, including the women and children.
11 And this is the thing that you shall do: You shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who is not a virgin."
12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young virgins, who had known no man by lying with him; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
13 Then the whole congregation sent word to the children of Benjamin who were at the rock Rimmon and to offer peace to them.
14 So Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women that they had saved alive from the women of Jabesh Gilead; and yet they had not found enough for them.
15 And the people grieved for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel.
16 Then the elders of the congregation said, "What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since the women of Benjamin are destroyed?"
17 And they said, "There must be an inheritance for those who are escaped of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be destroyed out of Israel.
18 However, we may not give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, 'Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin.'
19 So they said, "Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place that is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem and south of Lebonah."
20 Therefore they instructed the children of Benjamin, saying, "Go and lie in wait in the vineyards,
21 And watch; and if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come out of the vineyards and catch every man a wife from the daughters of Shiloh and go to the land of Benjamin.
22 And when their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, we will say to them, 'Give them graciously to us, because we did not reserve a wife for each man in the war; for you did not give the women to them at this time, making you guilty of breaking the oath.'"
23 So the children of Benjamin did so and took wives, according to their number, from those who danced whom they caught. Then they went and returned to their inheritance and repaired the cities and dwelt in them.
24 So the children of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and his family; they went out from there 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.