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The Blue Letter Bible

Judges 20 :: New International Version (NIV)

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The Israelites Punish the Benjamites

Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:1 - Then all Israel from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead came together as one and assembled before the LORD in Mizpah.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:2 - The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of God’s people, four hundred thousand men armed with swords.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:3 - (The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, “Tell us how this awful thing happened.”
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:4 - So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, “I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:5 - During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:6 - I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece to each region of Israel’s inheritance, because they committed this lewd and outrageous act in Israel.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:7 - Now, all you Israelites, speak up and tell me what you have decided to do.”
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:8 - All the men rose up together as one, saying, “None of us will go home. No, not one of us will return to his house.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:9 - But now this is what we’ll do to Gibeah: We’ll go up against it in the order decided by casting lots.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:10 - We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah[fn] in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for this outrageous act done in Israel.”
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:11 - So all the Israelites got together and united as one against the city.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:12 - The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What about this awful crime that was committed among you?
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:13 - Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.” But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:14 - From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:15 - At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred able young men from those living in Gibeah.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:16 - Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred select troops who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:17 - Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fit for battle.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:18 - The Israelites went up to Bethel[fn] and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?” The LORD replied, “Judah shall go first.”
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:19 - The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:20 - The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:21 - The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:22 - But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:23 - The Israelites went up and wept before the LORD until evening, and they inquired of the LORD. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?” The LORD answered, “Go up against them.”
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:24 - Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:25 - This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:26 - Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:27 - And the Israelites inquired of the LORD. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there,
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:28 - with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?” The LORD responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:29 - Then Israel set an ambush around Gibeah.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:30 - They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:31 - The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away from the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads—the one leading to Bethel and the other to Gibeah.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:32 - While the Benjamites were saying, “We are defeating them as before,” the Israelites were saying, “Let’s retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads.”
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:33 - All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place on the west[fn] of Gibeah.[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:34 - Then ten thousand of Israel’s able young men made a frontal attack on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize how near disaster was.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:35 - The LORD defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:36 - Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten. Now the men of Israel had given way before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush they had set near Gibeah.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:37 - Those who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:38 - The Israelites had arranged with the ambush that they should send up a great cloud of smoke from the city,
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:39 - and then the Israelites would counterattack. The Benjamites had begun to inflict casualties on the Israelites (about thirty), and they said, “We are defeating them as in the first battle.”
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:40 - But when the column of smoke began to rise from the city, the Benjamites turned and saw the whole city going up in smoke.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:41 - Then the Israelites counterattacked, and the Benjamites were terrified, because they realized that disaster had come on them.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:42 - So they fled before the Israelites in the direction of the wilderness, but they could not escape the battle. And the Israelites who came out of the towns cut them down there.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:43 - They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easily[fn] overran them in the vicinity of Gibeah on the east.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:44 - Eighteen thousand Benjamites fell, all of them valiant fighters.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:45 - As they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, the Israelites cut down five thousand men along the roads. They kept pressing after the Benjamites as far as Gidom and struck down two thousand more.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:46 - On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite swordsmen fell, all of them valiant fighters.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:47 - But six hundred of them turned and fled into the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months.
Unchecked Copy BoxJdg 20:48 - The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the towns they came across they set on fire.
NIV Footnotes
One Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts Geba, a variant of Gibeah
Or to the house of God; also in verse 26
Some Septuagint manuscripts and Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
Hebrew Geba, a variant of Gibeah
The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

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For more information on this translation, see the NIV Preface.

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