War against the tribe of Benjamin.
VERSE 1. Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, to the LORD at Mizpah.
the congregation was assembled as one man. The nation is finally united.
To commit a crime against one woman is so heinous that everyone agrees: all people involved must be exterminated.
But in our day, many Christians trivialize the sexual assault of a woman. They disbelieve women who say they were assaulted.
to the LORD at Mizpah. They gathered before the Lord in Mizpah. This city is eight miles north of Jerusalem.
VERSE 2. The chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen who drew sword.
four hundred thousand footmen. This is a massive army!
VERSE 3. (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) The children of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this wickedness happen?”
the children of Benjamin. They do not join this assembly.
Instead, they side with the men who raped the concubine. Those men were from Gibeah in Benjamin.
We are appalled by the tribe of Benjamin. They go so bad so fast. They are like Sodom and Gomorrah.
how did this wickedness happen? The Levite is asked to testify.
VERSE 4. The Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered, “I came into Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night.
VERSE 5. The men of Gibeah rose against me, and surrounded the house by night. They intended to kill me and they raped my concubine, and she is dead.
The Levite leaves out important details:
- He offered his concubine to the gang of rapists
- He shoved his concubine into the gang of rapists
The Levite is profoundly self-centered. And a coward. And a terrible human being.
VERSE 6. I took my concubine and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel; for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel.
VERSE 7. Behold, you children of Israel, all of you, give here your advice and counsel.”
VERSE 8. All the people arose as one man, saying, “None of us will go to his tent, neither will any of us turn to his house.
arose as one man. The conclusion is unanimous.
VERSE 9. But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot;
VERSE 10. and we will take ten men of one hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred of one thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand to get food for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that the men of Gibeah have done in Israel.”
knit together as one man. They have great unity.
VERSE 12. The tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What wickedness is this that has happened among you?
VERSE 13. Now therefore deliver up the men, the wicked fellows who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and put away evil from Israel.” But Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the children of Israel.
deliver up the men. The eleven tribes are making a generous offer to the tribe of Benjamin.
that we may put them to death. What the men of Gibeah did is so heinous that they must be put to death.
But Benjamin would not listen. The tribe of Benjamin would not listen to the other tribes. Instead, they side with the perpetrators.
They are like many Christians today, who refuse to accept the claims of women who say they were sexually assaulted. Instead, they side with the perpetrators.
VERSE 14. The children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel.
VERSE 15. The children of Benjamin were counted on that day out of the cities twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, in addition to the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were counted seven hundred chosen men.
VERSE 16. Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed. Every one of them could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
VERSE 17. The men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were counted four hundred thousand men who drew sword. All these were men of war.
four hundred thousand men who drew sword. The battle lines are drawn. The army of the eleven tribes massively outnumbers the army of the tribe of Benjamin:
- Tribe of Benjamin: 26,700
- The eleven tribes: 400,000
VERSE 18. The children of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and asked counsel of God. They asked, “Who shall go up for us first to battle against the children of Benjamin?” The LORD said, “Judah first.”
asked counsel of God. The answer was probably ascertained by rolling the Urim and Thummim. They were sacred dice rolled by the high priest.
VERSE 19. The children of Israel rose up in the morning and encamped against Gibeah.
VERSE 20. The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel set the battle in array against them at Gibeah.
VERSE 21. The children of Benjamin came out of Gibeah, and on that day destroyed twenty-two thousand of the Israelite men down to the ground.
destroyed twenty-two thousand. On this first day of battle, the eleven tribes suffer a massive defeat.
VERSE 22. The people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves, and set the battle again in array in the place where they set themselves in array the first day.
VERSE 23. The children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until evening; and they asked of the LORD, saying, “Shall I again draw near to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?” The LORD said, “Go up against him.”
VERSE 24. The children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.
VERSE 25. Benjamin went out against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men. All these drew the sword.
eighteen thousand men. On this second day of battle, the eleven tribes suffer another massive defeat.
VERSE 26. Then all the children of Israel and all the people went up, and came to Bethel, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until evening; then they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
VERSE 27. The children of Israel asked the LORD (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,
VERSE 28. and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?” The LORD said, “Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver him into your hand.”
VERSE 29. Israel set ambushes all around Gibeah.
VERSE 30. The children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times.
VERSE 31. The children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to strike and kill of the people as at other times, in the highways, of which one goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, in the field, about thirty men of Israel.
VERSE 32. The children of Benjamin said, “They are struck down before us, as at the first.” But the children of Israel said, “Let’s flee, and draw them away from the city to the highways.”
VERSE 33. All the men of Israel rose up out of their place and set themselves in array at Baal Tamar. Then the ambushers of Israel broke out of their place, even out of Maareh Geba.
VERSE 34. Ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel came over against Gibeah, and the battle was severe; but they didn’t know that disaster was close to them.
VERSE 35. The LORD struck Benjamin before Israel; and the children of Israel destroyed of Benjamin that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men. All these drew the sword.
twenty-five thousand one hundred men. The army of the tribe of Benjamin lost 25,100 soldiers.
Their entire army had numbered 26,700. So now they only have 1,600 left.
VERSE 36. So the children of Benjamin saw that they were struck, for the men of Israel yielded to Benjamin because they trusted the ambushers whom they had set against Gibeah.
VERSE 37. The ambushers hurried, and rushed on Gibeah; then the ambushers spread out, and struck all the city with the edge of the sword.
The ambushers hurried. They make a sudden dash into the city and slaughter everyone.
VERSE 38. Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the ambushers was that they should make a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city.
make a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city. They will do that by setting the city on fire.
VERSE 39. The men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons; for they said, “Surely they are struck down before us, as in the first battle.”
VERSE 40. But when the cloud began to arise up out of the city in a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them; and behold, the whole city went up in smoke to the sky.
VERSE 41. The men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed; for they saw that disaster had come on them.
VERSE 42. Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel to the way of the wilderness, but the battle followed hard after them; and those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the middle of it.
they turned their backs before the men of Israel. That it, they retreat.
VERSE 43. They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them, and trod them down at their resting place, as far as near Gibeah toward the sunrise.
VERSE 44. Eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell; all these were men of valor.
VERSE 45. They turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon. They gleaned five thousand men of them in the highways, and followed hard after them to Gidom, and struck two thousand men of them.
VERSE 46. So that all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword. All these were men of valor.
VERSE 47. But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and stayed in the rock of Rimmon four months.
VERSE 48. The men of Israel turned again on the children of Benjamin, and struck them with the edge of the sword—including the entire city, the livestock, and all that they found. Moreover they set all the cities which they found on fire.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.