Chapter 8

  1. And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of Mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehem-Judah. And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house, to Bethlehem-Judah, and was there four whole months. And her husband arose and went after her, to speak friendly unto her and to bring her again, having his servant with him and a couple of asses. And she brought him into her father’s house. And when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. And his father-in-law, the damsel’s father, retained him, and he stayed with him three days. So they did eat and drink and lodged there. And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart; and the damsel’s father said unto his son-in-law, Comfort your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way. And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together. For the damsel’s father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray you, and stay all night, and let your heart be merry. And when the man rose up to depart, his father-in-law urged him; therefore, he lodged there again. And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, and the damsel’s father said, Comfort your heart, I pray you. And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat, both of them. And when the man rose up to depart — he, and his concubine, and his servant — his father-in-law, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draws toward evening; I ask you to stay all night. Behold, the day grows to an end. Lodge here, that your heart may be merry, and tomorrow depart early on your way, that you may go home. But the man would not stay that night, but he rose up and departed, and came toward Jebus (which is Jerusalem); and there were with him two asses saddled. His concubine also was with him. And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray you, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites and lodge in it. And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside here into the city of a stranger that is not of the children of Israel. We will pass over to Gibeah. And he said unto his servant, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night: in Gibeah or in Ramah. And they passed on and went their way. And the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. And they turned aside there, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah. And when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city, for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging.
  2. And behold, there came an old man from his work, out of the field at evening, who was also of Mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah, but the men of the place were Benjamites. And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city, and the old man said, Where are you going? And where do you come from? And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehem-Judah toward the side of Mount Ephraim. From there am I. And I went to Bethlehem-Judah, but I am now going to the house of the Lord, and there is no man that receives me to his house. Yet there is both straw and feed for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for your handmaid, and for the young man who is with your servants. There is no lack of anything. And the old man said, Peace be with you; however, let all your needs lie upon me, only lodge not in the street. So he brought him into his house and gave feed unto the asses, and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about and beat at the door, and spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into your house, that we may know him. And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly, seeing that this man has come into my house; do not this folly. Behold, here is my daughter, a virgin, and his concubine. Them I will bring out now. And you humiliate them and do with them what seems good unto you, but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and brought her forth unto them, and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning; and when the day began to dawn, they let her go. Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, until it was light.
  3. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way. And behold, the woman, his concubine, was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold. And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up and went unto his place. And when he had come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the borders of Israel. And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day. Consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.
  4. Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the Lord in Mizpeh. And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand foot soldiers that drew sword. Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh. Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness? And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and intended to have slain me. And my concubine have they raped, that she died. And 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. Behold, you are all children of Israel. Give here your advice and counsel. And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house. But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah: we will go up by lot against it. And we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch provisions for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel. So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.
  5. And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you? Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel, but the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty-six thousand men that drew sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were numbered seven hundred chosen men. Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen left-handed men. Every one could sling stones at a hair-breadth and not miss. And the men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword. All these were men of war. And the children of Israel arose and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first.
  6. And the children of Israel rose up in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty-two thousand men. And the people — the men of Israel — encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. And the children of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and asked counsel of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the Lord said, Go up against him. And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. And Benjamin went forth 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. Then all the children of Israel and all the people went up and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. And the children of Israel inquired of the Lord — for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 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? And the Lord said, Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand. And Israel set men lying in wait round about Gibeah. And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. And the children of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people and kill, as at other times — in the highways of which one goes up to the house of God and the other to Gibeah in the field — about thirty men of Israel. And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first. But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways. And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baal-Tamar; and the men lying in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah. And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was severe, but they knew not that evil was near them. And the Lord smote Benjamin before Israel, and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men; all these drew the sword.
  7. So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten, for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites because they trusted unto the men lying in wait whom they had set beside Gibeah. And the men lying in wait hastened, and rushed upon Gibeah, and the men lying in wait drew themselves along and smote all the city with the edge of the sword. Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the men lying in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city. And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty men, for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle. But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven. And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed, for they saw that evil had come upon them. Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel, unto the way of the wilderness. But the battle overtook them, and them who came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them. Thus, they enclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trod them down with ease before Gibeah toward the sunrise. And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valor. And they turned and fled toward the wilderness, unto the rock of Rimmon, and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men, and pursued hard after them unto Gidom and slew two thousand men of them, so that all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valor. But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness, unto the rock Rimmon, and remained in the rock Rimmon four months. And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city as the beast, and all that came to hand. Also, they set on fire all the cities that they came to.
  8. Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. And the people came to the house of God and remained there until evening before God, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly, and said, O Lord God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel? And it came to pass on the next day that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the Lord? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the Lord, to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death.
  9. And the children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them of our daughters to wives? And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh, to the Lord? And behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-Gilead to the assembly; for the people were numbered, and behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead there. And the congregation sent there twelve thousand men of the most valiant, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. And this is the thing that you shall do: you shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that has lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead four hundred young virgins that had known no man by lying with any male. And they brought them unto the camp, to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
  10. And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them. And Benjamin came again at that time, and they gave them wives whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-Gilead; and yet so, they sufficed them not. And the people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 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? And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel. Nevertheless, we may not give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that gives a wife to Benjamin. Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the Lord in Shiloh yearly, in a place which is on the north side of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. Therefore, they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards and see, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come out of the vineyards and catch yourselves every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favorable unto them for our sakes, because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war. For you did not give unto them at this time, that you should be guilty. And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced whom they caught. And they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelled in them. And the children of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from there, every man to his inheritance.
  11. In those days there was no king in Israel. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.