May 27, 2024

Thomas McNeilly

Jesus Christ is King

Judges 20 war against Benjamin
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1All the Israelites from Dan to Beer-sheba and from the land of Gilead came out, and the community assembled as one body before the Lord at Mizpah. 2The leaders of all the people and of all the tribes of Israel presented themselves in the assembly of God’s people: four hundred thousand armed foot soldiers. 3The Benjaminites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah. The Israelites asked, “Tell us, how did this evil act happen?” 4The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, answered, “I went to Gibeah in Benjamin with my concubine to spend the night. 5Citizens of Gibeah came to attack me and surrounded the house at night. They intended to kill me, but they raped my concubine, and she died. 6Then I took my concubine and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout Israel’s territory, because they have committed a wicked outrage in Israel. 7Look, all of you are Israelites. Give your judgment and verdict here and now.” 8Then all the people stood united and said, “None of us will go to his tent or return to his house. 9Now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will attack it. By lot 10we will take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred out of every thousand, and one thousand out of every ten thousand to get provisions for the troops when they go to Gibeah in Benjamin to punish them for all the outrage they committed in Israel.” 11So all the men of Israel gathered united against the city. 12Then the tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this evil act that has happened among you? 13Hand over the wicked men in Gibeah so we can put them to death and purge evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites would not listen to their fellow Israelites. 14Instead, the Benjaminites gathered together from their cities to Gibeah to go out and fight against the Israelites. 15On that day the Benjaminites mobilized twenty-six thousand armed men from their cities, besides seven hundred fit young men rallied by the inhabitants of Gibeah. 16There were seven hundred fit young men who were left-handed among all these troops; all could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17The Israelites, apart from Benjamin, mobilized four hundred thousand armed men, every one an experienced warrior. 18They set out, went to Bethel, and inquired of God. The Israelites asked, “Who is to go first to fight for us against the Benjaminites?” And the Lord answered, “Judah will be first.” 19In the morning, the Israelites set out and camped near Gibeah. 20The men of Israel went out to fight against Benjamin and took their battle positions against Gibeah. 21The Benjaminites came out of Gibeah and slaughtered twenty-two thousand men of Israel on the field that day. 22But the Israelite troops rallied and again took their battle positions in the same place where they positioned themselves on the first day. 23They went up, wept before the Lord until evening, and inquired of him, “Should we again attack our brothers the Benjaminites?” And the Lord answered, “Fight against them.” 24On the second day the Israelites advanced against the Benjaminites. 25That same day the Benjaminites came out from Gibeah to meet them and slaughtered an additional eighteen thousand Israelites on the field; all were armed. 26The whole Israelite army went to Bethel where they wept and sat before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. 27Then the Israelites inquired of the Lord. In those days, the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28and Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, was serving before it. The Israelites asked, “Should we again fight against our brothers the Benjaminites or should we stop?” The Lord answered, “Fight, because I will hand them over to you tomorrow.”