1. The men of Israel swore at Mizpah: "None of us shall give his daughter in marriage to any Benjaminite."

2. The people went to Bethel. There they sat before Yahweh until evening, called on him and wept with great lamentation.

3. They said, "Yahweh, God of Israel, why has this misfortune happened to Israel, that one of its tribes has perished today?"

4. On the next day, the people rose early, built an altar there and offered holocausts and peace offerings.

5. The Israelites then asked, "Who among all the tribes of Israel did not come to the assembly of Yahweh?" For they had sol-emnly sworn that whoever would not come up to Mizpah before Yahweh should die.

6. The sons of Israel had compassion on their brother Benjamin and they said, "Today a tribe of Israel has been cut off,

7. what shall we do to provide wives for those that remain, for we have sworn to Yahweh not to give them our daughters in marriage?"

8. Because of this they asked, "Did any tribe of Israel not come up to Mizpah before Yahweh?" And they found out that none from Yabesh of Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly.

9. They made the census and saw that there was no one from Yabesh of Gilead.

10. Then the community sent there twelve thousand of their valiant men with this order: "Go and put to the sword the inhabitants of Yabesh of Gilead, including women and children.

11. This is what you shall do: kill every man and every woman who has had a relation with a man, but let the maidens live."

12. So they did. They found four hundred young virgins among the inhabitants of Yabesh in Gilead (who had not had any relations with man), and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

13. Then the community sent messengers to the Benjaminites who were at the rock of Rimmon to make peace with them,

14. and the Benjaminites returned. The Israelites gave them the women of Yabesh of Gilead they had spared, but there were not enough for all.

15. The people had compassion again on Benjamin for Yahweh had let one of the tribes of Israel perish.

16. So the community elders said, "What can we do to provide wives for those that are left, for the women of Benjamin were killed?"

17. and they added, "How can the survival of Benjamin be assured that a tribe of Israel may not perish?

18. We cannot give them our daughters since we have made this oath: Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin?"

19. But they said, "It is now the feast of Yahweh which is celebrated annually at Shiloh, north of Bethel, east of the road that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah."

20. So they advised the Benjaminites: "Go and wait in ambush in the vineyards.

21. Be ready and when the maidens of Shiloh come dancing in groups, come out of the vineyards and each man seize a wife and go to the land of Benjamin.

22. If their fathers or brothers come to complain against you, we shall tell them: "Try to understand them; see, the war left us with no means of giving a wife to each one of them. You are not the ones who gave them your maidens, otherwise you would have broken your vow."

23. So the Benjaminites did and seized the women they needed. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, rebuilt their cities and dwelt in them.

24. The Israelites then marched from there to their homes, every man to his tribe and family.

25. At that time, there was no king in Israel and everyone did what seemed good to him.



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