1 So all the children of Israel, the whole community from Dan to Beer-sheba, gathered as one man, in cluding the land of Gil ead, before Yahweh at Mizpah. 2 The heads of all the people and of all the tribes of Israel came to the assem bly of the people of God: four hundred thou sand men on foot, all armed with swords.
3 The men of the tribe of Benjamin also knew that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.
3 The Israelites said, Tell us how this crime happened. 4 The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, addressed them and said, I arrived at Gibeah in Ben jamin with my concubine to spend the night there. 5 By night, the residents of Gibeah showed up and surrounded the house, intending to harm us. They were determined to kill me, and they abused my concubine in such a way that she died. 6 I then took her, cut her into pieces, one piece to each territory of Israel, be cause what they have done is a shame for Israel. 7 Now that you are here, all Israe lites, discuss among yourselves and make a decision now.
8 All the people rose as one man and said, None of us shall return to his tent nor go to his house. 9 This is what we will do with the people of Gibeah: we will draw lots 10 and will take from the tribes of Israel ten men for every hundred, a hundred for every thousand, and a thousand for every ten thousand. They shall gather provisions for the troops who will go to punish Gibeah in Benjamin for the crime its inhabitants have committed in Israel. 11 So all the men of Israel united as one man against the city.
12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the whole tribe of Benjamin and said to them: What is this crime that has been committed among you? 13 Hand over those wicked men of Gibeah to us, that we may kill them and banish the evil from Israel. But the Benjaminites did not mind their Israelite brothers.
14 Meanwhile, the Benjaminites also left their cities and gathered at Gibeah to face the Is raelites. 15 That day the Benja minites who came from different cities totaled twen ty-six thousand men, armed with swords, without counting the inhabitants of Gibe ah. 16 Among them were seven hundred va liant men, all left-handed and able to sling a stone at a hairs breadth without missing.
17 The people of Israel also counted their men. Without counting Benjamin, there were four hundred thousand men, able to draw sword, all men of war. 18 So they set out and went up to Bethel where they asked God: Who among us shall go up first to fight the sons of Benjamin? And Yahweh answered, Judah shall go up first.
19 The Israelites rose early and en camped opposite Gibeah. 20 They went out to fight against Benjamin and drew up the battle line against Gibeah. 21 But the Ben ja minites came out of Gibeah and killed twenty-two thousand Israelites. 22 On the second day, the sons of Israel attacked the Benjaminites.
23 The Israelites then went up to weep before Yahweh until evening, and asked Yahweh, saying, Shall we fight again with the sons of our brother Benja min? Yahweh answered, Go up against them.
24 So the people, the troops of Israel, regained their courage and returned to their former battle line. 25 On that day, too, the Benja minites went out against them and killed eighteen thousand sword-wielding Israelites.
26 Then all the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel. There they sat weeping before Yahweh. They fasted the whole day until evening and presented burnt and peace offerings before Yahweh, 27 for the Ark of the Covenant was there, 28 with Phi ne has, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, as its minister. They asked: Shall we come out again and fight the sons of our brother Benjamin, or not? Yahweh replied, Go up tomorrow, and I will give them into your hands.
29 Israel set men in ambush around Gi beah. 30 On the third day, the Israelites marched against Gibeah and positioned themselves in the battle line as on previous times. 31 The sons of Benjamin went out against them, but the Israelites cut off the way that led back to the city. The Benjaminites began as before to attack the men of Israel, killing about thirty men on the roads going up to Bethel and to Gibeah. 32 So the Benja mi nites thought: We have defeated them again as be fore.
32 But the Israelites said to themselves: Let us flee to draw them away from the city and cut off the roads. 33 All the men of Israel moved from their camp and took up position at Baal-Tamar, while those who were in ambush rushed out of their place to the west of Gibeah. 34 So ten thousand chosen men from all Israel came against Gibeah. The battle was fought hard, and the Benjaminites did not notice the calamity which was to come upon them. 35 Yahweh defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israe lites killed twenty-five thousand Benjami nites, all sword-wielding men.
36 The Benjaminites thought they were victorious, but the men of Israel gave them ground, because they relied on the ambush they had set against Gibeah. 37 The men in ambush rushed out and quick ly deployed themselves. They attacked Gibeah and put the whole city to the sword. 38 The men of Israel had planned with those in ambush that smoke would rise from the city as a signal. At this, the Israelites would then return and fight.
39 So the Israelites who pretended to es cape returned when the Benjaminites had killed about thirty men and had thought: Now they are defeated as in the first battle. 40 The smoke signal was already rising from the city. When the Ben jaminites looked behind, they saw that the whole city was on fire, with flames rising up to heaven. 41 When the Israelites faced them, the Benjaminites trem bled before the calamity which had come upon them. 42 They retreated be fore the men of Israel and fled in the direction leading to the de sert. But the Israelites who came out of the city overtook them and destroyed them. 43 They surrounded the men of Benjamin, pursued them without rest and crushed them opposite Gibeah by the east.
44 Eighteen thousand Benjaminites fell, all valiant men. 45 The survivors re treated and fled towards the desert to the rock of Rimmon. About five thousand men, however, were killed on the way. They also pursued Benjamin as far as Gideon, killing two thousand men.
46 On that day, twenty-five thousand sword-wielding Benjaminites died, all valiant men. Of those who fled to the desert to the rock of Rimmon, 47 six hundred were able to escape. They remained there for four months. 48 The troops of Israel turned against the towns of Ben jamin and put them to the sword, the peo ple as well as the livestock and everything in them. They also burned all the cities they found.