21 * And the men of Israel had sworn at Mispah “Not a man of us will give his daughter to any of the Benjamites as wife.” 2 And the people came to Bethel and sat down there till evening before God, and raised their voices and wept, making a very great weeping, 3 and said “Why, Jehovah God of Israel, has this thing come to pass in Israel, that one tribe should be missing from Israel today?” 4 and the first thing the next day the people built an altar there, and offered burnt-offerings and welfare-sacrifices. 5 And the sons of Israel said “Who is there that did not come up to Jehovah in the assembly, of all the tribes of Israel?” because there had been the great oath for whoever did not come up to Mispah to Jehovah, that he must be put to death. 6 * And the sons of Israel were sorry about their brother Benjamin, and said “One tribe has been hewn off from Israel today. 7 What shall we do for wives for them, the ones that are left, when we have sworn by Jehovah not to give them any of our daughters as wives?” 8 And they said “Who is there at all among the tribes of Israel that did not come to Mispah to Jehovah?” and it was found that not a man from Jabesh in Gilead had come to the camp to the assembly. 9 And the people were mustered, and it was found that there was not a man there of the inhabitants of Jabesh in Gilead. 10 And the congregation sent there twelve thousand of the most stalwart men, and gave them the order “Go and massacre the inhabitants of Jabesh in Gilead, including the women and children; 11 and this is the way you are to do, destroy without quarter every male, and every woman who has known a male’s embrace.” 12 And out of the inhabitants of Jabesh in Gilead they found four hundred virgin girls who had not known man in sexual embrace; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the country of Canaan. 13 And all the congregation sent word to the sons of Benjamin on Rimmon Cliff, proclaiming peace to them; 14 and the Benjamites came back at that time, and they gave them the wives they had kept alive out of the women of Jabesh in Gilead, but even so they did not suffice for them. 15 And the people were sorry about the Benjamites, because Jehovah had broken into the tribes of Israel. 16 * And the elders of the congregation said “What shall we do for wives for the ones that are left?” because womankind had been rooted out from Benjamin; 17 * and “Benjamin has an estate of survivors, so that a tribe is not to be wiped out from Israel; 18 but we cannot give them wives out of our daughters”—because the sons of Israel had sworn “Cursed is anyone who gives a wife to the Benjamites.” 19 And they said “Here is the feast of Jehovah at Shiloh annually, north of Bethel, east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shekem, and south of Lebonah”; 20 and they gave the sons of Benjamin the order “Go and lie in ambush in the vineyards, 21 and be looking, and if the Shiloh girls come out to dance the dances, come you out of the vineyards and catch yourselves a wife apiece out of the Shiloh girls, and go to the country of Benjamin. 22 ** And when their fathers or brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them “Let them off as a favor to us, because we did not take a wife apiece by fighting, for you did not give to them, then you would have been liable.” 23 And the sons of Benjamin did so, and carried off wives enough for their number out of the dancers they stole, and went home to their domain and rebuilt the cities and lived in them. 24 And upon that the sons of Israel wended their way from there to their several tribes and clans, and they went out from there to their several domains. 25 In those days there was no king in Israel: each did what suited him.
^ 21:1 Lit. to the Benjamites
^ 21:6 The Hebrew word for tribe means stem (of a bush)
^ 21:16 Or left? since womankind have been rooted out from Benjamin.”
^ 21:17 Unc.; susp.
^ 21:22 Conj. they did not
^ 21:22 Or* for if you had given