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Jehovah’s Witnesses


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Judges 20:1-48

20  And all the sons of Israel came out to Jehovah at Mispah, and the congregation assembled there like one man, from Dan to Beer-Shebaʽ and the country of Gilead; 2  and the headmen of all the people, all the tribes of Israel, took their stand as assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand fighting men of foot. 3  And the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mispah. And the sons of Israel said “Tell us how this crime happened.” 4  And the Levite, the murdered woman’s husband, answered “At Gibeah of Benjamin I and my concubine went in to lodge for the night, 5  and the citizens of Gibeah mobbed me, surrounding the house I was in at night; they thought of killing me, and they outraged my concubine so that she died of it; 6*  and I took my concubine and cut her up and sent her all through the countryside of Israel’s domain, because they had committed a scandal in Israel. 7  Here you all are, sons of Israel; speak your minds here.” 8  And all the people rose like one man, saying “We will not go to our homes, nor each drop off to his house, 9  but this is the thing we will do to Gibeah now: go up against it by lot, 10  and take ten men to the hundred of all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred to the thousand and a thousand to the myriad, to get provisions for the people, to do to the inmates of Gibeah of Benjamin what all the scandal they have committed in Israel deserves.” 11  And all the men of Israel came together to the city, acting in concert like one man. 12  And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin to say “What a crime this is that has happened among you! 13  now give up the reprobate men at Gibeah for us to put to death and rout out crime from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not obey their brothers the sons of Israel; 14  and the sons of Benjamin came together from their cities to Gibeah to go to war with the sons of Israel. 15  And the sons of Benjamin were mustered on that day, from the cities twenty-six thousand fighting men, apart from the inhabitants of Gibeah—they were mustered seven hundred picked men. 16  Out of all that body there were seven hundred picked men that were left-handed. All these would sling a stone at a hair and never miss. 17  And the men of Israel were mustered, apart from Benjamin, four hundred thousand fighting men; all these were men of war. 18  And they went up to Bethel. And the sons of Israel put the question to God “Whom shall we have go up to war with the sons of Benjamin to begin with?” and Jehovah said “Judah to begin with.” 19  And the sons of Israel started out in the morning and beleaguered Gibeah. 20  And the men of Israel went out to fight the Benjamites; and the men of Israel gave them battle toward Gibeah; 21  and the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and mowed off among the Israelites that day twenty-two thousand men. 22*  And the people, the men of Israel, took heart and gave battle once more in the same place where they did on the first day. 23*  And the sons of Israel went up to Bethel and wept before Jehovah till evening, and put the question to Jehovah “Shall I engage in battle with my brother Benjamin’s sons anymore?” and Jehovah said “Go up against him.” 24  And the sons of Israel engaged the Benjamites on the second day; 25  and the Benjamites came out of Gibeah to meet them on the second day, and mowed off among the sons of Israel eighteen thousand more; all these were fighting men. 26  And all the sons of Israel, and all the people, went up and came to Bethel, and wept and sat there before Jehovah and fasted that day till evening, and offered burnt-offerings and welfare-sacrifices before Jehovah; 27  and the sons of Israel put the question to Jehovah (the ark of God’s covenant was there in those days, 28  and Pinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron was in charge of its service in those days) “Shall I again go out to battle with my brother Benjamin’s sons, or shall I leave off?” and Jehovah said “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.” 29  And the Israelites laid ambuscades against Gibeah on all sides. 30  And the sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and offered battle as before; 31**  and the sons of Benjamin came out to meet the people, broke away from the city, and began to stab some of the people as before on the highways that go up one to Bethel and one to Gibeon, in the open, about thirty men among the Israelites. 32  And the sons of Benjamin thought “They are beaten, the same as the first time”; but the sons of Israel thought “Let us run and break them away from the city into the highways.” 33  And all the men of Israel started up from their place, and formed their line at Baal-Tamar, and the Israelites’ ambuscade burst out from its place to the west of Gebaʽ, 34  and ten thousand picked men out of all Israel went in in front of Gibeah; and the fighting was heavy. But they did not know that disaster was upon them. 35  And Jehovah caused Israel to beat Benjamin; and the sons of Israel mowed down twenty-five thousand one hundred among the Benjamites that day; all these were fighting men. 36  And the sons of Benjamin saw that they were beaten. And the men of Israel gave way to the Benjamites, because they relied on the ambuscade they had laid against Gibeah; 37  and the ambuscade made a hasty dash to Gibeah. And the ambuscade poured in and massacred the whole city. 38  And the appointment the men of Israel had with the ambuscade was that they should send up a smoke-signal from the city; 39  and the men of Israel turned in the battle, and the Benjamites began to stab about thirty men among the men of Israel, because they thought “It must be they are beaten, the same as in the first battle.” 40  But the signal began to go up from the city, a pillar of smoke; and the Benjamites turned their eyes back, and found that the holocaust of the city had towered to the sky; 41  and the men of Israel had turned; and the men of Benjamin were in consternation because they saw that disaster was upon them. 42*  And they turned before the men of Israel toward the wilderness; but the fighting kept up with them, and those who came out of the cities mowed them down in the midst. 43*  And they grated away the Benjamites from Nohah to opposite Gebaʽ on the east; 44  and eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell, stalwart men all these. 45  And they turned and fled to Rimmon Cliff in the wilderness, and they took an aftermath of five thousand men; and they kept up behind them to Gideom and killed two thousand of them. 46  The total of the Benjamites that fell was twenty-five thousand men on that day, stalwart men all these; 47  but six hundred men turned and fled to Rimmon Cliff in the wilderness and stayed on Rimmon Cliff four months. 48  And the men of Israel went back to the sons of Benjamin and massacred them, from city of men to cattle and everything that was to be found; they also put the torch to all the cities that were to be found.


20:6 Var. committed lewdness and scandal
20:22 Conj. that this verse belongs after verse 23
20:23 Var. omits to Bethel
20:31 Conj. that the words from and began to before belong not where they are but after Gibeon
20:31 (Gibeon) Codd. Gibeah
20:42 (last part) Susp.
20:43 Codd. Benjamites, chased them from Nohah, trampled them to opposite Gibeah