8 June Judges 20:1-48

8 June. The Israelites punish the Benjaminites and destroy Gibeah

“So all the Israelites from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead [on the east of the River Jordan], joined together before the LORD in the city of Mizpah… There were 400,000 soldiers with swords… Then the Israelites said to the Levite, ‘Tell us how this evil thing happened.’”

“So the husband of the murdered woman answered, ‘My slave woman and I came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night… They forced my slave woman to have sexual relations and she died… Now, all you Israelites, speak up. What is your decision?’”

“Then all the people stood up at the same time, saying, ‘None of us will go home… Now this is what we will do to Gibeah… We will throw lots. That way we will choose ten men from every 100 men from all the tribes of Israel… Then the army will go to the city of Gibeah of Benjamin to repay them for the terrible thing they have done in Israel.’ So all the men of Israel were united and gathered against the city.”

“The tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin demanding, ‘What is this evil some of your men have done? Hand over the wicked men in Gibeah so that we can put them to death. We must remove this evil from Israel.’ But the Benjaminites would not listen to their fellow Israelites…”

“The next morning the Israelites got up and made a camp near Gibeah. The men of Israel went out to fight the Benjaminites and took their battle positon at Gibeah. Then the Benjaminites came out of Gibeah and killed 22,000 Israelites during the battle that day…”

“The Israelites came to fight the Benjaminites on the second day. The Benjaminites came out of Gibeah to attack the Israelites. This time, the Benjaminites killed 18,000 Israelites, all of whom carried swords.”

“Then the Israelites went up to Bethel. There they sat down and cried to the LORD and went without food all day until evening. They also brought burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD. The Israelites asked the Lord a question… They asked, ‘Shall we go to fight our relatives, the Benjaminites, again, or shall we stop fighting?’ The LORD answered, ‘Go, because tomorrow I will hand them over to you.’”

“Then the Israelites set up ambushes around Gibeah. They went to fight against the Benjaminites at Gibeah on the third day, getting into position for battle as they had done before. When the Benjaminites came out to fight them, the Israelites backed up and led the Benjaminites away from the city… The Benjaminites said, ‘We are winning as before.’ But the Israelites said, ‘Let’s run. Let’s trick them into going farther away from their city and onto the roads.’”

“All the Israelites moved from their places and got into battle positions at a place named Baal Tamar. Then the Israelites ran out from their hiding places west of Gibeah. Ten thousand of the best trained soldiers from all over Israel attacked Gibeah. The battle was very hard… On that day the Israelites killed 25,100 Benjaminites, all armed with swords. Then the Benjaminites saw that they were defeated...”

“The Benjaminites ran towards the rock of Rimmon, but the Israelites killed 5,000 Benjaminites along the roads. They chased them as far as Gidom and killed 2,000 more Benjaminites there… Then the Israelites went back to the land of Benjamin and killed the people in every city and also the animals and everything they could find. And they burned every city they found.”

          (Judges 20:1-48)



After the Levite’s concubine was raped and left for dead on the doorstep of an elderly man at Gibeah, the other Israelite tribes decided to bring the unrepentant Benjaminites to account for this atrocious crime.

The elders of the tribes of Israel assembled at Mizpah (see 2 on the map on 7 June) to discuss an appropriate response to this atrocity. The Benjaminites refused to hand over the perpetrators of the crime, so the Israelites attacked the Benjaminites outside Gibeah.

On the third day of battle, the Israelites feigned a retreat and drew the Benjaminites into an ambush at Baal Tamar, west of Gibeah. The Benjaminites were defeated and Gibeah was burned to the ground. A few hundred Benjaminites escaped into the desert to the Rock of Rimmon, overlooking the Jordan valley (see 3 on the map).

In this slaughter, the only civil war recorded among the Israelites, most of the tribe of Benjamin were wiped out - which resulted in the Benjaminites subsequently being the smallest of the twelve tribes (see 1 Samuel 9:21).

The photo (by Judae1) shows the view across East Jerusalem from the site of Gibeah.

You can read more about Gibeah @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/28-the-israelites-face-continuing-opposition/gibeon-is-destroyed-and-the-benjamites-punished/

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