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CHAPTER 20 Jun. 18 
The Israelites Attack the Benjamites
Then all the Israelites went out, and the congregation assembled as one man, from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead, to Yahweh at Mizpah. 2The leaders of the people from all the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand armed soldiers. 3Now the Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah. The Israelites said, Tell us how this wicked thing happened. 4The Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered, I came to Gibeah in Benjamin, I and my concubine, to stay the night. 5The men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house at night. They intended to kill me, and they raped my concubine and she is dead. 6I took my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel because they have committed this disgraceful and abominable act in Israel. 7Now you Israelites, all of you, give your advice and counsel. 8All the people arose as one man saying, None of us will go to his tent, neither will any of us go home. 9This is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot, 10and we will take ten men of every hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred out of every thousand and a thousand out of ten thousand, to get food for the army so that when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin they can punish them for the disgusting thing they have done in Israel. 11So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man. 12The tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin saying, What is this disgusting crime that has been committed among you? 13Now surrender the wicked men of Gibeah so that we may put them to death and put away evil from Israel. But Benjamin would not listen to their brothers the Israelites. 14The Benjamites gathered together out of their cities to Gibeah to go out to fight against the Israelites. 15The Benjamites numbered twenty six thousand swordsmen out of the cities, besides the seven hundred chosen men of Gibeah. 16Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling stones at a hair’s breadth and not miss. 17The men of Israel apart from Benjamin were four hundred thousand swordsmen, all warriors. 18The Israelites went up to Bethel and asked counsel of God. They said, Who shall go up for us first to battle against the children of Benjamin? Yahweh said, Judah first. 19The next morning the Israelites got up and encamped against Gibeah. 20The men of Israel went out to fight against Benjamin and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. 21The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and destroyed twenty-two thousand Israelites on that day. 22The men of Israel encouraged one another and took up their positions again in the place where they had stationed themselves on the first day. 23They went up and wept before Yahweh until evening, and they asked Yahweh, Shall we go up to fight again against the Benjamites, our brothers? Yahweh said, Go up against them. 24The Israelites went against the Benjamites the second day. 25Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah the second day, and destroyed another eighteen thousand Israelite men, all armed with swords. 26Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel and wept and sat there before Yahweh and fasted that day until evening. They offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to Yahweh. 27The Israelites asked Yahweh (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron ministered before it), Shall we yet again go out to fight against Benjamin our brother, or not? Yahweh said, Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver him into your hand. 29Israel set ambushes all around Gibeah. 30They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and set themselves in position against Gibeah as before. 31The Benjamites went out against them and were drawn away from the city. They began to fight the Israelites as before, on the highways on the way to Bethel and Gibeah, and in the field, killing about thirty men of Israel. 32The Benjamites said, We are defeating them as before. But the Israelites said, Let’s retreat and draw them away from the city to the highways. 
The Benjamites Defeated
33All the men of Israel arose up from their camp and set themselves in position at Baal Tamar, and the ambush charged from Maareh Geba. 34Ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel attacked Gibeah and the battle was severe, but the Benjamites didn’t know that disaster was upon them. 35Yahweh defeated Benjamin before Israel, and the Israelites destroyed twenty five thousand one hundred armed Benjamites that day. 36Then the Benjamites saw that they were defeated, for the men of Israel had given way to Benjamin, trusting in the ambush which they had set against Gibeah. 37The men in the ambush rushed into Gibeah, spread out and put all the city to the sword. 38Now the appointed signal between the men of Israel and the ambush was that they should send up a great cloud of smoke out of the city. 39Then the men of Israel would turn in the battle. Benjamin began to attack and killed about thirty of the men of Israel, for they said, Surely they are being defeated as before. 40But when the smoke began to go up out of the city, the Benjamites looked behind them and saw the whole city going up in smoke. 41Then the men of Israel turned on them and the men of Benjamin were terrified, seeing that disaster had come on them. 42So they fled before the men of Israel towards the wilderness, but they could not escape the battle, and the Israelites who came out of the cities destroyed them there. 43They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and ran them down as far as Gibeah toward the east. 44Eighteen thousand valiant men of Benjamin fell. 45They turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and the Israelites killed five thousand of them along the way and chased them to Gidom, killing two thousand more. 46So that day twenty-five thousand valiant fighters of Benjamin were killed. 47But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and stayed there four months. 48The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put to the sword everything in the towns, including the livestock, and anything they found. All the towns which they found they set on fire.


20:1 As one man- Repeated in :8,11. In the same way as disparate parties became united in killing Christ, so self-righteous anger against brethren who are scapegoated can produce an apparent unity (Lk. 23:12; Acts 4:26). But the parties soon go back to their anger with each other once the group they have set up as their common enemy is either destroyed or the situation moves on.
20:16 We read of men being able to sling stones and not miss “a hair’s breadth”- an idiom which of course isn’t literally true. The Bible uses such inexact language at times in that it uses human terms; which explains why the New Testament speaks of ‘demons’ as if they exist whereas elsewhere it shows clearly that they have no real existence.
20:23 Both sides were in the wrong. But God as it were lead the idolatrous and hypocritical Israelites further down the downward spiral. We learn from this that division amongst God’s people is in a sense sent from Him in the sense that He confirms divisive brethren in their position they wish to adopt, and even uses it to destroy communities which displease Him. Even with Gentile nations, His preferred manner of destroying their armies was to turn their swords against themselves.