Juges (NAB) 17
17 1 There was a man in the mountain region of Ephraim whose name was Micah.2 He said to his mother, "The eleven hundred shekels of silver over which you pronounced a curse in my hearing when they were taken from you, are in my possession. It was I who took them; so now I will restore them to you."3 When he restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she took two hundred of them and gave them to the silversmith, who made of them a carved idol overlaid with silver. 4 Then his mother said, "May the LORD bless my son! I have consecrated the silver to the LORD as my gift in favor of my son, by making a carved idol overlaid with silver." It remained in the house of Micah.5 Thus the layman Micah had a sanctuary. He also made an ephod and household idols, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best.
7 There was a young Levite who had resided within the tribe of Judah at Bethlehem of Judah.8 From that city he set out to find another place of residence. On his journey he came to the house of Micah in the mountain region of Ephraim.9 Micah said to him, "Where do you come from?" He answered him, "I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and am on my way to find some other place of residence."10 "Stay with me," Micah said to him. "Be father and priest to me, and I will give you ten silver shekels a year, a set of garments, and your food."11 So the young Levite decided to stay with the man, to whom he became as one of his own sons.12 Micah consecrated the young Levite, who became his priest, remaining in his house. 13 Therefore Micah said, "Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, since the Levite has become my priest."
18 1 At that time there was no king in Israel. Moreover the tribe of Danites were in search of a district to dwell in, for up to that time they had received no heritage among the tribes of Israel. 2 So the Danites sent from their clan a detail of five valiant men of Zorah and Eshtaol, to reconnoiter the land and scout it. With their instructions to go and scout the land, they traveled as far as the house of Micah in the mountain region of Ephraim, where they passed the night.3 Near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite and turned in that direction. "Who brought you here and what are you doing here?" they asked him. "What is your interest here?" 4 "This is how Micah treats me," he replied to them. "He pays me a salary and I am his priest."5 They said to him, "Consult God, that we may know whether the undertaking we are engaged in will succeed."6 The priest said to them, "Go and prosper: the LORD is favorable to the undertaking you are engaged in."
7 So the five men went on and came to Laish. They saw that the people dwelling there lived securely after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and trusting, with no lack of any natural resources. They were distant from the Sidonians and had no contact with other people.8 When the five returned to their kinsmen in Zorah and Eshtaol and were asked for a report,9 they replied, "Come, let us attack them, for we have seen the land and it is very good. Are you going to hesitate? Do not be slothful about beginning your expedition to possess the land.10 Those against whom you go are a trusting people, and the land is ample. God has indeed given it into your power: a place where no natural resource is lacking."
11 So six hundred men of the clan of the Danites, fully armed with weapons of war, set out from where they were in Zorah and Eshtaol,12 and camped in Judah, up near Kiriath-jearim; hence to this day the place, which lies west of Kiriath-jearim, is called Mahaneh-dan.13 From there they went on to the mountain region of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.
14 The five men who had gone to reconnoiter the land of Laish said to their kinsmen, "Do you know that in these houses there are an ephod, household idols, and a carved idol overlaid with silver? Now decide what you must do!"15 So turning in that direction, they went to the house of the young Levite at the home of Micah and greeted him.16 The six hundred men girt with weapons of war, who were Danites, stood by the entrance of the gate, and the priest stood there also.17 Meanwhile the five men who had gone to reconnoiter the land went up and entered the house of Micah.18 When they had gone in and taken the ephod, the household idols, and the carved idol overlaid with silver, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?"19 They said to him, "Be still: put your hand over your mouth. Come with us and be our father and priest. Is it better for you to be priest for the family of one man or to be priest for a tribe and a clan in Israel?"20 The priest, agreeing, took the ephod, household idols, and carved idol and went off in the midst of the band.
21 As they turned to depart, they placed their little ones, their livestock, and their goods at the head of the column.22 The Danites had already gone some distance, when those in the houses near that of Micah took up arms and overtook them.23 They called to the Danites, who turned about and said to Micah, "What do you want, that you have taken up arms?"24 "You have taken my god, which I made, and have gone off with my priest as well," he answered. "What is left for me? How, then, can you ask me what I want?"25 The Danites said to him, "Let us hear no further sound from you, lest fierce men fall upon you and you and your family lose your lives."26 The Danites then went on their way, and Micah, seeing that they were stronger than he, returned home.
27 Having taken what Micah had made, and the priest he had had, they attacked Laish, a quiet and trusting people; they put them to the sword and destroyed their city by fire.28 No one came to their aid, since the city was far from Sidon and they had no contact with other people. The Danites then rebuilt the city, which was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob, and lived there.29 They named it Dan after their ancestor Dan, son of Israel. However, the name of the city was formerly Laish.30 The Danites set up the carved idol for themselves, and Jonathan, son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his descendants were priests for the tribe of the Danites until the time of the captivity of the land. 31 They maintained the carved idol Micah had made as long as the house of God was in Shiloh.
19 1 At that time, when there was no king in Israel, there was a Levite residing in remote parts of the mountain region of Ephraim who had taken for himself a concubine from Bethlehem of Judah.2 His concubine was unfaithful to him and left him for her father's house in Bethlehem of Judah, where she stayed for some four months.3 Her husband then set out with his servant and a pair of asses, and went after her to forgive her and take her back. She brought him into her father's house, and on seeing him, the girl's father joyfully made him welcome.4 He was detained by the girl's father, and so he spent three days with this father-in-law of his, eating and drinking and passing the night there.5 On the fourth day they rose early in the morning and he prepared to go. But the girl's father said to his son-in-law, "Fortify yourself with a little food; you can go later on." 6 So they stayed and the two men ate and drank together. Then the girl's father said to the husband, "Why not decide to spend the night here and enjoy yourself?"7 The man still made a move to go, but when his father-in-law pressed him he went back and spent the night there.8 On the fifth morning he rose early to depart, but the girl's father said, "Fortify yourself and tarry until the afternoon." When he and his father-in-law had eaten,9 and the husband was ready to go with his concubine and servant, the girl's father said to him, "It is already growing dusk. Stay for the night. See, the day is coming to an end. Spend the night here and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow you can start your journey home."
10 The man, however, refused to stay another night; he and his concubine set out with a pair of saddled asses, and traveled till they came opposite Jebus, which is Jerusalem.11 Since they were near Jebus with the day far gone, the servant said to his master, "Come, let us turn off to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it."12 But his master said to him, "We will not turn off to a city of foreigners, who are not Israelites, but will go on to Gibeah.13 Come," he said to his servant, "let us make for some other place, either Gibeah or Ramah, to spend the night."14 So they continued on their way till the sun set on them when they were abreast of Gibeah of Benjamin.15 There they turned off to enter Gibeah for the night. The man waited in the public square of the city he had entered, but no one offered them the shelter of his home for the night.
16 In the evening, however, an old man came from his work in the field; he was from the mountain region of Ephraim, though he lived among the Benjaminite townspeople of Gibeah.17 When he noticed the traveler in the public square of the city, the old man asked where he was going, and whence he had come.18 He said to him, "We are traveling from Bethlehem of Judah far up into the mountain region of Ephraim, where I belong. I have been to Bethlehem of Judah and am now going back home; but no one has offered us the shelter of his house.19 We have straw and fodder for our asses, and bread and wine for the woman and myself and for our servant; there is nothing else we need."20 "You are welcome," the old man said to him, "but let me provide for all your needs, and do not spend the night in the public square."21 So he led them to his house and provided fodder for the asses. Then they washed their feet, and ate and drank.
22 While they were enjoying themselves, the men of the city, who were corrupt, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They said to the old man whose house it was, "Bring out your guest, that we may abuse him." 23 The owner of the house went out to them and said, "No, my brothers; do not be so wicked. Since this man is my guest, do not commit this crime.24 Rather let me bring out my maiden daughter or his concubine. Ravish them, or do whatever you want with them; but against the man you must not commit this wanton crime."25 When the men would not listen to his host, the husband seized his concubine and thrust her outside to them. They had relations with her and abused her all night until the following dawn, when they let her go.
26 Then at daybreak the woman came and collapsed at the entrance of the house in which her husband was a guest, where she lay until the morning.27 When her husband rose that day and opened the door of the house to start out again on his journey, there lay the woman, his concubine, at the entrance of the house with her hands on the threshold.28 He said to her, "Come, let us go"; but there was no answer. So the man placed her on an ass and started out again for home.
29 On reaching home, he took a knife to the body of his concubine, cut her into twelve pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw this said, "Nothing like this has been done or seen from the day the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt to this day. Take note of it, and state what you propose to do."
20 1 So all the Israelites came out as one man: from Dan to Beer-sheba, and from the land of Gilead, the community was gathered to the LORD at Mizpah. 2 The leaders of all the people and all the tribesmen of Israel, four hundred thousand foot soldiers who were swordsmen, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God.
3 Meanwhile, the Benjaminites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah. The Israelites asked to be told how the crime had taken place,4 and the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, testified: "My concubine and I went into Gibeah of Benjamin for the night.5 But the citizens of Gibeah rose up against me by night and surrounded the house in which I was. Me they attempted to kill, and my concubine they abused so that she died.6 So I took my concubine and cut her up and sent her through every part of the territory of Israel, because of the monstrous crime they had committed in Israel.7 Now that you are all here, O Israelites, state what you propose to do."
8 All the people rose as one man to say, "None of us is to leave for his tent or return to his home.9 Now as for Gibeah, this is what we will do: We will proceed against it by lot,10 taking from all the tribes of Israel ten men for every hundred, a hundred for every thousand, a thousand for every ten thousand, and procuring supplies for the soldiers who will go to deal fully and suitably with Gibeah of Benjamin for the crime it committed in Israel." 11 When, therefore, all the men of Israel without exception were leagued together against the city,
12 the tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin to say, "What is this evil which has occurred among you? 13 Now give up these corrupt men of Gibeah, that we may put them to death and thus purge the evil from Israel." But the Benjaminites refused to accede to the demand of their brothers, the Israelites.
14 Instead, the Benjaminites assembled from their other cities to Gibeah, to do battle with the Israelites.15 The number of the Benjaminite swordsmen from the other cities on that occasion was twenty-six thousand, in addition to the inhabitants of Gibeah.16 Included in this total were seven hundred picked men who were left-handed, every one of them able to sling a stone at a hair without missing.
17 Meanwhile the other Israelites who, without Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen ready for battle,18 moved on to Bethel and consulted God. When the Israelites asked who should go first in the attack on the Benjaminites, the LORD said, "Judah shall go first."
19 The next day the Israelites advanced on Gibeah with their forces.20 On the day the Israelites drew up in battle array at Gibeah for the combat with Benjamin,21 the Benjaminites came out of the city and felled twenty-two thousand men of Israel.22 But though the Israelite soldiers took courage and again drew up for combat in the same place as on the previous day,23 Then the Israelites went up and wept before the LORD until evening. "Shall I again engage my brother Benjamin in battle?" they asked the LORD; and the LORD answered that they should.24 when they met the Benjaminites for the second time,25 once again the Benjaminites who came out of Gibeah against them felled eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them swordsmen.
26 So the entire Israelite army went up to Bethel, where they wept and remained fasting before the LORD until evening of that day, besides offering holocausts and peace offerings before the LORD.27 When the Israelites consulted the LORD (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,28 and Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, was ministering to him in those days), and asked, "Shall I go out again to battle with Benjamin, my brother, or shall I desist?" the LORD said, "Attack! for tomorrow I will deliver him into your power."
29 So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30 The Israelites went up against the Benjaminites for the third time and formed their line of battle at Gibeah as on other occasions.31 The Benjaminites went out to meet them, and in the beginning they killed off about thirty of the Israelite soldiers in the open field, just as on the other occasions.32 Therefore the Benjaminites thought, "We are defeating them as before"; not realizing that disaster was about to overtake them. The Israelites, however, had planned the flight so as to draw them away from the city onto the highways. They were drawn away from the city onto the highways, of which the one led to Bethel, the other to Gibeon.33 And then all the men of Israel rose from their places. They re-formed their ranks at Baal-tamar, and the Israelites in ambush rushed from their place west of Gibeah,34 ten thousand picked men from all Israel, and advanced against the city itself. In a fierce battle,35 the LORD defeated Benjamin before Israel; and on that day the Israelites killed twenty-five thousand one hundred men of Benjamin, all of them swordsmen.36 To the Benjaminites it had looked as though the enemy were defeated, for the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, trusting in the ambush they had set at Gibeah.37 But then the men in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, overran it, and put the whole city to the sword.
38 Now, the other Israelites had agreed with the men in ambush on a smoke signal they were to send up from the city.39 And though the men of Benjamin had begun by killing off some thirty of the men of Israel, under the impression that they were defeating them as surely as in the earlier fighting, the Israelites wheeled about to resist40 as the smoke of the signal column began to rise up from the city. It was when Benjamin looked back and saw the whole city in flames against the sky41 that the men of Israel wheeled about. Therefore the men of Benjamin were thrown into confusion, for they realized the disaster that had overtaken them.42 They retreated before the men of Israel in the direction of the desert, with the fight being pressed against them. In their very midst, meanwhile, those who had been in the city were spreading destruction.43 The men of Benjamin had been surrounded, and were now pursued to a point east of Gibeah,44 while eighteen thousand of them fell, warriors to a man.45 The rest turned and fled through the desert to the rock Rimmon. But on the highways the Israelites picked off five thousand men among them, and chasing them up to Gidom, killed another two thousand of them there.46 Those of Benjamin who fell on that day were in all twenty-five thousand swordsmen, warriors to a man.
47 But six hundred others who turned and fled through the desert reached the rock Rimmon, where they remained for four months.
48 The men of Israel withdrew through the territory of the Benjaminites, putting to the sword the inhabitants of the cities, the livestock, and all they chanced upon. Moreover they destroyed by fire all the cities they came upon.
21 1 Now the men of Israel had sworn at Mizpah that none of them would give his daughter in marriage to anyone from Benjamin.
2 So the people went to Bethel and remained there before God until evening, raising their voices in bitter lament.3 They said, "LORD, God of Israel, why has it come to pass in Israel that today one tribe of Israel should be lacking?"4 Early the next day the people built an altar there and offered holocausts and peace offerings.5 Then the Israelites asked, "Are there any among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the LORD for the assembly?" For they had taken a solemn oath that anyone who did not go up to the LORD at Mizpah should be put to death without fail.6 The Israelites were disconsolate over their brother Benjamin and said, "Today one of the tribes of Israel has been cut off. 7 What can we do about wives for the survivors, since we have sworn by the LORD not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?"8 And when they asked whether anyone among the tribes of Israel had not come up to the LORD in Mizpah, they found that none of the men of Jabesh-gilead had come to the encampment for the assembly.9 A roll call of the army established that none of the inhabitants of that city were present.10 The community, therefore, sent twelve thousand warriors with orders to go to Jabesh-gilead and put those who lived there to the sword, including the women and children.11 They were told to include under the ban all males and every woman who was not still a virgin. 12 Finding among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, who had had no relations with men, they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.
13 Then the whole community sent a message to the Benjaminites at the rock Rimmon, offering them peace.14 When Benjamin returned at that time, they gave them as wives the women of Jabesh-gilead whom they had spared; but these proved to be not enough for them.15 The people were still disconsolate over Benjamin because the LORD had made a breach among the tribes of Israel.
16 And the elders of the community said, "What shall we do for wives for the survivors? For every woman in Benjamin has been put to death."17 They said, "Those of Benjamin who survive must have heirs, else one of the Israelite tribes will be wiped out.18 Yet we cannot give them any of our daughters in marriage, because the Israelites have sworn, 'Cursed be he who gives a woman to Benjamin!'"
19 Then they thought of the yearly feast of the LORD at Shiloh, north of Bethel, east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.20 And they instructed the Benjaminites, "Go and lie in wait in the vineyards.21 When you see the girls of Shiloh come out to do their dancing, leave the vineyards and each of you seize one of the girls of Shiloh for a wife, and go to the land of Benjamin.22 When their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we shall say to them, 'Release them to us as a kindness, since we did not take a woman apiece in the war. Had you yourselves given them these wives, you would now be guilty.'"23 The Benjaminites did this; they carried off a wife for each of them from their raid on the dancers, and went back to their own territory, where they rebuilt and occupied the cities.
24 Also at that time the Israelites dispersed; each of them left for his own heritage in his own clan and tribe.
25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best.
Juges (NAB) 17