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THE WAR WITH BENJAMIN.
1. Then all the children of Israel of Israel, and a hundred of a thouwent out, and the congregation was sand, and a thousand out of ten gathered together as one man, from thousand, to fetch victual for the Dan even to Beer-sheba, with the people, that they may do, when land of Gilead, unto the Lord in they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, Mizpeh.
according to all the folly that they 2. And the chief of all the peo have wrougt in Israel. ple, even of all the tribes in Israel, 11. So all the men of Israel were presented themselves in the assem gathered against the city, knit tobly of the people of God, four hun- gether as one man. dred thousand footmen that drew 12. And the tribes of Israel sent sword.
men through all the tribe of Benja 3. (Now the children of Benja- min, saying, What wickedness is min heard that the children of Is- this that is done among you ? rael were gone up to Mizpeb.) Then 13. Now therefore deliver us the said the childred of Israel, Tell us, men, the children of Belial, which how was this wickedness ?
are in Gibeah, that we may put them 4. And the Levite, the husband to death, and put away evil from Isof the woman that was slain, an- rael. But the children of Benjamin swered and said, I came into Gib. would not hearken to the voice of eah that belongeth to Benjamin, I their brethren the children of Israel; and my concubine to lodge:
14. But the children of Benja. 6. And the men of Gibeah rose min gathered themselves together against me, and beset the house out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go round about upon me by night, and out to battle against the children of thought to have slain me; and my Israel. concubine have they forced that she 15. And the children of Benja. is dead.
min were numbered at that time, 6. And I took my concubine, and out of the cities, twenty and six cut her in pieces, and sent her thousand men that drew sword, bethroughout all the country of the sides the inhabitants of Gibeah, Inheritance of Israel: for they have which were numbered seven huncommitted lewdness and folly in dred chosen men. Israel.
16. Among all this people there 7. Behold, ye are all children of were seven hundred chosen men Israel; give here your advice and left-handed; every one could sling counsel.
stones at a hair breadth, and not 8. And all the people arose as miss. one man, saying, We will not any 17. And the men of Israel, beof us go to his tent, neither will we sides Benjamin, were numbered Any of us turn into his house : four hundred thousand men that
9. But now, this shall be the thing drew sword: all these were men of which we will do to Gibeah, we will go up by lot against it:
18. And the children of Israel 10. And we will take ten men of arose, and went up to the house of a bundred throughout all the tribos God, and asked counsel of God, and
said, Which of us shall go up first set their battle again in array, in to the battle against the children of the place where they put themselves Benjamin ? And the Lord said, in array the first day. Judah shall go up first.
23. (And the children of Israel 19. And the children of Israel went up, and wept before the Lord rose up, in the morning, and en. until even, and asked counsel of the camped against Gibeah.
Lord, saying, Shall I go up again to 20. And the men of Israel went battle against the children of Benout to battle against Benjamin: jamin my brother? And the Lord and the men of Israel put them- said, Go up against him.) selves in array to fight against them 24. And the children of Israel in Gibeah.
near against the children of 21. And the children of Benja Benjamin the second day. min came forth out of Gibeah, and 25. And Benjamin went forth destroyed down to the ground, of against them out of Giheal the the Israelites that day, twenty and second day, and destroyed down to two thousand men.
the ground, of the children of Israel 22. And the people, the men of again, eighteen thousand men; all Israel encouraged themselves, and these drew the sword.
The congregation -- the National Assembly-came together as one man from Dan on the north, to Beersheba on the south; and from Gilead east of the Jordan. Gilead being the largest district east of the Jordan, is sometimes spoken of, as if it included the whole country that side of the river
. The Mizpeh at which they assembled may have been the one in Judah, about twenty miles south of Jerusalem; or the one in Benjamin near Jerusalem.
The large number of the men may seem incredible; but it was far below the number that came out of Egypt. The occasion was one that would bring together a great multitude. Besides, the figures are properly proportioned. The number of men furnished by all the tribes but one, is about in proportion to the number furnished by
The single tribe has a little larger number in proportion, as it naturally would. The numbers of the slain are in proportion to the number of combatants on both sides; and this goes to confirm the accuracy of the figures.
The Levite is requested to tell the story of the outrage, which he does, according to the facts, only omitting the
circumstance, that he took the woman and gave her to the mob.
The proposition to set apart a portion of the army, to provide the necessaries for the remainder, was very judicious, as that would allow the rest to enter the battle field at once.
This is the first Commissary Department we read of in history. It is the universal practice of modern times.
The demand made upon the Benjamites, to deliver up the guilty men, was reasonable; and if it had been complied with, thc bloody scenes that followed would have been prevented. But having taken one false step, they follow it with another, and even with a much worse one. They are now as guilty as the first offenders, and are punished accordingly
They gathered at Gibeah, because that city was the principal offender. Both armies would be likely to meet at the same place -- one to punish Gibeah, and the other to defend it.
The Benjamites had a small army, compared with the other tribes; but it was understood, then as now, that victory does not always go with the multitude.
They asked counsel of the Lord, as to who should go up first against the children of Benjamin. They should have preceded this question with one, asking whether they should go up against them at all
. Judah was to head the expedition; both because that was the principal tribe; and because the offense was committed against a citizen of Judah.
The seven hundred chosen men, who could use the sling with the left hand, could sling stones at a hair and not miss. The word breadth, supplied by the translators, injures the sense. These men were not left-handed, as we use the expression; but they used both hands equally well.
The house of God. The tabernacle may have been at Shiloh, or it may have been brought nearer for this occasion. If it were at Shiloh, we need not suppose all
the people went there, to weep and ask counsel of God, but the congregation or assembly only. The Septuagint has the word Bethel, which means house of God. So has Josephus. But the connection shows that our version is correct. They went to seek counsel of Jehovah. And of course they went where such counsel could be obtained, namely, at the tabernacle in Shiloh.
The defeat of the army, the first two days, was a pụn. ishment for neglecting to consult the divine oracle, before they engaged in this fatal enterprise.
26. Then all the children of Isra- min said, They are smitten down el, and all the people, went up, and before us, as at the first. But the came unto the house of God and children of Israel said, Let us flee, wept, and sat there before the Lord and draw them from the city unto and fasted that day until even, and the highways. offered burnt-offerings and peace
33. And all the men of Israel offerings before the Lord.
rose up out of their place, and put 27. And the children of Israel themselves in array at Baal-tamar; inquired of the Lord, (for the ark and the liers in wait of Israel came of the covenant of God was there in forth out of their places, even out of those days;
the meadows of Gibeah. 28. And Phinehas, the son of 34. And there came against GibEleazar, the son of Aaron, stood be-eah ten thousand chosen men out of fore it in those days,) saying, Shall all Israel, and the battle was sore: I yet again go out to battle against but they knew not that evil was the children of Benjamin my broth- near them. er, or shall I cease? And the Lord 35. And the Lord smote Benjasaid, Go up; for to morrow I will min before Israel: and the children deliver them into thine hand. of Israel destroyed of the Benja
29. And Israel set liers in wait mites that day twenty and five round about Gibeah.
thousand and a hundred men: all 30. And the children of Israel these drew the sword. went up against the children of 36. So the children of Benjamin Benjamin on the third day, and saw that they were smitten; for put themselves in array against the men of Israel gave place to the Gibeah, as at other times.
Benjamites, because they trusted 31. And the children of Benja- unto the liers in wait which they min went out against the people, had set beside Gibeah. and were drawn away from the 37. And the liers in wait hasted, city ; and they began to smite of and rushed upon Gibeah; and the the people and kill, as at other times liers in wait drew themselves along, in the highways, of which one goeth and smote all the city with the up to the house of God, and the edge of the sword. other to Gibeah in the field, about 38. Now there was an appointed thirty men of Israel.
sign between the men of Israel and 32. And the children of Benja-Ithe liers in wait, that they should niake a great flame with smoke rise ease, over against Gibeah toward up out of the city.
the sun rising. 39. And when the men of Israel 44. And there fell of Benjamin retired in the battle, Benjamin be- eighteen thousand men: and these gan to smite and kill of the men of were men valor. Israel about thirty persons: for 45. And they turned, and fled tothey said, Surely they are smitten ward the wilderness unto the rock down before us, as in the first bat- Rimmon: and they gleaned of them tle.
in the highways five thousand men ; 40. But when the flame began and pursued hard after them unto to arise up out of the city with a Gidom, andslew two thousand men pillar of smoke, the Benjamites of them. looked behind them, and, behold, 46. So that all which fell that the flame of the city ascended up day of Benjamin were twenty and to heaven,
five thousand men that drew the 41. And when the men of Israel sword; all these were men of valor. turned again, the men of Benjamin 47. But six hundred men turned were amazed: for they saw that and fled to the wilderness unto the evil was come upon them. rock Rimmon, and abode in the
42. Therefore they turned their rock Rimmon four months. backs before the men of Israel unto 48. And the men of Israel turned the way of the wilderness: but the again upon the children of Benjabattle overtook them; and them min, and smote them with the edge which came out of the cities they of the sword, as well the men of destroyed in the midst of them.
every city as the beast, and all that 43. Thus they inclosed the Ben came to hand: also they set on fire jamites round about, and chased all the cities that they came to. them, and trode them down with
In the 26th verse we have house of God; and the Septuagint has Bethel. The same comment is required here as on verse 18th. Evidently the place was where the tabernacle was located.
The reference to Phinehas determines the time when this war took place.
Concerning Burnt Offerings and Peace Offerings, let the reader consult Vol. III.
Being informed that they should be successful did not lessen the exertions of the men of Israel, but increased them. The confidence of success may have secured the success. The want of this confidence may have been the cause of the previous disasters. Doubtless Jehovah did as much for them before as now; but they did not do as much for themselves. They must have felt that they