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The Book of the Judges


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The 18th Chapter

      In those days there was no King in Israel. And in those days the tribe of Dan sought them an inheritance to dwell in, for unto that time there fell none inheritance unto them among the tribe of Israel. And the children of Dan sent of their kindreds five men of activity, out of their coasts, even out of Zaraah and Esthaol, to view the land and search it out, and said unto them: go and search out the land. And they came to mount Ephraim, even to the house of Micah and lodged there. And when they were come unto the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite, and turned in thither, and said unto him: who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? And what hast thou here. And he said unto them, thus and thus dealeth Micah with me and hath hired me to be his priest. And they said unto him: Ask of God I pray thee, that we may know whether the way which we go, shall be prosperous or no. And the priest said unto them: go in peace, for the way which ye go is before the Lord.
      Then the five men departed and came to Lais, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, and after the manner of the Sidons: still, and without casting of perils, and that no man made any trouble in the land or usurped any dominion, and how they were far from the Sidons and had no business with any nation. And they came unto their brethren, to Zaraah, and Esthaol. And their brethren said unto them: what tidings bring you?
      And they said up and let us go unto them, for we have seen the land, that it is very good. Haste therefore and be not slothful to depart and go and conquer the land. When ye be come, ye shall come unto a people that casteth no perils, and unto a large country: for God hath given into your hands a place wherein is no lack of anything that is in the world.
      And there departed thence of the kindred of the Danites, out of Zaraah and Esthaol six hundred men appointed with instruments of war. And they went and pitched in Kariath Jarim in Juda. Wherefore the place is called Mahanah Dan unto this day, which is on the back side of Kariath Jarim. And they went thence unto mount Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah. Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Lais, and said unto their brethren: know ye not that there is in these houses and Ephod and Images, and a graven Image and an Image of metal? Now therefore consider what ye have to do.
      And they turned thitherward and came to the house of the young man the Levite in the house of Micah, and saluted him peaceably. And the six hundred men girded with weapons of war which were of the children of Dan stood in the entering of the gate. And the five men that went to spy out the land, went in thither and took the carved Image, and the Ephod, the carved Image, and the Image of metal. And the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were armed unto battle, while the other went to Micahs house, and fetched the carved Image, the Ephod, the carved Image and the Image of metal. Then said the priest unto them: what do ye? and they answered him, hold thy peace and put thine hand upon thy mouth, and come with us, and be unto us a father and a priest, whether is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or to be priest unto a tribe or a kindred in Israel? And the priest was glad and took the Ephod and the Images, and the graven Image, and went with the people. And they turned and departed, and put the children, the cattle and their costly things before them.
       When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses that were by Micahs house, made an outcry, and followed after the children of Dan and called unto them. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, what aileth thee, that thou makest an outcry: And he said, ye have taken away my Gods which I made and also the priest, and go your ways with them: And what have I more, how then say ye unto me, what aileth thee? And the children of Dan said unto him, let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of all thine household too. And so the children of Dan went their ways. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house again.
      And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and went unto Lais, even unto a people that were at rest and without mistrust, and smote them with the edge of the sword and burnt the city with fire. And there was no man to help, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no meddling with any other nation. And the city stood in the valley that lieth by Bethrehob. And they built the city and dwelt therein. And called it Dan, after the name of Dan their father which was born unto Israel. Howbeit in very deed the name of the city was Lais at the beginning.
      And the children of Dan set them up the graven Image. And Jonathan the son of Gerson, the son of Manasses and his sons were the priests unto the tribe of the Danites, until they were carried away out of the land captive. And they set them up the carved Image which Micah made, all the while that the house of God was in Siloh.




The 19th Chapter

      It chanced in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that a certain Levite dwelling on the side of mount Ephraim, took to wife a concubine out of Bethlehem Juda: which concubine played the whore in his house, and went away from him, unto her fathers house to Bethlehem Juda, and there continued four months. And her husband arose and went after her, to speak friendly, unto her, and to bring her home again, and his lad with him and a couple of *Asses. And she brought him unto her fathers house, and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced of his coming. And his father in law the damsels father kept him that he abode with him three days and so they ate and drank and lodged there.
       The fourth day they arose early in the morning, and the man stood up to depart. But the damsels father said unto his son in law, comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread and then go your way. And they sat down and did eat and drink both of them together. Then said the damsels father unto the man, go to I pray thee and tarry all night and let thine heart be merry. How be it the man stood up to depart: but his father in law compelled him to turn again and to tarry all night there. And he rose up early the fifth day to depart. Then said the damsels father comfort thine heart: and so made him tarry until after midday. And they did eat both of them together.
      And then the man arose to depart with his concubine and his lad. But his father in law the damsels father said unto him behold the day goeth fast away and draweth toward even, tarry all night: at the least way tarry this day here and let thine heart be merry. And tomorrow get you early upon your way and get thee to thy tent. Neverthelater the man would not tarry, but arose and departed and came as far as Jebus, which is Jerusalem, and his two asses laden, and his concubine, and his lad with him. And when they were fast by Jebus, the day was sore spent and the young man said unto his master, come I pray thee and let us turn in, into this city of the Jebusites and lodge all night there. But his master said unto him, we will not turn in to a strange city that are not of the children of Israel: we will go forth to Gabaah. And he said unto his lad, go forward, and we shall come to one place or other and shall lodge all night in Gabaah or in Ramah. And they went forward upon their way, and the *son went down upon them when they were fast by Gabaah which is in Benjamin. And they turned thitherward to go and lodge all night in Gabaah. And when they came in, they sat them down in a street of the city, for there was no man took them in to lodge. But behold there came an old man from his work, out of the fields at even which was also of mount Ephraim, and but a stranger in Gabaah, for the men of the place were of the children of Jemini. And when he had lifted up his eyes, and saw a wayfaring man in the streets of the city he said: whither goest thou? And whence comest thou? And the other answered him, we come from Bethlehem Juda toward the side of mount Ephraim: from thence am I, and went to Bethlehem Juda and go now to the house of the Lord. But there is no man that receiveth me to house: and yet I have straw and provender for our Asses, and bread and wine for me and thy handmaid, and thy lad that are with thy servant, and lack nothing.
      The old man said, peace be with thee, all that thou lackest shalt thou find with me: only abide not in the streets all night, and he brought him into his house, and gave fodder unto his Asses. And they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. And as they were making their hearts merry, the men of the city which were wicked, set the house round about, and thrust at the door, and spake to the man of the house, the old man saying: bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
      But the man of the house went out to them and said unto them, Oh, nay my brethren, do not so wickedly seeing that this man is come into mine house: do not this folly. Behold my daughter a maiden and this mans concubine, them I will bring out unto you, and humble them, and do with them what seemeth you good: but unto this man, do not this folly. But the men would not hearken to him. Nevertheless the man took his concubine and brought her out unto them, and they had to do with her, and entreated her shamefully, all the night even unto the morning. And when the day began to spring, they let her go.
      And then came the woman in the dawning of the day and fell down at the door of the mans house, where her Lord was, and there she lay till day. And her Lord arose up in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way. And behold, his concubine lay along before the door of the house, and her hand upon the threshold. And he said unto her: up and let us be going. But she answered not. Then he took her up upon an ass and stood up and gat him unto his own home. And when he was come unto his house, he took a dressing knife, and caught his concubine and divided her through the bones into twelve pieces, and sent her into all quarters of Israel. And all that saw it said: there was no such deed done or seen since the children of Israel came out of Egypt unto this day, consider the matter, give counsel and say your minds.


*cap A as recorded. *son as recorded




The 20th Chapter

      Then all the children of Israel went out: and there gathered a congregation together as it had been but one man, even from Dan to Berseba and out of the land of Galaad, unto the land Mazphah and there stood folk out of all quarters of all the tribes of Israel, in the congregation of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew swords. And the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mazphah.
      Then said the children of Israel, tell us how this wickedness happened. And the Levite the womans husband that was slain, answered and said: I came into Gabaah that is in Benjamin with my concubine to lodge all night. And the citizens of Gabaah rose against me, and set the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and caught my concubine and forced her, that she died. And I took my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the lands of the inheritance of Israel. For they have committed abomination and folly in Israel. Behold ye are all children of Israel. See therefore and give your advice in the case.
      Then all the people arose, as it had been one man saying: there shall not a man of us go to his tent, neither turn into his house. And now this is it that we shall do to Gabaah and cast lots against it. And we will take ten men of the hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of the thousand, and a thousand out of the ten thousand, to fetch victuals for the people to make that they may go against Gabaah Benjamin, according to all the folly, that they have wrought in Israel. And so all the men of Israel gathered together, unto Gabaah, knit together as it had been but one man. And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin saying: what wickedness is this that is happened among you. Now therefore deliver us the men, those wicked wretches of Gabaah that we may slay them, and put away evil from Israel.
      Neverthelater the children of Benjamin would not hearken unto the voice of their brethren the children of Israel: but gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gabaah, to come out in battle against the children of Israel. And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time, out of the cities twenty six thousand men that drew swords beside the inhabiters of Gabaah which were numbered seven hundred chosen men. And among all these folk were seven hundred left handed men, which every one could fling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss. And the children of Israel beside the children of Benjamin were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew swords, and all men of war.
      And the children of Israel arose and went up to Bethel, and asked of God, who should begin the battle against the children of Benjamin, and the Lord said Juda shall begin. And the children of Israel stood up early and besieged Gabaah. And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and put themselves in array against them, to fight against Gabaah. And the children of Benjamin came out of Gabaah and destroyed in Israel that day twenty two thousand men, and brought them to the earth.
      And the folk of the children of Israel plucked up their hearts, and went to again and made battle in the same place where they did the first day: but they went first up and wept before the Lord unto evening, and asked of the Lord saying: shall we go again to battle against the children of Benjamin our brethren? And the Lord said: go up unto them and when the children of Israel were come to the children of Benjamin the second day, the children of Beniamin went against them out of Gabaah, the second day, and destroyed to the earth of the children of Israel once again eighteen thousand men that drew swords every man of them.
      Then the children of Israel and all the people went up and came unto Bethel, and wept and sat there before the Lord, and fasted the same day unto evening, and offered burntofferings and peaceofferings before the Lord. And they asked the Lord: for there was the ark of the appointment of God, in those days. And Phinehes the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron waiting upon it at that time: and they said shall we go out any more to battle against the children of Benjamin our brethren, or shall we cease? And the Lord said go: for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hands. And Israel set layers await against Gabaah round about. And the children of Israel went against the children of Beniamin the third time, and put themselves in array against Gabaah, as twice before. Then came the children of Benjamin against the people, till they were drawn a great way from the city. And they began to smite of the people dead ( as twice before, by two high ways of which one goeth up to Bethel and the other to Gabaah through the field ) upon a thirty men of Israel. For the children of Benjamin thought that the other had been beaten before them, as at the first time. But the children of Israel said, let us flee and pluck them away from the city, unto the high ways.
      And then all the men of Israel rose up out of their standing, and put themselves in array at Baal Thamar. And likewise the layers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gabaah, and came before Gabaah: ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and there was sore battle. But the other knew not that evil was so nigh them. And the Lord plagued Benjamin before Israel, so that the children of Israel destroyed in Benjamin the same day twenty five thousand and a hundred men, that drew swords every one of them. It seemed the children of Benjamin, that the other had been put to the worse. For the men of Israel gave *Rome to Benjamin, because they trusted unto the layers in wait which they had laid against Gabaah. And the layers in wait hasted and ran upon Gabaah, and went and smote all the city with the edge of the sword. And the appointment of the men of Israel with the layers in wait to run upon Benjamin with the sword, was when they should make the smoke rise up out of the city. And the men of Israel fled in the battle. And Benjamin began to smite dead of the children of Israel, about a thirty persons, for they supposed that the other had been put to the worse before them, as in the first battle. Then began to arise out of the city, a pillar of smoke. And the Benjamites looked back: and behold the wasting of the whole city began to ascend up to heaven.
      When the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were abashed: for they saw that evil approached them. And they turned before the men of Israel into the way that leadeth to the wilderness, the other following them at the hard heels. And beside that they of the city destroyed them in the middle of them. And they compassed Benjamin about, and chased them to Menuah, and overran them before Gabaah on the east side: and there were slain of Benjamin eighteen thousand, and all men of might. And they turned and fled to the wilderness ward and unto the rock of pomegranates. And the other slew by the way of the rest of them, five thousand men, and sticked unto them until they came to Gadaam, and slew two thousand more of them. So that all that were slain that same day of Benjamin were twenty five thousand men that drew swords, and all men of might: only six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness, unto the *Rock of pomegranates and abode there four months. And then the men of Israel turned back again unto the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword in the cities both man and beast and all that came to hand, and moreover set all the cities they could come by on fire.


*Rome: exactly as recorded; (Yet "room" is given as it is commonly used to give room is to allow, space, consideration.) *Rock: exactly as recorded




The 21st Chapter

      And the men of Israel sware in Mazphah saying: there shall none of us give his daughter unto any of Benjamin to wife. And the people came to Bethel and abode there till evening, before God and lifted up their voices and wept sore and said: O' Lord God of Israel, why is this chanced in Israel, that there should be this day one tribe lacking in Israel? And on the morrow the people rose up be time and made there an altar and offered burntofferings and peaceofferings.
      And the children of Israel asked, who are they among all the tribes of Israel that came not with the congregation unto the Lord? for they had made a great oath concerning them that came not up to the Lord to Mazphah saying that they should surely die. And the children of Israel had pity on Benjamin their brethren, and said: there is one tribe cut off from Israel this day: what shall we do unto the remnant of them, for to get them wives, forasmuch as we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them of our daughters to wives. Then they said, what are they of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mazphah to the Lord. And behold there came none of the inhabiters of Jabes Galaad unto the congregation. And when the people were viewed: behold there were none of the inhabiters of Jabes Galaad there. And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the strongest of them, and commanded them saying: go and smite the inhabiters of Jabes Galaad with the edge of the sword both women and children. And this is that ye shall do: utterly destroy all the males and the women that have lien by men. And they found among the inhabiters of Jabes Galaad four hundred damsels virgins that had known no man by lying with any male. And they brought them unto the host to Siloh which is in the land of Canaan.
      And the whole congregation sent and spake with the children of Benjamin that were in the Rock of pomegranates, and called peaceably unto them, and Benjamin came again at that time, and they gave them the women which they had saved alive of the women of Jabes Galaad. But they so sufficed them not. And the people had compassion on Benjamin, because that God had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. And then the elders of the congregation said: what shall we do to the remnant of them, to get them wives seeing all the wives of Benjamin are destroyed? And they said there must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel: how be it we may not give them wives of our daughters. For the children of Israel had made an adjuration saying: acursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.
       Then they said: behold, there is a feast of the Lord yearly in Siloh which is on the north side of Bethel, and on the east side of the way that goeth from Bethel to Sichem and south from Libanon. And they commanded the children of Benjamin saying: go and lie in wait in the vineyards. And when ye see that the daughters of Siloh come out to dance in a row, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man a wife of the daughters of Siloh, and get you unto the land of Benjamin. And if their fathers or brethren come to us to complain, we will say unto them, have pity on them, because we reserved not to each man his wife in time of war, and thereto because that ye gave them none in due time, ye were to blame.
      And the children of Benjamin did even so: and took them wives according to the number of them of the dancers which they caught. And then they went and returned unto their inheritance, and built there cities and dwelt in them.
      And the children of Israel departed thence at that time and went every man to his tribe, and to his kindred, and went out from thence every man to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel: but every man did what seemed him right.


The end of the book of Judges


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