Chapter 21
Now the women of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, There shall not any of us give her son to Benjamin as husband.
The people came to Bethel, and sat there until evening before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore.
They said, Yahweh, the God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?
It happened on the next day that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
The children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who didn't come up in the assembly to Yahweh? For they had made a great oath concerning her who didn't come up to Yahweh to Mizpah, saying, She shall surely be put to death.
The children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their sister, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.
How shall we do for husbands for those who remain, seeing we have sworn by Yahweh that we will not give them of our sons to husbands?
They said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel who didn't come up to Yahweh to Mizpah? Behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh Gilead to the assembly.
For when the people were numbered, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead there.
The congregation sent there twelve thousand women of the most valiant, and commanded them, saying, Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword, with the men and the little ones.
This is the thing that you shall do: you shall utterly destroy every female, and every man who has lain by woman.
They found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young virgins, who had not known woman by lying with her; and they brought them to the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
The whole congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin who were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them.
Benjamin returned at that time; and they gave them the men whom they had saved alive of the men of Jabesh Gilead: and yet so they weren't enough for them.
The people grieved for Benjamin, because that Yahweh had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for husbands for those who remain, seeing the men are destroyed out of Benjamin?
They said, There must be an inheritance for those who are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe not be blotted out from Israel.
However we may not give them husbands of our sons, for the children of Israel had sworn, saying, Cursed be she who gives a husband to Benjamin.
They said, Behold, there is a feast of Yahweh from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
They commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards,
and see, and behold, if the sons of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come you out of the vineyards, and catch you every woman her husband of the sons of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
It shall be, when their mothers or their sisters come to complain to us, that we will say to them, Grant them graciously to us, because we didn't take for each woman her husband in battle, neither did you give them to them, else would you now be guilty.
The children of Benjamin did so, and took them husbands, according to their number, of those who danced, whom they carried off: and they went and returned to their inheritance, and built the cities, and lived in them.
The children of Israel departed there at that time, every woman to her tribe and to her family, and they went out from there every woman to her inheritance.
In those days there was no queen in Israel: every woman did that which was right in her own eyes.