Judges - Chapter 20
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5 'The men of Gibeah ganged up against me and, during the night, surrounded the house where I was lodging. They intended to murder me. They raped my concubine to death.
7 Now, all you Israelites, discuss the matter and give your decision here and now.'
10 and, throughout the tribes of Israel, select ten men out of a hundred, a hundred out of a thousand and a thousand out of ten thousand to collect food for the people, so that, on their arrival, the latter may treat Gibeah in Benjamin as this infamy perpetrated in Israel deserves.'
12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin to say, 'What is this crime which has been committed in your territory?
13 Now, give up these men, these scoundrels, living in Gibeah, so that we can put them to death and wipe out this evil from Israel.' The Benjaminites, however, would not listen to their brother Israelites.
16 In this great army there were seven hundred first-rate left-handers, every man of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss it.
19 In the morning, the Israelites moved off and pitched their camp over against Gibeah.
23 The Israelites went and wept before Yahweh until evening; they then consulted Yahweh; they asked, 'Shall we join battle again with the sons of our brother Benjamin?' Yahweh replied, 'March against him!'
24 This second day, the Israelites advanced against the Benjaminites,
25 and, this second day, Benjamin sallied out from Gibeah to meet them and massacred another eighteen thousand Israelites, all experienced swordsmen.
26 Then all the Israelites and the whole people went off to Bethel; they wept and sat in Yahweh's presence; they fasted all day till the evening and presented burnt offerings and communion sacrifices before Yahweh.
28 and Phinehas son of Eleazer, son of Aaron was its minister at the time. They said, 'Ought I to go into battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin again, or should I stop?' Yahweh replied, 'March! For tomorrow I shall deliver him into your hands.'
30 On the third day the Israelites marched against the Benjaminites and, as before, drew up their line in front of Gibeah.
31 The Benjaminites sallied out to engage the people and let themselves be drawn away from the town. As before, they began by killing those of the people who were on the roads, one of which runs up to Bethel, and the other to Gibeah through open country: some thirty men of Israel.
32 The Benjaminites thought, 'We have beaten them, as we did the first time,' but the Israelites had decided, 'We shall run away and draw them away from the town along the roads.'
33 All the Israelites then retreated and reformed at Baal-Tamar, while the Israelite troops in ambush surged from their positions to the west of Gibeah.
36 The Benjaminites saw that they were beaten. The Israelites had given ground to Benjamin, since they were relying on the ambush which they had positioned close to Gibeah.
38 Now it had been agreed between the Israelites and those of the ambush that the latter should raise a smoke signal from the town,
39 whereupon the Israelites in the thick of the battle would turn about. Benjamin began by killing some of the Israelites, about thirty men, and thought, 'We have certainly beaten them, as we did in the first battle.'
40 But the signal, a column of smoke, began to rise from the town, and the Benjaminites looking back saw the whole town going up in flames to the sky.
41 The Israelites then turned about, and the Benjaminites were seized with terror, for they saw that disaster had struck them.
45 They then turned tail and fled into the desert, towards the Rock of Rimmon. Five thousand of them were picked off on the roads, and the rest were relentlessly pursued as far as Gideon, two thousand of them being killed.
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Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
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