Judges 21

1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter to Benjamin to wife.

2 And the people came to Bethel, and sat there till evening before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept bitterly.

3 And they said, O LORD, the God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?

4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.

5 And the sons of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that did not come up in the assembly to LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him who did not come up to LORD to Mizpah, saying, He shall surely be

6 And the sons of Israel regretted for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.

7 What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since we have sworn by LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?

8 And they said, Which one is there of the tribes of Israel that did not come up to LORD to Mizpah? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly.

9 For when the people were numbered, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.

10 And the congregation sent there twelve thousand men of the most valiant, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones.

11 And this is the thing that ye shall do: Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that has lain by man.

12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known man by laying with him, and they brought them to the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 And the whole congregation sent and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them.

14 And Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead. And even so they were not sufficient for them.

15 And the people regretted for Benjamin, because LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

16 Then the elders of the congregation said, What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?

17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for those who are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not blotted out from Israel.

18 However we may not give them wives of our daughters, for the sons of Israel had sworn, saying, Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin.

19 And they said, Behold, there is a feast of LORD 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.

20 And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, Go and lay in wait in the vineyards,

21 and watch. And, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch for you every man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, that we will say to them, Grant them graciously to us, because we took not for each man [of them] his wife in battle, neither did ye give them to them, e

23 And the sons of Benjamin did so, and took for them wives, 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 dwelt in them.

24 And the sons of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from there every man to his inheritance.

25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.