The people bewail the desolation of Benjamin.
Judges 21:1 And euery man of Israel sware in Mizpa, sayinge: there shall none of vs geue hys daughter vnto any of BenIamin to wyfe. Judges 21:2 And the people came to Bethell & abode there tyll euen before God, & lyfte vp theyr voyces and wept sore, Judges 21:3 and sayde. O Lorde God of Israel, why is thys chaunced in Israel, that there shulde be thys daye one trybe lackynge in Israell? Judges 21:4 And on the morow the people rose vp by tyme, and made there an altare, and offered burntofferinges and peaceofferynges. Judges 21:5 And the chyldren of Israell asked, who are they amonge all the tribes of Israel, that came not vp with the congregacyon vnto þe Lorde? for they had made a greate othe concernynge him that came not vp to the Lord to Mizpa, sayinge: he shall suerlye dye. Judges 21:6 And the chyldren of Israell had pytie on BenIamin theyr brethren, and sayde: there is one trybe cut of from Israell thys daye: Judges 21:7 what shall we do vnto the remnaunt of them, that they maye haue wyues? we haue sworne by the Lorde, that we will not geue them of oure daughters to wyues.
By the destruction of Jabesh-gilead they provide them four hundred wives.
Judges 21:8 And they sayde: Is there any of the trybes of Israel, that came not vp to Mizpa to the Lorde? Judges 21:9 And beholde, ther came none of the enhabitoures of Iabes Gilead vnto the hoost and congregacyon. For the people were vewed: and beholde, there were none of the enhabiters of Iabes Gilead there. Judges 21:10 And they sent thether a multitude, euen .xij. thousande men of the strongest of them, and commaunded them, sayinge: go and smyte the enhabiters of Iabes Gilead with the edge of þe swerde, both wemen and chyldren. Judges 21:11 And this is it that ye shall do: vtterlye destroye all the males and all the wemen that haue lyen by men. Judges 21:12 And they founde amonge þe in habiters of Iabes Gilead foure hundred damoselles, virgines, that had knowen no man, by lyeng with any male. And they brought them vnto the host to Silo, which is in the lande of Canaan. Judges 21:13 And the hole congregacion sent and spake with the chyldren of BenIamin that were in the Rocke of Rymmon, and called peceablye vnto them: Judges 21:14 and BenIamin came agayne at that tyme, and they gaue them wyues, which they had saued alyue of the wemen of Iabes Gilead. But they suffysed them not. Judges 21:15 And the people had compassyon on BenIamin, because that God had made a gappe in the trybes of Israel.
They advise them to surprise the virgins that danced at Shiloh.
Judges 21:16 And then the elders of the congregacyon, sayde: what shall we do to the remnaunt of them, to get them wyues, seinge all the wyues of BenIamin are destroyed? Judges 21:17 And they sayde: there must be an enheritaunce for them that be escaped of BenIamin, that a trybe be not destroyed out of Israell: Judges 21:18 howbeit, we maye not geue them wyues of oure daughters. For the chyldren of Israell had sworne, sayinge: curssed be he, that geueth a wyffe to BenIamin. Judges 21:19 Then they sayde: beholde, there is a feast of the Lord yearly in Sylo, which is on the northsyde of Bethel, and on the east syde of the waye that goeth from Bethel to Sichen and south from Libanon. Judges 21:20 Therfore they commaunded the chyldren of BenIamin, saying: go and lye in wayte in the vynyardes. Judges 21:21 And when ye se that the daughters of Silo come out to daunce in a rowe, then come ye out of the vyneyardes, and catch you euerye man a wyfe of the daughters of BenIamin. Judges 21:22 And whan theyr fathers or brethren come vnto vs to complayne, we wyll saye vnto them: haue pytie on vs for theyr sakes, because we reserued not to eche man his wyfe in tyme of warre, Neither haue ye geuen vnto them, that ye shulde synne at this tyme. Judges 21:23 And the chyldren of BenIamin dy euen so: and toke them wyues accordynge to the nombre of them that daunced, whom they caught. And they went, and returned vnto theyr enheritaunce, and repayred the cyties, and dwelt in them. Judges 21:24 And the chyldren of Israell departed thence at that tyme, and went euery man to hys trybe, and to hys kynred, and went out from thence euery man to hys enheritaunce. Judges 21:25 In those dayes there, was no kynge in Israel: but euery man dyd þt which semed ryght in his awne eyes.