The people bewail the desolation of Benjamin.
Judges 21:1 And the men of Israel sware in Mazphah sayinge: there shall none of vs geue his doughter vnto any of Beniamin to wife. Judges 21:2 And the people came to Bethel and abode there till euen, before God & lifte vp their voyces and wept sore Judges 21:3 and sayd: O Lord God of Israel, why is this chaunsed in Israell that there shoulde be this daye one tribe lacking in Israel? Judges 21:4 And on the morow þe people rose vp by tyme, and made there an altare, and offered burntofferinges and peace offeringes. Judges 21:5 And the children of Israel asked, who are they among all the tribes of Israel that came not with the congregacion vnto the Lorde? for they had made a greate othe concerninge them that came not vp to the Lorde to Mazphah saying: that they should surely dye. Judges 21:6 And the children of Israel had pytie on Beniamin their brethren, and sayd: there is one tribe cut of from Israel this daye: Judges 21:7 what shal we do vnto the remnaunt of them, for to get them wyues, for as muche as we haue sworne by the Lorde, that we wyll not geue them of oure doughters to wyues,
By the destruction of Jabesh-gilead they provide them four hundred wives.
Judges 21:8 Then they sayde, what are they of the trybes of Israel, that came not vp to Mazphah to the Lorde. Judges 21:9 And beholde there came none of the enhabitoures of Iabes Galaad vnto the congregacion. And when the people were vewed: beholde there were none of þe enhabiters of Iabes Galaad there. Judges 21:10 And the congregacion sente thether .xij. thousand men of the strongest of them, and commaunded them saying: go and smyte the enhabiters of Iabes Galaad with the edge of the swerde both wemen & children. Judges 21:11 And this is that ye shal do: vtterlie destroye al the males & al the wemen that haue lyen by men. Judges 21:12 And they founde among the enhabiters of Iabes Galaad foure hundred damoselles vyrgynis, that had knowen no man by lying with any male. And they broughte them vnto the host to Siloh, which is in the land of Canaan. Judges 21:13 And the hole congregacion sente and spake with the children of Beniamin, that were in the Rocke of pomgarnettes, and called paceablye vnto them, Judges 21:14 and Beniamin came agayne at that tyme, and they gaue them the wemen which they had saued a lyue of the wemen of Iabes Galaad. But they so suffised them not. Judges 21:15 And the people had compassion on Beniamin because that God had made a gappe in the tribes of Israel.
They advise them to surprise the virgins that danced at Shiloh.
Judges 21:16 And then the elders of the congregacion sayde: what shal we do to the remnaunt of them, to get them wiues seing al the wiues 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 destroied out of Israel: Judges 21:18 how be it we may not geue them wiues of oure doughters. For the children of Israel had made an adiuracion saying: cursed be he that geueth a wyfe to Beniamin. Judges 21:19 Then they sayde: beholde there is a feaste of the Lorde yerlye in Siloh, which is on the northsyde of Bethell, and on the east syde of the way that goeth from Bethel to Sichem, and south from Libanon. Judges 21:20 And they commaunded the children of Beniamin saying: go and lye in wayte in the vyneyardes. Judges 21:21 And when ye se that the doughters of Siloh come oute to daunce in a rowe, then come ye oute of the vyneyardes, and catche you euerye man a wyfe of the doughters of Siloh, & get you vnto the lande of Beniamin. Judges 21:22 And yf theyr fathers or brethren come vnto vs to complaine, we wyl saye vnto them: haue pytye on them, because we reserued not to eche man his wife in time of warre, and therto because that ye gaue them none in due tyme, ye were to blame. Judges 21:23 And the children of Beniamin dyd euen so: and toke them wyues accordynge to the numbre of them of the dauncers, whyche they caught. And then they went and returned vnto their enheritaunce, and buylt there cytyes and dwelt in them. Judges 21:24 And the chyldren of Israell departed thence at that tyme and wente euerye man to hys trybe, and to his kynred, and went out from thence euery man to hys enheritaunce. Judges 21:25 In those dayes there was no kyng in Israel: but euerye man dyd what semed hym ryght.