1Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, “None of us will give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife.”
2And the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept—a great weeping!
3And they said, “O Yahweh, the God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that today there should be one tribe counted missing from Israel?”
4And on the next day the people rose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
5And the children of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up with the assembly to Yahweh?” For they had made a great oath against anyone who did not come up to Yahweh to Mizpah, saying, “He will be put to death, yes, death.”
6The children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their brother and said, “Today one tribe is cut off from Israel!
7How can we provide wives for those who remain, since we have sworn by Yahweh not to give them our daughters as wives?”
8Then they said, “Which one is there of the tribes of Israel who did not come up to Yahweh to Mizpah?” And behold, no one had come from Jabesh-gilead to the camp, to the assembly.
9For when the people were counted, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.
10So the congregation sent there 12,000 of the most valiant men, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the mouth of the sword, along with the women and the little ones.
11This is the thing that you are to do. You are to devote to destruction every male, and every woman who has lain with a man.”
12And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known a man by lying with him, and they brought them to the camp, to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
13And the whole congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin who were in the Rock of Rimmon and called out to them, “Peace!”
14So Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead. But even so, they did not find enough for them.
15The people grieved for Benjamin, because Yahweh had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
16Then the elders of the congregation said, “How can we provide wives for those who remain, since the women have been destroyed from Benjamin?”
17And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors from Benjamin, so that a tribe is not wiped out from Israel.
18However, we may not give them wives from our daughters” (for the children of Israel had sworn, saying, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin”)
19so they said, “Behold, there is a feast of Yahweh from year to year in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem and on the south of Lebonah.”
20They commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards
21and keep watch. And behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then you are to go out of the vineyards and seize for yourselves, each one, his wife from the daughters of Shiloh and go back to the land of Benjamin.
22And when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Be gracious to them, because we did not get a wife for each man in the battle. And you did not give your daughters to them, otherwise you would now be guilty.’”
23And the children of Benjamin did so, and took wives, according to their number, of those who danced, whom they carried off. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, rebuilt the cities, and lived in them.
24And the children 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.
25In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did what was right in his own eyes.