Judges 20
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1  Thereupon all the Israelites—from Dan to Be’er Sheva and [from] the land of Gilad—marched forth, and the community assembled to a man before Hashem at Mitzpa.

va-yay-tz’-U kol b’-NAY yis-ra-AYL va-ti-ka-HAYL ha-ay-DAH k’-EESH e-KHAD l’-mi-DAN v’-ad b’-AYR SHE-va v’-E-retz ha-gil-AD el a-do-NAI ha-mitz-PAH

א  וַיֵּצְאוּ כָּל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַתִּקָּהֵל הָעֵדָה כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד לְמִדָּן וְעַד־בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע וְאֶרֶץ הַגִּלְעָד אֶל־יְהֹוָה הַמִּצְפָּה׃

 20:1  From Dan to Be’er Sheva

Be’er Sheva, mentioned in this verse as the southern boundary of Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisrael, was a vital city in biblical times. Be’er Sheva is one of the primary places where Avraham lives and digs a well, be’er (באר) in Hebrew. Yitzchak builds an altar there, and Yaakov passes through on the way to Beit El and later stops to bring sacrifices there on his way down to Egypt. In contemporary Israel, Be’er Sheva is known as “the capital of the Negev Desert.” It is a thriving, multicultural city with a population including many Jews from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union, a major hospital and a large university. The city is one of the many ancient cities in the Land of Israel that the Children of Israel have revived and developed.

Comment

2  All the leaders of the people [and] all the tribes of Yisrael presented themselves in the assembly of Hashem‘s people, 400,000 fighting men on foot.

ב  וַיִּתְיַצְּבוּ פִּנּוֹת כָּל־הָעָם כֹּל שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְהַל עַם הָאֱלֹהִים אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף אִישׁ רַגְלִי שֹׁלֵף חָרֶב׃

3  The Benjaminites heard that the Israelites had come up to Mitzpa.—The Israelites said, “Tell us, how did this evil thing happen?”

ג  וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן כִּי־עָלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמִּצְפָּה וַיֹּאמְרוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל דַּבְּרוּ אֵיכָה נִהְיְתָה הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת׃

4  And the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, replied, “My concubine and I came to Giva of Binyamin to spend the night.

ד  וַיַּעַן הָאִישׁ הַלֵּוִי אִישׁ הָאִשָּׁה הַנִּרְצָחָה וַיֹּאמַר הַגִּבְעָתָה אֲשֶׁר לְבִנְיָמִן בָּאתִי אֲנִי וּפִילַגְשִׁי לָלוּן׃

5  The citizens of Giva set out to harm me. They gathered against me around the house in the night; they meant to kill me, and they ravished my concubine until she died.

ה  וַיָּקֻמוּ עָלַי בַּעֲלֵי הַגִּבְעָה וַיָּסֹבּוּ עָלַי אֶת־הַבַּיִת לָיְלָה אוֹתִי דִּמּוּ לַהֲרֹג וְאֶת־פִּילַגְשִׁי עִנּוּ וַתָּמֹת׃

6  So I took hold of my concubine and I cut her in pieces and sent them through every part of Yisrael‘s territory. For an outrageous act of depravity had been committed in Yisrael.

ו  וָאֹחֵז בְּפִילַגְשִׁי וָאֲנַתְּחֶהָ וָאֲשַׁלְּחֶהָ בְּכָל־שְׂדֵה נַחֲלַת יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי עָשׂוּ זִמָּה וּנְבָלָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

7  Now you are all Israelites; produce a plan of action here and now!”

ז  הִנֵּה כֻלְּכֶם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָבוּ לָכֶם דָּבָר וְעֵצָה הֲלֹם׃

8  Then all the people rose, as one man, and declared, “We will not go back to our homes, we will not enter our houses!

ח  וַיָּקָם כָּל־הָעָם כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד לֵאמֹר לֹא נֵלֵךְ אִישׁ לְאָהֳלוֹ וְלֹא נָסוּר אִישׁ לְבֵיתוֹ׃

9  But this is what we will do to Giva: [we will wage war] against it according to lot.

ט  וְעַתָּה זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשֶׂה לַגִּבְעָה עָלֶיהָ בְּגוֹרָל׃

10  We will take from all the tribes of Yisrael ten men to the hundred, a hundred to the thousand, and a thousand to the ten thousand to supply provisions for the troops—to prepare for their going to Geba in Binyamin for all the outrage it has committed in Yisrael.”

י  וְלָקַחְנוּ עֲשָׂרָה אֲנָשִׁים לַמֵּאָה לְכֹל שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמֵאָה לָאֶלֶף וְאֶלֶף לָרְבָבָה לָקַחַת צֵדָה לָעָם לַעֲשׂוֹת לְבוֹאָם לְגֶבַע בִּנְיָמִן כְּכָל־הַנְּבָלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

11  So all the men of Yisrael, united as one man, massed against the town.

יא  וַיֵּאָסֵף כָּל־אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־הָעִיר כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד חֲבֵרִים׃

12  And the tribes of Yisrael sent men through the whole tribe of Binyamin, saying, “What is this evil thing that has happened among you?

יב  וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנָשִׁים בְּכָל־שִׁבְטֵי בִנְיָמִן לֵאמֹר מָה הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר נִהְיְתָה בָּכֶם׃

13  Come, hand over those scoundrels in Giva so that we may put them to death and stamp out the evil from Yisrael.” But the Benjaminites would not yield to the demand of their fellow Israelites.

יג  וְעַתָּה תְּנוּ אֶת־הָאֲנָשִׁים בְּנֵי־בְלִיַּעַל אֲשֶׁר בַּגִּבְעָה וּנְמִיתֵם וּנְבַעֲרָה רָעָה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא אָבוּ [בְּנֵי] בִּנְיָמִן לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל אֲחֵיהֶם בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

14  So the Benjaminites gathered from their towns to Giva in order to take the field against the Israelites.

יד  וַיֵּאָסְפוּ בְנֵי־בִנְיָמִן מִן־הֶעָרִים הַגִּבְעָתָה לָצֵאת לַמִּלְחָמָה עִם־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

15  On that day the Benjaminites mustered from the towns 26,000 fighting men, mustered apart from the inhabitants of Giva; 700 picked men

טו  וַיִּתְפָּקְדוּ בְנֵי בִנְיָמִן בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא מֵהֶעָרִים עֶשְׂרִים וְשִׁשָּׁה אֶלֶף אִישׁ שֹׁלֵף חָרֶב לְבַד מִיֹּשְׁבֵי הַגִּבְעָה הִתְפָּקְדוּ שְׁבַע מֵאוֹת אִישׁ בָּחוּר׃

16  of all this force—700 picked men—were left-handed. Every one of them could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

טז  מִכֹּל הָעָם הַזֶּה שְׁבַע מֵאוֹת אִישׁ בָּחוּר אִטֵּר יַד־יְמִינוֹ כָּל־זֶה קֹלֵעַ בָּאֶבֶן אֶל־הַשַּׂעֲרָה וְלֹא יַחֲטִא׃

17  The men of Yisrael other than Binyamin mustered 400,000 fighting men, warriors to a man.

יז  וְאִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל הִתְפָּקְדוּ לְבַד מִבִּנְיָמִן אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף אִישׁ שֹׁלֵף חָרֶב כָּל־זֶה אִישׁ מִלְחָמָה׃

18  They proceeded to Beit El and inquired of Hashem; the Israelites asked, “Who of us shall advance first to fight the Benjaminites?” And Hashem replied, “Yehuda first.”

יח  וַיָּקֻמוּ וַיַּעֲלוּ בֵית־אֵל וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ בֵאלֹהִים וַיֹּאמְרוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִי יַעֲלֶה־לָּנוּ בַתְּחִלָּה לַמִּלְחָמָה עִם־בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה יְהוּדָה בַתְּחִלָּה׃

19  So the Israelites arose in the morning and encamped against Giva.

יט  וַיָּקוּמוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּבֹּקֶר וַיַּחֲנוּ עַל־הַגִּבְעָה׃

20  The men of Yisrael took the field against the Benjaminites; the men of Yisrael drew up in battle order against them at Giva.

כ  וַיֵּצֵא אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל לַמִּלְחָמָה עִם־בִּנְיָמִן וַיַּעַרְכוּ אִתָּם אִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִלְחָמָה אֶל־הַגִּבְעָה׃

21  But the Benjaminites issued from Giva, and that day they struck down 22,000 men of Yisrael.

כא  וַיֵּצְאוּ בְנֵי־בִנְיָמִן מִן־הַגִּבְעָה וַיַּשְׁחִיתוּ בְיִשְׂרָאֵל בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא שְׁנַיִם וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף אִישׁ אָרְצָה׃

22  Now the army—the men of Yisrael—rallied and again drew up in battle order at the same place as they had on the first day.

כב  וַיִּתְחַזֵּק הָעָם אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֹּסִפוּ לַעֲרֹךְ מִלְחָמָה בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־עָרְכוּ שָׁם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן׃

23  For the Israelites had gone up and wept before Hashem until evening. They had inquired of Hashem, “Shall we again join battle with our kinsmen the Benjaminites?” And Hashem had replied, “March against them.”

כג  וַיַּעֲלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּבְכּוּ לִפְנֵי־יְהֹוָה עַד־הָעֶרֶב וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ בַיהֹוָה לֵאמֹר הַאוֹסִיף לָגֶשֶׁת לַמִּלְחָמָה עִם־בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן אָחִי וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה עֲלוּ אֵלָיו׃

24  The Israelites advanced against the Binyaminites on the second day.

כד  וַיִּקְרְבוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן בַּיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי׃

25  But the Benjaminites came out from Giva against them on the second day and struck down 18,000 more of the Israelites, all of them fighting men.

כה  וַיֵּצֵא בִנְיָמִן לִקְרָאתָם מִן־הַגִּבְעָה בַּיּוֹם הַשֵּׁנִי וַיַּשְׁחִיתוּ בִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד שְׁמֹנַת עָשָׂר אֶלֶף אִישׁ אָרְצָה כָּל־אֵלֶּה שֹׁלְפֵי חָרֶב׃

26  Then all the Israelites, all the army, went up and came to Beit El and they sat there, weeping before Hashem. They fasted that day until evening, and presented burnt offerings and offerings of well-being to Hashem.

כו  וַיַּעֲלוּ כָל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכָל־הָעָם וַיָּבֹאוּ בֵית־אֵל וַיִּבְכּוּ וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה וַיָּצוּמוּ בַיּוֹם־הַהוּא עַד־הָעָרֶב וַיַּעֲלוּ עֹלוֹת וּשְׁלָמִים לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה׃

27  The Israelites inquired of Hashem (for the Aron Brit Hashem was there in those days,

כז  וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּיהֹוָה וְשָׁם אֲרוֹן בְּרִית הָאֱלֹהִים בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם׃

28  and Pinchas son of Elazar son of Aharon the Kohen ministered before Him in those days), “Shall we again take the field against our kinsmen the Benjaminites, or shall we not?” Hashem answered, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hands.”

כח  וּפִינְחָס בֶּן־אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן־אַהֲרֹן עֹמֵד לְפָנָיו בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם לֵאמֹר הַאוֹסִף עוֹד לָצֵאת לַמִּלְחָמָה עִם־בְּנֵי־בִנְיָמִן אָחִי אִם־אֶחְדָּל וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה עֲלוּ כִּי מָחָר אֶתְּנֶנּוּ בְיָדֶךָ׃

29  Yisrael put men in ambush against Giva on all sides.

כט  וַיָּשֶׂם יִשְׂרָאֵל אֹרְבִים אֶל־הַגִּבְעָה סָבִיב׃

30  And on the third day, the Israelites went up against the Benjaminites, as before, and engaged them in battle at Giva.

ל  וַיַּעֲלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וַיַּעַרְכוּ אֶל־הַגִּבְעָה כְּפַעַם בְּפָעַם׃

31  The Benjaminites dashed out to meet the army and were drawn away from the town onto the roads, of which one runs to Beit El and the other to Giva. As before, they started out by striking some of the men dead in the open field, about 30 men of Yisrael.

לא  וַיֵּצְאוּ בְנֵי־בִנְיָמִן לִקְרַאת הָעָם הָנְתְּקוּ מִן־הָעִיר וַיָּחֵלּוּ לְהַכּוֹת מֵהָעָם חֲלָלִים כְּפַעַם בְּפַעַם בַּמְסִלּוֹת אֲשֶׁר אַחַת עֹלָה בֵית־אֵל וְאַחַת גִּבְעָתָה בַּשָּׂדֶה כִּשְׁלֹשִׁים אִישׁ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

32  The Benjaminites thought, “They are being routed before us as previously.” But the Israelites had planned: “We will take to flight and draw them away from the town to the roads.”

לב  וַיֹּאמְרוּ בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן נִגָּפִים הֵם לְפָנֵינוּ כְּבָרִאשֹׁנָה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָמְרוּ נָנוּסָה וּנְתַקְּנֻהוּ מִן־הָעִיר אֶל־הַמְסִלּוֹת׃

33  And while the main body of the Israelites had moved away from their positions and had drawn up in battle order at Baal-tamar, the Israelite ambush was rushing out from its position at Maareh-geba.

לג  וְכֹל אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל קָמוּ מִמְּקוֹמוֹ וַיַּעַרְכוּ בְּבַעַל תָּמָר וְאֹרֵב יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵגִיחַ מִמְּקֹמוֹ מִמַּעֲרֵה־גָבַע׃

34  Thus 10,000 picked men of all Yisrael came to a point south of Giva, and the battle was furious. Before they realized that disaster was approaching,

לד  וַיָּבֹאוּ מִנֶּגֶד לַגִּבְעָה עֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ בָּחוּר מִכָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַמִּלְחָמָה כָּבֵדָה וְהֵם לֹא יָדְעוּ כִּי־נֹגַעַת עֲלֵיהֶם הָרָעָה׃

35  Hashem routed the Benjaminites before Yisrael. That day the Israelites slew 25,100 men of Binyamin, all of them fighting men.

לה  וַיִּגֹּף יְהֹוָה אֶת־בִּנְיָמִן לִפְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּשְׁחִיתוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּבִנְיָמִן בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה אֶלֶף וּמֵאָה אִישׁ כָּל־אֵלֶּה שֹׁלֵף חָרֶב׃

36  Then the Benjaminites realized that they were routed. Now the Israelites had yielded ground to the Benjaminites, for they relied on the ambush which they had laid against Giva.

לו  וַיִּרְאוּ בְנֵי־בִנְיָמִן כִּי נִגָּפוּ וַיִּתְּנוּ אִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל מָקוֹם לְבִנְיָמִן כִּי בָטְחוּ אֶל־הָאֹרֵב אֲשֶׁר שָׂמוּ אֶל־הַגִּבְעָה׃

37  One ambush quickly deployed against Giva, and the other ambush advanced and put the whole town to the sword.

לז  וְהָאֹרֵב הֵחִישׁוּ וַיִּפְשְׁטוּ אֶל־הַגִּבְעָה וַיִּמְשֹׁךְ הָאֹרֵב וַיַּךְ אֶת־כָּל־הָעִיר לְפִי־חָרֶב׃

38  A time had been agreed upon by the Israelite men with those in ambush: When a huge column of smoke was sent up from the town,

לח  וְהַמּוֹעֵד הָיָה לְאִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל עִם־הָאֹרֵב הֶרֶב לְהַעֲלוֹתָם מַשְׂאַת הֶעָשָׁן מִן־הָעִיר׃

39  the Israelite men were to turn about in battle. Binyamin had begun by striking dead about 30 Israelite men, and they thought, “They are being routed before us as in the previous fighting.”

לט  וַיַּהֲפֹךְ אִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמִּלְחָמָה וּבִנְיָמִן הֵחֵל לְהַכּוֹת חֲלָלִים בְּאִישׁ־יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּשְׁלֹשִׁים אִישׁ כִּי אָמְרוּ אַךְ נִגּוֹף נִגָּף הוּא לְפָנֵינוּ כַּמִּלְחָמָה הָרִאשֹׁנָה׃

40  But when the column, the pillar of smoke, began to rise from the city, the Benjaminites looked behind them, and there was the whole town going up in smoke to the sky!

מ  וְהַמַּשְׂאֵת הֵחֵלָּה לַעֲלוֹת מִן־הָעִיר עַמּוּד עָשָׁן וַיִּפֶן בִּנְיָמִן אַחֲרָיו וְהִנֵּה עָלָה כְלִיל־הָעִיר הַשָּׁמָיְמָה׃

41  And now the Israelites turned about, and the men of Binyamin were thrown into panic, for they realized that disaster had overtaken them.

מא  וְאִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל הָפַךְ וַיִּבָּהֵל אִישׁ בִּנְיָמִן כִּי רָאָה כִּי־נָגְעָה עָלָיו הָרָעָה׃

42  They retreated before the men of Yisrael along the road to the wilderness, where the fighting caught up with them; meanwhile those from the towns were massacring them in it.

מב  וַיִּפְנוּ לִפְנֵי אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־דֶּרֶךְ הַמִּדְבָּר וְהַמִּלְחָמָה הִדְבִּיקָתְהוּ וַאֲשֶׁר מֵהֶעָרִים מַשְׁחִיתִים אוֹתוֹ בְּתוֹכוֹ׃

43  They encircled the Benjaminites, pursued them, and trod them down [from] Menuhah to a point opposite Giva on the east.

מג  כִּתְּרוּ אֶת־בִּנְיָמִן הִרְדִיפֻהוּ מְנוּחָה הִדְרִיכֻהוּ עַד נֹכַח הַגִּבְעָה מִמִּזְרַח־שָׁמֶשׁ׃

44  That day 18,000 men of Binyamin fell, all of them brave men.

מד  וַיִּפְּלוּ מִבִּנְיָמִן שְׁמֹנָה־עָשָׂר אֶלֶף אִישׁ אֶת־כָּל־אֵלֶּה אַנְשֵׁי־חָיִל׃

45  They turned and fled to the wilderness, to the Rock of Rimmon; but [the Israelites] picked off another 5,000 on the roads and, continuing in hot pursuit of them up to Gidom, they slew 2,000 more.

מה  וַיִּפְנוּ וַיָּנֻסוּ הַמִּדְבָּרָה אֶל־סֶלַע הָרִמּוֹן וַיְעֹלְלֻהוּ בַּמְסִלּוֹת חֲמֵשֶׁת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ וַיַּדְבִּיקוּ אַחֲרָיו עַד־גִּדְעֹם וַיַּכּוּ מִמֶּנּוּ אַלְפַּיִם אִישׁ׃

46  Thus the total number of Benjaminites who fell that day came to 25,000 fighting men, all of them brave.

מו  וַיְהִי כָל־הַנֹּפְלִים מִבִּנְיָמִן עֶשְׂרִים וַחֲמִשָּׁה אֶלֶף אִישׁ שֹׁלֵף חֶרֶב בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אֶת־כָּל־אֵלֶּה אַנְשֵׁי־חָיִל׃

47  But 600 men turned and fled to the wilderness, to the Rock of Rimmon; they remained at the Rock of Rimmon four months.

מז  וַיִּפְנוּ וַיָּנֻסוּ הַמִּדְבָּרָה אֶל־סֶלַע הָרִמּוֹן שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אִישׁ וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בְּסֶלַע רִמּוֹן אַרְבָּעָה חֳדָשִׁים׃

48  The men of Yisrael, meanwhile, turned back to the rest of the Benjaminites and put them to the sword—towns, people, cattle—everything that remained. Finally, they set fire to all the towns that were left.

מח  וְאִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל שָׁבוּ אֶל־בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן וַיַּכּוּם לְפִי־חֶרֶב מֵעִיר מְתֹם עַד־בְּהֵמָה עַד כָּל־הַנִּמְצָא גַּם כָּל־הֶעָרִים הַנִּמְצָאוֹת שִׁלְּחוּ בָאֵשׁ׃

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