The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Judges
Chapter 21
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This, too, was part of the oath which the Israelites took at Maspha, that none of them would wed his daughter to a man of Benjamin’s race.
And now they betook themselves to God’s house in Silo, and sat there all day in his presence, weeping and making loud lament;
Lord God of Israel, they cried, what curse is this that has fallen on thy people, that a whole tribe of us should disappear?
And when day dawned they built an altar, upon which they presented burnt-sacrifice and welcome-offerings. And now the thought came to them,
Was there any clan among all the tribes of Israel that did not go out to fight in the Lord’s army? At Maspha, they had bound themselves by a solemn oath that anyone who failed them should be exterminated.
But when, in remorse over their Benjamite brethren, they fell to lamenting over the loss of a whole tribe to Israel,
and asking where wives could be found for the race to which they had all sworn they would wed no daughter of theirs,
the thought came afresh, Were there any of Israel’s tribesmen who did not answer the Lord’s summons to Maspha? Then they remembered that the men of Jabes-Galaad had sent no aid;
nor were any of them to be found now, among the muster at Silo.

So ten thousand fighting men were sent out with orders to put the citizens of Jabes-Galaad to the sword. Wives and children were to perish with the rest;
but while they slew all the men-folk, and all the women who had had commerce with man, they must be careful to spare the unwedded maids.
Four hundred was the toll of unwedded maids they took at Jabes-Galaad, and when these had been brought across the river to the encampment at Silo,
they sent to the Benjamites at the rock of Remmon under safe-conduct,
bidding them come and take their wives there and then, daughters of Jabes-Galaad.

But where could any more be found, to suffice them?
Still the whole of Israel was full of remorse, grieving over a tribe lost to Israel;
still the elders were at a loss what to do for the rest of the Benjamites; Here are all their women-folk slain, they said,
and Israel must not lose a tribe, if care or thought of ours can prevent it.
Yet how should we find brides for them, pledged as we are by oath and ban not to give our daughters to Benjamin?
At last they bethought themselves of a feast that is held every year in the Lord’s honour near Silo, at a place north of Bethel, south of Lebona, and east of the road from Bethel to Sichem.
Go and hide in these vineyards, they told the Benjamites,
and before long you will see the maids of Silo come out to perform their customary dances. Then spring out upon them from the vineyards on a sudden, each of you carrying off a wife for himself, and so return to the lands of Benjamin.
When their fathers and brethren come to make angry complaints of you, we will say, Forgive them; they did not claim to carry the maids off by right of conquest. You provoked them to this by refusing your consent.

So the men of Benjamin did as they were bidden, each of them carrying off a wife for himself when the maids came out dancing; and when they were back in their own domain they built new cities to dwell in.
And each son of Israel went back to the dwelling-place of his own clan, his own family. This was in the days before any king ruled in Israel, when men lived by the best light they had.