0 The end of Judges: Two genocides and 200 stolen virgins


The end of Judges: Two genocides and 200 stolen virgins

God's 58th killing was a God-inspired civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other Israelites. It was God's way of dealing with that messy affair involving the Levite and his concubine.

As you'll recall, God told the Israelites to fight the Benjamites three times. In the first two battles, the Israelites were defeated and 40,000 of their soldiers were killed. But the third time "God smote Benjamin," killing 25,100 of them. But 600 Benjamites survived.

But six hundred [Benjamite] men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months. Judges 20:47

After the battle, the Israelites killed everything (human and animal) in every Benjamite village, town, and city and then burned everything to the ground.

The men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to. 20:48

Then they remembered the 600 surviving Benjamite soldiers.

Where the heck were these guys going to find wives? The non-Benjamites killed all the Benjamite women (58) and swore to God that none of them would "give" their daughters to any Benjamite.

Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. 21:1

Then they thought of a great solution. They'd check the records of the Mizpeh meeting and see who didn't show up when they got a body part in the mail.

They said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly. 21:8

It turned out that Jabeshgilead was absent. So they sent 12,000 soldiers to Jabeshgilead to kill everyone in town except for the virgin women. That produced 400 virgins, which they delivered to the Benjamite survivors at the rock Rimmon.

The congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children ... And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male ... and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead. 21:10-14

But darn! There were 600 Benjamites, so they were still 200 virgins short. Where were they going to find 200 more virgins?

Well, someone heard about this dancing festival that they had at Shiloh each year. So they told the remaining 200 Benjamite men without virgins to hide in the bushes and catch the Shiloh girls when they came out to dance.

Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards ... And ... if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh ... And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught. 21:20-23

So each of the 600 surviving Benjamite soldiers got a virgin and everything worked out according to God's plan.

Copyright © 1999-2024
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible

Send comments to Steve Wells
at swwells(at)gmail.com