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Dommer 20

Benjaminitterne straffes

1Da samledes alle Israels mænd—fra Dan i nord til Beʼersheba i syd og fra Gilead i øst—for Herrens ansigt i Mitzpa. Alle Israels stammeledere mødte op, og alle stammerne mønstrede tilsammen 400.000 bevæbnede krigere. 3-4 (Benjaminitterne hørte, at alle de andre stammer havde forsamlet sig i Mitzpa.)

„Fortæl os nu, hvordan den forbrydelse gik til,” sagde folkets ledere til den myrdede kvindes mand.

„Jeg og min medhustru ankom til Gibea i Benjamins land for at overnatte,” begyndte han. „Om natten omringede nogle af byens mænd huset i den hensigt at slå mig ihjel, og de voldtog min medhustru, indtil hun døde. Derefter skar jeg hendes lig i 12 stykker og sendte stykkerne ud til Israels 12 stammer for at vise, hvilken afskyelig forbrydelse disse israelitter havde begået. Nu må det være op til forsamlingen her at beslutte, hvad der skal gøres.”

8-11 Alle rejste sig, og deres beslutning var enstemmig: „Ingen af os vender hjem, før vi har udført en hævnaktion mod Gibea. Vi vil udtage en tiendedel af hæren til at sørge for forsyningslinierne—og resten af os vil udslette Gibea for den afskyelige forbrydelse, der er begået blandt Israels folk. Hvem der skal være hærens fortrop, vil blive bestemt ved lodkastning.”

12 Så sendte man delegationer ud til hele Benjaminstammens område med følgende besked: „Hvad er det dog for en skamløs handling, der er blevet begået hos jer? 13 Udlever de onde mænd fra Gibea til os, så vi kan henrette dem og på den måde udrydde det onde fra Israels midte.” Men benjaminitterne ville ikke høre på dem. 14-15 I stedet samlede de en hær på 26.000 mand og sendte hæren til Gibea for at hjælpe byens 700 våbenføre mænd imod den israelitiske hær. 16 I hæren var der 700 udvalgte, venstrehåndede skarpskytter, der med deres stenslynger kunne ramme plet hver eneste gang. 17 Over for dem stod de 400.000 krigere fra de øvrige stammer.

18 Før slaget gik israelitterne til Betel for at rådspørge Gud. „Hvilken stamme skal danne fortrop i slaget mod benjaminitterne?” spurgte de. Herren svarede: „Judas stamme skal gå forrest.”

19-20 Tidligt næste morgen drog hæren af sted og slog lejr tæt ved Gibea. Derfra gik de til angreb mod byen, 21 men benjaminitterne stormede ud af byen og dræbte den dag 22.000 israelitter. 22-24 Da gik israelitterne op til Betel og græd for Herrens ansigt indtil aften. „Skal vi fortsætte kampen imod benjaminitterne, som dog er en del af vores eget folk?” spurgte de. Herren svarede: „Ja, gå i kamp imod dem igen!”

Så opmuntrede israelitterne hinanden og gjorde klar til at fortsætte kampen samme sted næste dag. 25 Men denne gang gik det ikke meget bedre, for benjaminitterne dræbte yderligere 18.000 krigere.

26 Da gik hele hæren op til Betel. De græd og fastede indtil aften og bragte brænd- og takofre til Herren. 27-28 På det tidspunkt var Guds Ark flyttet til Betel, og Pinehas, en efterkommer af Arons søn Eleazar, var præst ved helligdommen. Israelitterne spurgte atter Herren: „Skal vi fortsætte kampen imod benjaminitterne?” Herren svarede: „Fortsæt! I morgen vil jeg give jer sejr over dem.”

29 Så lagde en del af israelitterne sig i baghold på markerne rundt om byen. 30 Næste morgen gik den øvrige del af hæren frontalt til angreb mod Gibea som de øvrige dage. 31 Da benjaminitterne nu stormede ud af byen for at gå til modangreb, trak israelitterne sig tilbage i tre retninger og lokkede benjaminitterne væk fra byen. Benjaminitterne forfulgte de israelitiske soldater og huggede 30 af dem ned dels ude på markerne, dels langs vejen mod nordvest til Gibeon[a] og mod nord til Betel. 32 Det fik dem til at tænke: „Vi slår dem også denne gang!” Men israelitternes slagplan gik jo ud på, at deres hær skulle flygte og derved lokke modstanderne bort fra byen. 33 Da deres hovedstyrker nåede Baʼal-Tamar, forskansede de sig og gik til modangreb. I mellemtiden kom de andre frem fra deres baghold og indtog Gibea uden at møde væsentlig modstand. 34 Det drejede sig om 10.000 af israelitternes bedste krigere. Samtidig var der voldsom kamp mellem hovedstyrken og Benjamins hær, der var uvidende om, at det snart var ude med dem. 35 Den dag gav Herren israelitterne sejr over Benjamins hær, der med et tab på 25.100 mand blev næsten totalt udslettet. 36 Da måtte benjaminitterne acceptere, at de var blevet slået.

Bagholdsangrebet og kampens afslutning foregik på følgende måde: Den israelitiske hovedstyrke havde jo trukket sig væk fra benjaminitterne, da de satsede på deres bagholdsstrategi. 37 Den øvrige hærstyrke kom nu frem fra sit baghold, stormede Gibea og huggede indbyggerne ned. 38 Det var aftalt, at de skulle sætte ild til byen, og det gjorde de så. 39 Da israelitternes hovedstyrke så røgen, standsede de flugten og gik til modangreb på benjaminitternes hær. Da benjaminitterne allerede havde hugget 30 israelitiske soldater ned, og hele hæren var flygtet, var de overbeviste om, at sejren var en realitet ligesom de to foregående dage, 40-41 men da de så sig tilbage mod byen fik de et chok, for byen var i brand, og fjenderne kom imod dem både fra syd og nord. 42 Deres eneste udvej var at flygte i retning af ørkenen, men hovedstyrken og krigerne fra bagholdet, som nu havde sluttet sig til dem, satte efter benjaminitterne. 43-44 Et godt stykke øst for Gibea blev de indhentet, og mere end 18.000 af Benjamins krigere blev slået ihjel dér. 45 Resten af hæren flygtede videre mod nord ind i ørkenen i retning af Rimmons klippe, og endnu 5000 mand blev hugget ned undervejs. 2000 mand nåede frem til Gidom, inden de blev dræbt.

46 Den dag mistede Benjamins stamme mere end 25.000 dygtige krigere. 47 De eneste overlevende var 600 mænd, der undslap til Rimmons klippe og gemte sig i ørkenområdets klippehuler. Her levede de i fire måneder.

48 Efter slaget gik israelitterne en runde til hver eneste by i Benjamins land. De dræbte alt levende, både mennesker og husdyr, og derefter brændte de byerne ned til grunden.

Notas al pie

  1. 20,31 På hebraisk ligner de to navne „Gibea” og „Gibeon” hinanden meget. Selvom den hebraiske tekst, vi har adgang til, siger „Gibea”, er det sandsynligt, at originalen har sagt „Gibeon”, da det passer bedre i sammenhængen.

The Message

Judges 20

11-2 Then all the People of Israel came out. The congregation met in the presence of God at Mizpah. They were all there, from Dan to Beersheba, as one person! The leaders of all the people, representing all the tribes of Israel, took their places in the gathering of God’s people. There were four hundred divisions of sword-wielding infantry.

Meanwhile the Benjaminites got wind that the Israelites were meeting at Mizpah.

The People of Israel said, “Now tell us. How did this outrageous evil happen?”

4-7 The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, spoke: “My concubine and I came to spend the night at Gibeah, a Benjaminite town. That night the men of Gibeah came after me. They surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They gang-raped my concubine and she died. So I took my concubine, cut up her body, and sent her piece by piece—twelve pieces!—to every part of Israel’s inheritance. This vile and outrageous crime was committed in Israel! So, Israelites, make up your minds. Decide on some action!”

8-11 All the people were at once and as one person on their feet. “None of us will go home; not a single one of us will go to his own house. Here’s our plan for dealing with Gibeah: We’ll march against it by drawing lots. We’ll take ten of every hundred men from all the tribes of Israel (a hundred of every thousand, and a thousand of every ten thousand) to carry food for the army. When the troops arrive at Gibeah they will settle accounts for this outrageous and vile evil that was done in Israel.” So all the men in Israel were gathered against the city, totally united.

12-13 The Israelite tribes sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin saying, “What’s the meaning of this outrage that took place among you? Surrender the men right here and now, these hell-raisers of Gibeah. We’ll put them to death and burn the evil out of Israel.”

13-16 But they wouldn’t do it. The Benjaminites refused to listen to their brothers, the People of Israel. Instead they raised an army from all their cities and rallied at Gibeah to go to war against the People of Israel. In no time at all they had recruited from their cities twenty-six divisions of sword-wielding infantry. From Gibeah they got seven hundred hand-picked fighters, the best. There were another seven hundred supermarksmen who were ambidextrous—they could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 The men of Israel, excluding Benjamin, mobilized four hundred divisions of sword-wielding fighting men.

18 They set out and went to Bethel to inquire of God. The People of Israel said, “Who of us shall be first to go into battle with the Benjaminites?”

God said, “Judah goes first.”

19-21 The People of Israel got up the next morning and camped before Gibeah. The army of Israel marched out against Benjamin and took up their positions, ready to attack Gibeah. But the Benjaminites poured out of Gibeah and devastated twenty-two Israelite divisions on the ground.

22-23 The Israelites went back to the sanctuary and wept before God until evening. They again inquired of God, “Shall we again go into battle against the Benjaminites, our brothers?”

God said, “Yes. Attack.”

24-25 The army took heart. The men of Israel took up the positions they had deployed on the first day.

On the second day, the Israelites again advanced against Benjamin. This time as the Benjaminites came out of the city, on this second day, they devastated another eighteen Israelite divisions, all swordsmen.

26 All the People of Israel, the whole army, were back at Bethel, weeping, sitting there in the presence of God. That day they fasted until evening. They sacrificed Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings before God.

27-28 And they again inquired of God. The Chest of God’s Covenant was there at that time with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, as the ministering priest. They asked, “Shall we again march into battle against the Benjaminites, our brothers? Or should we call it quits?”

And God said, “Attack. Tomorrow I’ll give you victory.”

29-31 This time Israel placed men in ambush all around Gibeah. On the third day when Israel set out, they took up the same positions before the Benjaminites as before. When the Benjaminites came out to meet the army, they moved out from the city. Benjaminites began to cut down some of the troops just as they had before. About thirty men fell in the field and on the roads to Bethel and Gibeah.

32 The Benjaminites started bragging, “We’re dropping them like flies, just as before!”

33 But the Israelites strategized: “Now let’s retreat and pull them out of the city onto the main roads.” So every Israelite moved farther out to Baal Tamar; at the same time the Israelite ambush rushed from its place west of Gibeah.

34-36 Ten crack divisions from all over Israel now arrived at Gibeah—intense, bloody fighting! The Benjaminites had no idea that they were about to go down in defeat—God routed them before Israel. The Israelites decimated twenty-five divisions of Benjamin that day—25,100 killed. They were all swordsmen. The Benjaminites saw that they were beaten.

The men of Israel acted like they were retreating before Benjamin, knowing that they could depend on the ambush they had prepared for Gibeah.

37-40 The ambush erupted and made quick work of Gibeah. The ambush spread out and massacred the city. The strategy for the main body of the ambush was that they send up a smoke signal from the city. Then the men of Israel would turn in battle. When that happened, Benjamin had killed about thirty Israelites and thought they were on their way to victory, yelling out, “They’re on the run, just as in the first battle!” But then the signal went up from the city—a huge column of smoke. When the Benjaminites looked back, there it was, the whole city going up in smoke.

41-43 By the time the men of Israel had turned back on them, the men of Benjamin fell apart—they could see that they were trapped. Confronted by the Israelites, they tried to get away down the wilderness road, but by now the battle was everywhere. The men of Israel poured out of the towns, killing them right and left, hot on their trail, picking them off east of Gibeah.

44 Eighteen divisions of Benjaminites were wiped out, all their best fighters.

45 Five divisions turned to escape to the wilderness, to Rimmon Rock, but the Israelites caught and slaughtered them on roads.

Keeping the pressure on, the Israelites brought down two more divisions.

46 The total of the Benjaminites killed that day came to twenty-five divisions of infantry, their best swordsmen.

47 Six hundred men got away. They made it to Rimmon Rock in the wilderness and held out there for four months.

48 The men of Israel came back and killed all the Benjaminites who were left, all the men and animals they found in every town, and then torched the towns, sending them up in flames.