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Wives for the Benjamites...
And the men of Yisra`el had sworn an oath at Mitspah, saying, `Not one of us shall give his daughter to Binyamin as a wife.`
So the people came to Beyth El, and sat there until evening before Elohim, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly,
and said, 'O YHWH Elohim of Yisra'el, why has this come about in Yisra'el, that today there should be one tribe missing in Yisra'el?'
And it came to be on the morrow, that the people rose early and built an altar there, and brought burnt offerings and peace offerings.
And the children of Yisra'el said, 'Who is there among all the tribes of Yisra'el who did not come up with the assembly to YHWH?' For they had made a great oath concerning anyone who had not come up to YHWH at Mitspah, saying, 'He shall certainly be put to death.'
And the children of Yisra'el were sorry for Binyamin their brother, and said, 'One tribe is cut off from Yisra'el today.
'What do we do for wives for those who remain, seeing we have sworn by YHWH not to give them our daughters as wives?'
And they said, 'Which one of the tribes of Yisra'el did not come up to Mitspah to YHWH?' And see, no one had come to the camp from Yabesh Gil'ad to the assembly.
For when the people called a roll, see, not one of the inhabitants of Yabesh Gil'ad was there.
And the congregation sent out there twelve thousand of their bravest men, and commanded them, saying, 'Go, and you shall smite the inhabitants of Yabesh Gil'ad with the edge of the sword, even the women and children.
'And this is what you do: Put under the ban every male, and every woman who has known a man by lying with him.'
And they found among the inhabitants of Yabesh Gil'ad four hundred young maidens who had not known a man. And they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Kena'an.
Then all the congregation sent, and spoke to the children of Binyamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them.
And Binyamin turned back at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Yabesh Gil'ad. But even so there were not enough for them.
And the people were sorry for Binyamin, because YHWH had made a breach in the tribes of Yisra'el.
And the elders of the congregation said, 'What do we do for wives for those who remain, since the women have been destroyed out of Binyamin?'
And they said, 'There is an inheritance for the survivors of Binyamin, and no tribe is to be destroyed from Yisra'el.
'But we are unable to give them wives from our daughters, for the children of Yisra'el have sworn an oath, saying, 'Cursed be the one who gives a wife to Binyamin.''
So they said, 'See, there is a yearly festival of YHWH in Shiloh, which is north of Beyth El, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Beyth El to Shekem, and south of Lebonah.'
And they commanded the children of Binyamin, saying, 'Go, lie in wait in the vineyards,
'and watch. And see, when the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, then you shall come out from the vineyards, and every man catch a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Binyamin.
'And it shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, that we shall say to them, 'Favour us with them, because we did not take a wife for any of them in battle, neither have you given them to them, making yourselves guilty of your oath.''
And the children of Binyamin did so, and took enough wives for their number from those who danced, whom they caught. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and they rebuilt the cities and dwelt in them.
And the children of Yisra'el went from there at that time, each one to his tribe and clan. And they went from there, each one to his inheritance.
In those days there was no sovereign in Yisra'el - everyone did what was right in his own eyes.