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Judges 20:29-41

Context

20:29 So Israel hid men in ambush outside Gibeah. 20:30 The Israelites attacked the Benjaminites the next day; 1  they took their positions against Gibeah just as they had done before. 20:31 The Benjaminites attacked 2  the army, leaving the city unguarded. 3  They began to strike down their enemy 4  just as they had done before. On the main roads (one leads to Bethel, 5  the other to Gibeah) and in the field, they struck down 6  about thirty Israelites. 20:32 Then the Benjaminites said, “They are defeated just as before.” But the Israelites said, “Let’s retreat 7  and lure them 8  away from the city into the main roads.” 20:33 9  All the men of Israel got up from their places and took their positions at Baal Tamar, while the Israelites hiding in ambush jumped out of their places west of Gibeah. 20:34 Ten thousand men, well-trained soldiers from all Israel, then made a frontal assault against Gibeah – the battle was fierce. 10  But the Benjaminites did not realize that disaster was at their doorstep. 11  20:35 The Lord annihilated Benjamin before Israel; the Israelites struck down that day 25,100 sword-wielding Benjaminites. 12  20:36 Then the Benjaminites saw they were defeated.

The Israelites retreated before 13  Benjamin, because they had confidence in the men they had hid in ambush outside Gibeah. 20:37 The men hiding in ambush made a mad dash 14  to Gibeah. They 15  attacked 16  and put the sword to the entire city. 20:38 The Israelites and the men hiding in ambush had arranged a signal. When the men hiding in ambush 17  sent up a smoke signal from the city, 20:39 the Israelites counterattacked. 18  Benjamin had begun to strike down the Israelites; 19  they struck down 20  about thirty men. They said, “There’s no doubt about it! They are totally defeated as in the earlier battle.” 20:40 But when the signal, a pillar of smoke, began to rise up from the city, the Benjaminites turned around and saw the whole city going up in a cloud of smoke that rose high into the sky. 21  20:41 When the Israelites turned around, the Benjaminites panicked 22  because they could see that disaster was on their doorstep. 23 

1 tn Heb “the third day.”

2 tn Heb “went out to meet.”

3 tn Heb “and they were drawn away from the city.”

4 tn Heb “from the army wounded ones.”

5 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

6 tn The words “they struck down” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

7 tn Or “run away.”

8 tn Heb “him” (collective singular).

9 sn Verses 33-36a give a condensed account of the battle from this point on, while vv. 36b-48 offer a more detailed version of how the ambush contributed to Gibeah’s defeat.

10 tn Heb “heavy”; or “severe.”

11 tn Heb “And they did not know that touching against them was disaster.”

12 tn Heb “And the sons of Israel struck down in Benjamin that day 25,100 men, all of these wielding the sword.”

13 tn Heb “gave place to.”

14 tn Heb “hurried and put off [their hiding place].”

15 tn Heb “the men hiding in ambush.”

16 tn Or “deployed.” The verb normally means “to lead” or “to draw.”

17 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men hiding in ambush) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Heb “turned in the battle.”

19 tn Heb “And Benjamin began to strike down wounded ones among the men of Israel.”

20 tn The words “they struck down” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

21 tn Heb “Benjamin turned after him and, look, the whole city went up toward the sky.”

22 tn Or “were terrified.”

23 tn Heb “disaster touched against them.”



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