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Judges 21:5-12

Context
21:5 The Israelites asked, “Who from all the Israelite tribes has not assembled before the Lord?” They had made a solemn oath that whoever did not assemble before the Lord at Mizpah must certainly be executed. 1  21:6 The Israelites regretted what had happened to 2  their brother Benjamin. They said, “Today we cut off an entire 3  tribe from Israel! 21:7 How can we find wives for those who are left? 4  After all, we took an oath in the Lord’s name not to give them our daughters as wives.” 21:8 So they asked, “Who from all the Israelite tribes did not assemble before the Lord at Mizpah?” Now it just so happened no one from Jabesh Gilead had come to the gathering. 5  21:9 When they took roll call, 6  they noticed 7  none of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead were there. 21:10 So the assembly sent 12,000 capable warriors 8  against Jabesh Gilead. 9  They commanded them, “Go and kill with your swords 10  the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead, including the women and little children. 21:11 Do this: 11  exterminate every male, as well as every woman who has had sexual relations with a male. 12  But spare the lives of any virgins.” So they did as instructed. 13  21:12 They found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young girls who were virgins – they had never had sexual relations with a male. 14  They brought them back to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

1 tn Heb “A great oath there was concerning the one who did not go up before the Lord at Mizpah, saying, ‘He must surely be put to death.’”

2 tn Or “felt sorry for.”

3 tn Heb “cut off one.”

4 tn Heb “What should we do for them, for the remaining ones, concerning wives?”

5 tn Heb “Look, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh Gilead to the assembly.”

6 tn Or “when the people were mustered.”

7 tn Heb “and look.”

8 tn Heb “men, sons of strength.”

9 tn Heb “there.”

10 tn Heb “the edge of the sword.”

11 tn Heb “And this is the thing that you will do.”

12 tn Heb “every woman who is familiar with the bed of a male.”

13 tc Some Greek witnesses (notably Codex Vaticanus [B]) add the words, “‘But the virgins you should keep alive.’ And they did so.” These additional words, which probably represent the original Hebrew text, can be retroverted: וְאֶת־הַבְּתוּלוֹת תְּחַיּוּ וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כֵן (veet-habbÿtulot tÿkhayyu vayyaasu khen). It is likely that a scribe’s eye jumped from the vav (ו) on וְאֶת (vÿet) to the initial vav of v. 11, accidentally leaving out the intervening letters. The present translation is based on this reconstruction.

14 tn Heb “who had not known a man with respect to the bed of a male.”



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