The Bible and its Story: Israel’s Vow of Vengeance

All Israel was aroused by the Levite’s passionate summons. The people gathered at Mizpeh in a great assembly to decide what should be done to avenge him. There the Levite told his terrible story; and the entire assembly vowed as one man to go up to Gibeah and destroy its evil inhabitants. They pledged themselves to one another by a solemn oath, that they would not even return to their homes for preparation, “but now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it; and we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel.… that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel.”

‎Thus began the murderous civil war against Benjamin. That tribe, to which Gibeah belonged, had not come to the general assembly. Therefore the other Israelites knew not how the absentees might act in the matter. Messengers were sent throughout Benjamin entreating that the men of Gibeah be handed over to vengeance. But the other Benjamites stood by their kindred, and refused to surrender them.

by Julius A. Bewer; Charles F. Horne

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