Daily Tanach, Monday: Shoftim Chapter 20-Part 2: The vengeance against Binyamin-A civil war begins and Binyamin is decimated

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

1.       Binyamin prepares for war against Bnei Yisrael:

  • The tribe of Binyamin gathered on that day from amongst their cities 26,000 men of the sword. In addition, 700 young men from the Givah joined them.
  • These 700 men were all lefties, and were sharpshooters who would not miss a hair when they threw a stone.

2.       The Jewish people inquire from G-d and set up camp for battle:

  • The numbers on the side of Bnei Yisrael: The number of soldiers galvanized from amongst the Jewish people, aside from Binyamin, was 400,000 men of the sword, men who were all warriors.
  • Inquiring from G-d who should begin the battle: They got up and encamped by Beis Eil and inquired from G-d as to which tribe should be the first to wage battle against Binyamin. Hashem replied that the tribe of Yehuda should go first.
  • Encamping by the Givah of Binyamin: The Jewish people rose in the morning and encamped by the Givah [of Binyamin].

3.       The first battles are unsuccessful:

  • The losses of the first battle: The Jewish people began to wage war against Binyamin by the Givah. The men of Binyamin left the Givah and killed 22,000 men from the side of the Jewish people.
  • Asking G-d if they should continue the battle: The Jewish people strengthened themselves and decided to continue to battle the next day, in the same area they waged war the previous day. However, prior to doing so they went and cried before G-d until the evening, and asked Hashem if they should continue to wage battle against their brother Binyamin. G-d replied that they should go.
  • The second battle: So, the Jewish people approached the tribe of Binyamin on the second day and Binyamin came charging at them from the Givah also on the second day. They managed to kill an additional 18,000 warriors of the Jewish people in that battle.
  • Crying to G-d for their losses and again inquiring if they should continue battle: The entire Jewish people came to Beis Eil and sat and cried before G-d. They fasted that day until the evening, and brought sacrifices of Olos and Shelamim to Hashem. They again inquired before G-d [if they should go to war]. The Aron Habris was located in that area [of Beis Eil] in those days. Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron Hakohen, was the priest who served before the Aron in those times, and he asked Hashem: Shall we continue to wage battle against our brother Binyamin or should we stop? Hashem replied that they should go, as the next day he will hand them to their hands.

4.       The third and final battle decimates Binyamin:

  • The start of battle: The Jewish people set up ambush around the Givah. On the third day they renewed the battle against Binyamin and went towards the Givah just as they did the previous days. The men of Binyamin once again came charging at them from outside the city. They left the city deserted [of soldiers].
  • The first fallen soldiers of the side of Israel: At first, Binyamin was again successful in killing thirty men from the side of Israel in the fields outside the Givah. The Jewish people began running away, and Binyamin thought that they were fleeing just like they did by the previous days of battle. However, in truth, they were trying to distance Binyamin from the city to the outskirts.
  • The ambush surrounds Binyamin: All the men of Israel who were waiting in ambush then came out of hiding and surrounded Binyamin from both sides. There were 10,000 young warriors of Israel opposite the Givah. There was a great battle, as Binyamin was not even aware that they were surrounded.
  • Binyamin loses 25,100 soldiers and the Givah is destroyed: Hashem had the Jewish people smite on that day 25,100 warriors from Binyamin. [This is how it happened:] Binyamin saw that they were being chased and surrounded, so they ran back towards the Givah, which was left open by the Jewish men. The ambush then immediately came out from near the Givah and went to greet them in battle. They then entered the city and killed all its inhabitants by the sword, and put the city up in flames. Binyamin turned around and saw the city up in flames. They fell in shock and became all confused, as they finally realized that the tides had turned against them. At first the Jewish people killed 18,000 warriors from Binyamin. Binyamin then fled to the desert and had a further 5,000 soldiers of theirs killed. They then chased them to Gidom, and a further 2,000 men were killed, for a total of 25,000 deaths of soldiers from Binyamin.
  • Six hundred Benjamite men hide in caves: A remaining 600 soldiers of Binyamin went to hide in cave called Sela Rimon for four months.
  • Binyamin is decimated: The Jewish men returned to the land of Binyamin and annihilated all the inhabitants of the land, including the animals. They set all of their cities aflame.

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