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Certainly the “outrage” the Israelites are reacting to is the Levite’s brutal dismemberment of the woman. Why would someone slaughter a woman and send her parts across the country? What is the meaning behind this heinous crime?

Once they hear the Levite’s story of his attack by the Benjaminites, the community of Israel supports the Levite and holds Benjamin accountable for the Gibean men’s wicked actions. When all the tribes come to the aid of the Levite, we see an Israel that is united—against Benjamin. This story lays the groundwork for our understanding of relations between the tribes as Israel enters the monarchical period. Saul, the first king and a Benjaminite, will abandon the laws of his God and will be replaced by David from Judah, who has the support of the rest of Israel.

20 All the people of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the people who dwelt beyond the Jordan River in Gilead, gathered as one before the Eternal at Mizpah. The leaders of every tribe, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves to the assembly, to the 400,000 soldiers armed for war.

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The Israelites Punish the Benjamites

20 Then all Israel(A) from Dan to Beersheba(B) and from the land of Gilead came together as one(C) and assembled(D) before the Lord in Mizpah.(E) The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of God’s people, four hundred thousand men(F) armed with swords.

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20 Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the Lord in Mizpeh.

And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword.

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