士师记 20

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1 以色列人讨伐基比亚

2 全民的领袖,就是以色列众支派的领袖,都站在子民的会中;拿刀的步兵共有十万人。

3 以色列人上到米斯巴来,便雅悯人见了。)以色列人:“这件恶事是怎样发生的?你们吧。”

4 那利未,就是被害的妇人丈夫回答:“我和我的妾到了便雅悯的基比亚,要在那里住宿。

5 基比亚人民起来攻击我,在夜间包围我住的房子攻击我,有意害我;他们把我的妾污辱致

6 我就把我的妾切成块子,送到以色列的各地业,因为基比亚人在以色列中行了极羞耻的恶事。

7 以色列人哪,你们都要说出你们的意见,也要在这里提出你们的对策。”

8 于是众起来如同:“我们当中谁都不回自己的帐棚,谁都不回自己的家。

9 现在我们要这样对待基比亚人:我们要照着所抽的签上去攻打他们。

10 我们要从以色列各支派中,每人抽取人,每人抽取人,每万人抽取人,好为人民运送粮食;等他们到了便雅悯的基比亚的时候,就可以照着他们在以色列中所行的一切羞耻的事惩罚他们。”

11 于是以色列彼此联合,如同聚集起来攻击那城。

12 以色列各支派打发人到便雅悯的各家去,:“你们中间怎么发生了这样的恶事呢?

13 现在你们要把那些人,基比亚的无赖之徒,交出来,我们好处他们,从以色列中除掉这恶。”只是便雅悯人却不肯从他们的兄弟以色列人的话。

14 便雅悯人从各城出来聚集,往基比亚去,要与以色列人交战。

15 那时便雅悯,从各城里被数点的,共有二万六拿刀的,另外被数点的,还有基比亚的居民,共有精兵。

16 在这些中,还有精兵是善用左的,个个都能用机弦拋,毫发不差。

17 除了便雅悯以外,以色列人被数点的,共有十万拿刀的,个个都是战士。

18 两次进攻失败以色列人起来,上伯特利去求问:“我们之中谁应首先上去,与便雅悯人交战呢?”耶和华:“犹大应首先上去。”

19 以色列人早晨起来,对着基比亚安营。

20 以色列人出来,要与便雅悯交战;以色列人在基比亚面前列阵等待他们。

21 便雅悯从基比亚出来,那一天使以色列人倒地身亡。

22 众民,就是以色列人,都奋勇起来,又在头一天列阵的地方列阵。

23 事前,以色列人上伯特利去,在耶和华面前哀哭直到晚上,然后求问耶和华:“我们再去与我们的兄弟便雅悯人交战,可以不可以?”耶和华:“你们可以上去攻打他们。”

24 第二以色列人就前去攻打便雅悯人。

25 便雅悯第二也从基比亚出来,迎战以色列人,又使一万以色列人倒地身亡,都是拿刀的。

26 以色列众人,就是全体人民,又上到伯特利耶和华面前哀哭,那日禁食直到晚上,然后在耶和华面前献上燔祭和平安祭。

27 那时,的约柜在那里。

28 那时,亚伦的孙子、以利亚撒的儿子非尼哈,侍立在约柜前供职。以色列人求问耶和华:“我们应再出去与我们的兄弟便雅悯人交战呢?还是休战呢?”耶和华:“你们应上去,因为明天我必把他们交在你们中。”

29 第三次进攻得胜以色列人在基比亚四周设下伏兵。

30 第三以色列人又上去攻打便雅悯人,在基比亚前面列阵,像前两次一样。

31 便雅悯也出来迎敌,他们被引出城外,在两条大上,条通往伯特利条通往基比亚,像前两次样,动手杀敌,在田间杀以色列人约有三十个。

32 便雅悯人:“他们仍像前一次一样,败在我们面前了。”以色列人:“我们逃跑吧,引他们离开城市出到大上来。”

33 以色列都从自己的地方起来,在巴力.他玛列阵;以色列的伏兵,从基比亚西边埋伏的地方冲出来。

34 以色列中的精兵,有一万攻打基比亚,战争非常激烈;便雅悯还不知道灾祸快要临到他们的身上了。

35 耶和华以色列人面前击败了便雅悯;那以色列人消灭便雅悯,共二万名,都是拿刀的。

36 这样,便雅悯出自己被击败了。原来以色列人倚靠在基比亚前面设下的伏兵,就对便雅悯诈败。

37 伏兵急忙冲入基比亚,用刀击杀了全城的人。

38 以色列人与伏兵预先约定,就是从城里放火,以烟气上升为号。

39 以色列人在战场上撤退的时候,便雅悯就动手杀,刺以色列人三十个,心里:“他们真的像头一次战阵一样,在我们面前被击败了。”

40 当烟信号从城中上升的时候,便雅悯人就转身观看,只见全城烟火冲

41 那时,以色列人转身回来,便雅悯就非常惊慌,因为见灾祸临到自己身上了。

42 他们在以色列人面前转身,向旷野的上逃走,战争却紧随着他们;那些从各城里出来的也在他们中间消灭他们。

43 以色列人包围了便雅悯人,追赶他们,在他们歇息之地,直到基比亚对面日出之处,践踏他们。

44 便雅悯中倒毙的共有一万,全都是勇士。

45 其余的转身,向着旷野逃跑,到了临门的磐石那里;以色列在大上除灭了他们,追赶他们直到基顿,又击杀了他们二

46 所以那一天便雅悯倒毙的,共有二万,都是拿刀的,全部是勇士。

47 剩下的转身,向着旷野逃跑,到了临门的磐石那里,就在临门的磐石那里

48 以色列人又回到便雅悯那里,把全城的和牲畜,以及一切遇见的,都用刀杀尽;又把他们碰见的一切城市烧毁了。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 20      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Israel’s war with the tribe of Benjamin

The events of the previous chapter carry over into the last two chapters of the book of Judges, this one and the final one. The overall content of this chapter is about the division between Israel and the tribe of Benjamin (where the town of Gibeah was situated) and the eventual long war in which thousands on both sides died.

All Israel gathered together at Mizpah, four hundred thousand foot soldiers with swords, from every tribe, except the tribe of Benjamin who heard about the gathering. The reason for coming together, prompted by the dismembered parts of the concubine, was to decide what to do. The Levite told the story of the events. The men of Israel heard and decided that they would all immediately go up against the tribe of Benjamin, for them to hand over the perverted men of Gibeah for justice to be done and for Israel to be redeemed. They agreed to take one man out of every ten to go and, if necessary, to fight.

The spiritual meaning in this opening and gathering of Israel at Mizpah is mostly about its incompleteness. The tribe of Benjamin was not present even though Mizpah was in Benjamin’s territory. Spiritual incompleteness in us is to leave something out of our love and faithfulness to the Lord which makes each one of us a whole being. The twelve tribes of Israel stand for all the qualities which come together to form our spiritual life and purpose. (True Christian Religion 38)

The men of Israel go up and ask the Lord who should go to fight first. The reply is that Judah go first. The men of Benjamin refuse to hand the men of Gibeah over and they form an army to fight Israel. In the fighting, the men of Benjamin cut down twenty-two thousand men of Israel. Israel goes and weeps to the Lord and asks if they should go up again against their brother Benjamin. The Lord says they are to go up again.

The spiritual meaning of the tribe of Benjamin is that it stands for the ‘medium’ or the vital connection between what is internal or celestial and what is external or natural. If this connection is absent there is no passage or mutual link between these two and they are separated. This removes the completeness of our spiritual life as a whole. (See Arcana Caelestia 5822.)

Israel goes up against Benjamin on the second day and eighteen thousand men of Israel are cut down by the army of Benjamin. Israel goes to the house of the Lord and weeps, and asks if they should yet go out to fight their brother Benjamin. The Lord says that they are to fight a third time, and the He will deliver them into their hand.

Israel weeps. Weeping or crying stands for mourning the loss of something which is no longer present. In a good sense ‘weeping’ can be for the sense of loss of what is loved and what is part of us, here represented by ‘to battle the children of my brother Benjamin’.
The Lord wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44). (Arcana Caelestia 4293.3)

Israel fights on three consecutive day, and on the third day they defeat the tribe of Benjamin. ‘On the third day’ (see verse 30) stands for the need for conflict and personal states in our spiritual temptations and battles to be worked through until they are brought to an end and we can be brought out of temptation, into a new state. (Arcana Caelestia 5159)

The men of Israel laid an ambush and then went as before to fight the men of Benjamin. They moved away from them and Benjamin followed them and killed some men of Israel. The men in ambush arose and went to Gibeah and by arrangement made a great column of smoke after killing the men of the city. (Arcana Caelestia 9144) The men of Benjamin saw this and panicked, and twenty three thousand of them were slain. Six hundred men escaped and hid, and Israel went all around and destroyed men of Benjamin wherever they were found.

The spiritual meaning of this final battle is in the extent of the numbers killed and the aftermath of the victory with further killing. To ‘kill’ (or destroy) when it is used in the Word is to work completely towards the full expulsion of states, thoughts and intentions in us which are in opposition to the way of the Word and its wholeness and healing. (Arcana Caelestia 9320) This is the meaning of the term ‘vastation’ in which things which are opposed to the Lord need to be worked through and brought to an end so that a new state can come.

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