士師記 20

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1 以色列人討伐基比亞於是以色列都出來,從但到別是巴,以及基列地的眾,都在米斯巴耶和華面前聚集起來如同

2 全民的領袖,就是以色列眾支派的領袖,都站在子民的會中;拿刀的步兵共有十萬人。

3 以色列人上到米斯巴來,便雅憫人見了。)以色列人:“這件惡事是怎樣發生的?你們吧。”

4 那利未,就是被害的婦丈夫回答:“我和我的妾到了便雅憫的基比亞,要在那裡住宿。

5 基比亞人民起來攻擊我,在夜間包圍我住的房子攻擊我,有意害我;他們把我的妾污辱致

6 我就把我的妾切成塊子,送到以色列的各地業,因為基比亞人在以色列中行了極羞恥的惡事。

7 以色列人哪,你們都要說出你們的意見,也要在這裡提出你們的對策。”

8 於是眾起來如同:“我們當中誰都不回自己的帳棚,誰都不回自己的家。

9 現在我們要這樣對待基比亞人:我們要照著所抽的籤上去攻打他們。

10 我們要從以色列各支派中,每人抽取人,每人抽取人,每萬人抽取人,好為人民運送糧食;等他們到了便雅憫的基比亞的時候,就可以照著他們在以色列中所行的一切羞恥的事懲罰他們。”

11 於是以色列彼此聯合,如同聚集起來攻擊那城。

12 以色列各支派打發人到便雅憫的各家去,:“你們中間怎麼發生了這樣的惡事呢?

13 現在你們要把那些人,基比亞的無賴之徒,交出來,我們好處他們,從以色列中除掉這惡。”只是便雅憫人卻不肯從他們的兄弟以色列人的話。

14 便雅憫人從各城出來聚集,往基比亞去,要與以色列人交戰。

15 那時便雅憫,從各城裡被數點的,共有二萬六拿刀的,另外被數點的,還有基比亞的居民,共有精兵。

16 在這些中,還有精兵是善用左的,個個都能用機弦拋,毫髮不差。

17 除了便雅憫以外,以色列人被數點的,共有十萬拿刀的,個個都是戰士。

18 兩次進攻失敗以色列人起來,上伯特利去求問:“我們之中誰應首先上去,與便雅憫人交戰呢?”耶和華:“猶大應首先上去。”

19 以色列人早晨起來,對著基比亞安營。

20 以色列人出來,要與便雅憫交戰;以色列人在基比亞面前列陣等待他們。

21 便雅憫從基比亞出來,那一天使以色列人倒地身亡。

22 眾民,就是以色列人,都奮勇起來,又在頭一天列陣的地方列陣。

23 事前,以色列人上伯特利去,在耶和華面前哀哭直到晚上,然後求問耶和華:“我們再去與我們的兄弟便雅憫人交戰,可以不可以?”耶和華:“你們可以上去攻打他們。”

24 第二以色列人就前去攻打便雅憫人。

25 便雅憫第二也從基比亞出來,迎戰以色列人,又使一萬以色列人倒地身亡,都是拿刀的。

26 以色列眾人,就是全體人民,又上到伯特利耶和華面前哀哭,那日禁食直到晚上,然後在耶和華面前獻上燔祭和平安祭。

27 那時,的約櫃在那裡。

28 那時,亞倫的孫子、以利亞撒的兒子非尼哈,侍立在約櫃前供職。以色列人求問耶和華:“我們應再出去與我們的兄弟便雅憫人交戰呢?還是休戰呢?”耶和華:“你們應上去,因為明天我必把他們交在你們中。”

29 第三次進攻得勝以色列人在基比亞四周設下伏兵。

30 第三以色列人又上去攻打便雅憫人,在基比亞前面列陣,像前兩次一樣。

31 便雅憫也出來迎敵,他們被引出城外,在兩條大上,條通往伯特利條通往基比亞,像前兩次樣,動手殺敵,在田間殺以色列人約有三十個。

32 便雅憫人:“他們仍像前一次一樣,敗在我們面前了。”以色列人:“我們逃跑吧,引他們離開城市出到大上來。”

33 以色列都從自己的地方起來,在巴力.他瑪列陣;以色列的伏兵,從基比亞西邊埋伏的地方衝出來。

34 以色列中的精兵,有一萬攻打基比亞,戰爭非常激烈;便雅憫還不知道災禍快要臨到他們的身上了。

35 耶和華以色列人面前擊敗了便雅憫;那以色列人消滅便雅憫,共二萬名,都是拿刀的。

36 這樣,便雅憫出自己被擊敗了。原來以色列人倚靠在基比亞前面設下的伏兵,就對便雅憫詐敗。

37 伏兵急忙衝入基比亞,用刀擊殺了全城的人。

38 以色列人與伏兵預先約定,就是從城裡放火,以煙氣上升為號。

39 以色列人在戰場上撤退的時候,便雅憫就動手殺,刺以色列人三十個,心裡:“他們真的像頭一次戰陣一樣,在我們面前被擊敗了。”

40 當煙信號從城中上升的時候,便雅憫人就轉身觀看,只見全城煙火沖

41 那時,以色列人轉身回來,便雅憫就非常驚慌,因為見災禍臨到自己身上了。

42 他們在以色列人面前轉身,向曠野的上逃走,戰爭卻緊隨著他們;那些從各城裡出來的也在他們中間消滅他們。

43 以色列人包圍了便雅憫人,追趕他們,在他們歇息之地,直到基比亞對面日出之處,踐踏他們。

44 便雅憫中倒斃的共有一萬,全都是勇士。

45 其餘的轉身,向著曠野逃跑,到了臨門的磐石那裡;以色列在大上除滅了他們,追趕他們直到基頓,又擊殺了他們二

46 所以那一天便雅憫倒斃的,共有二萬,都是拿刀的,全部是勇士。

47 剩下的轉身,向著曠野逃跑,到了臨門的磐石那裡,就在臨門的磐石那裡

48 以色列人又回到便雅憫那裡,把全城的和牲畜,以及一切遇見的,都用刀殺盡;又把他們碰見的一切城市燒毀了。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士師記 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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