士师记 20

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1 於是以色列从但到别是巴,以及住基列地的众都出来,如同,聚集在米斯巴耶和华面前。

2 以色列民的首领,就是各支派的军长,都站在姓的会中;拿刀的步兵共有十万。

3 以色列人上到米斯巴,便雅悯人都见了。以色列人:请你将这件恶事的情由对我们明。

4 那利未,就是被害之妇人丈夫回答:我和我的妾到了便雅悯的基比亚住宿。

5 基比亚人夜间起来,围了我住的房子,想要我,又将我的妾强奸致

6 我就把我妾的尸身切成块子,使人拿着传送以色列得为业的全地,因为基比亚人在以色列中行了扔菏丑恶的事。

7 你们以色列人都当筹划商议。

8 众民都起来如同我们都不回自己帐棚、自己房屋去。

9 我们向基比亚人必这样行,照所掣的签去攻击他们。

10 我们要在以色列各支派中,一人挑取人,一人挑取人,一万人挑取人,为民运粮,等大众到了便雅悯的基比亚,就照基比亚人在以色列中所行的丑事征伐他们。

11 於是以色列彼此连合如同聚集攻击那城

12 以色列众支派打发人去,问便雅悯支派的各家:你们中间怎麽做了这样的恶事呢?

13 现在你们要将基比亚的那些匪徒交出来,我们好治他们,从以色列中除掉这恶。便雅悯人却不肯从他们弟兄以色列人的话。

14 便雅悯人从他们的各城里出来,聚集到了基比亚,要与以色列人打仗。

15 那时便雅悯从各城里点出拿刀的,共有二万六;另外还有基比亚点出精兵。

16 在众军之中有拣选的精兵,都是左便利的,能用机弦甩,毫发不差。

17 便雅悯之外,点出以色列人拿刀的,共有十万,都是战士。

18 以色列人起来,到伯特利去求问我们中间谁当首先上去与便雅悯人争战呢?耶和华犹大当先上去。

19 以色列人早晨起来,对着基比亚安营。

20 以色列人出来,要与便雅悯打仗,就在基比亚前摆阵。

21 便雅悯就从基比亚出来,当日杀死以色列人

22 以色列人彼此奋勇,仍在头一日摆阵的地方又摆阵。

23 未摆阵之先,以色列人上去,在耶和华面前哭号,直到晚上,求问耶和华:我们再去与我们弟兄便雅悯人打仗可以不可以?耶和华:可以上去攻击他们。

24 第二日,以色列人就上前攻击便雅悯人。

25 便雅悯也在这日从基比亚出来,与以色列人接战,又杀死他们一万,都是拿刀的。

26 以色列众人就上到伯特利耶和华面前哭号,当日禁食直到晚上;又在耶和华面前献燔祭和平安祭。

27 那时,的约柜在那里;亚伦的孙子、以利亚撒的儿子非尼哈侍立在约柜前。以色列人耶和华说:我们当再出去与我们弟兄便雅悯人打仗呢?还是罢兵呢?耶和华说:你们当上去,因为明日我必将他们交在你们手中。

28 a

29 以色列人在基比亚的四围设下伏兵。

30 第三日,以色列人又上去攻击便雅悯人,在基比亚前摆阵,与前两次一样。

31 便雅悯也出来迎敌,就被引诱离城;在田间两条上,伯特利通基比亚,像前两次,动手杀以色列人约有三十个。

32 便雅悯人:他们仍败在我们面前。但以色列人我们不如逃跑,引诱他们离开城到上来。

33 以色列起来,在巴力他玛摆阵,以色列的伏兵从马利迦巴埋伏的地方冲上前去。

34 以色列人中的一万精兵,到基比亚前接战,势派甚是凶猛;便雅悯却不知道灾祸临近了。

35 耶和华使以色列人杀败便雅悯。那日,以色列人杀死便雅悯二万,都是拿刀的。

36 於是便雅悯知道自己败了。先是以色列人;因为靠着在基比亚前所设的伏兵,就在便雅悯面前诈败。

37 伏兵急忙闯进基比亚,用刀杀死全城的人。

38 以色列人预先同伏兵约定在城内放火,以烟气上腾为号。

39 以色列人临退阵的时候,便雅悯动手杀以色列人,约有三十个,就:他们仍像前次被我们杀败了。

40 当烟气如从城中上腾的时候,便雅悯人回头观看,见全城的烟气冲

41 以色列人转身回来,便雅悯就甚惊惶,因为见灾祸临到自己了。

42 他们在以色列人面前转身往旷野逃跑;以色列人在後面追杀。那从各城里出来的,也都夹攻杀灭他们。

43 以色列人围绕便雅悯人,追赶他们,在他们歇脚之处、对着日出之地的基比亚践踏他们。

44 便雅悯死了的有一万,都是勇士。

45 其馀的转身向旷野逃跑,往临门磐去。以色列道路上杀了他们,如拾取遗穗一样,追到基顿又杀了他们二

46 那日便雅悯死了的共有二万,都是拿刀的勇士。

47 只剩下转身向旷野逃跑,到了临门磐,就在那里

48 以色列人到便雅悯地,将各城的和牲畜,并一切所遇见的,都用刀杀尽,又放烧了一切城邑。

  

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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