士師記 20

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1 於是以色列從但到別是巴,以及住基列地的眾都出來,如同,聚集在米斯巴耶和華面前。

2 以色列民的首領,就是各支派的軍長,都站在姓的會中;拿刀的步兵共有十萬。

3 以色列人上到米斯巴,便雅憫人都見了。以色列人:請你將這件惡事的情由對我們明。

4 那利未,就是被害之婦丈夫回答:我和我的妾到了便雅憫的基比亞住宿。

5 基比亞人夜間起來,圍了我住的房子,想要我,又將我的妾強姦致

6 我就把我妾的屍身切成塊子,使人拿著傳送以色列得為業的全地,因為基比亞人在以色列中行了扔菏醜惡的事。

7 你們以色列人都當籌劃商議。

8 眾民都起來如同我們都不回自己帳棚、自己房屋去。

9 我們向基比亞人必這樣行,照所掣的籤去攻擊他們。

10 我們要在以色列各支派中,一人挑取人,一人挑取人,一萬人挑取人,為民運糧,等大眾到了便雅憫的基比亞,就照基比亞人在以色列中所行的醜事征伐他們。

11 於是以色列彼此連合如同聚集攻擊那城

12 以色列眾支派打發人去,問便雅憫支派的各家:你們中間怎麼做了這樣的惡事呢?

13 現在你們要將基比亞的那些匪徒交出來,我們好治他們,從以色列中除掉這惡。便雅憫人卻不肯從他們弟兄以色列人的話。

14 便雅憫人從他們的各城裡出來,聚集到了基比亞,要與以色列人打仗。

15 那時便雅憫從各城裡點出拿刀的,共有二萬六;另外還有基比亞點出精兵。

16 在眾軍之中有揀選的精兵,都是左便利的,能用機弦甩,毫髮不差。

17 便雅憫之外,點出以色列人拿刀的,共有十萬,都是戰士。

18 以色列人起來,到伯特利去求問我們中間誰當首先上去與便雅憫人爭戰呢?耶和華猶大當先上去。

19 以色列人早晨起來,對著基比亞安營。

20 以色列人出來,要與便雅憫打仗,就在基比亞前擺陣。

21 便雅憫就從基比亞出來,當日殺死以色列人

22 以色列人彼此奮勇,仍在頭一日擺陣的地方又擺陣。

23 未擺陣之先,以色列人上去,在耶和華面前哭號,直到晚上,求問耶和華:我們再去與我們弟兄便雅憫人打仗可以不可以?耶和華:可以上去攻擊他們。

24 第二日,以色列人就上前攻擊便雅憫人。

25 便雅憫也在這日從基比亞出來,與以色列人接戰,又殺死他們一萬,都是拿刀的。

26 以色列眾人就上到伯特利耶和華面前哭號,當日禁食直到晚上;又在耶和華面前獻燔祭和平安祭。

27 那時,的約櫃在那裡;亞倫的孫子、以利亞撒的兒子非尼哈侍立在約櫃前。以色列人耶和華說:我們當再出去與我們弟兄便雅憫人打仗呢?還是罷兵呢?耶和華說:你們當上去,因為明日我必將他們交在你們手中。

28 a

29 以色列人在基比亞的四圍設下伏兵。

30 第三日,以色列人又上去攻擊便雅憫人,在基比亞前擺陣,與前兩次一樣。

31 便雅憫也出來迎敵,就被引誘離城;在田間兩條上,伯特利通基比亞,像前兩次,動手殺以色列人約有三十個。

32 便雅憫人:他們仍敗在我們面前。但以色列人我們不如逃跑,引誘他們離開城到上來。

33 以色列起來,在巴力他瑪擺陣,以色列的伏兵從馬利迦巴埋伏的地方衝上前去。

34 以色列人中的一萬精兵,到基比亞前接戰,勢派甚是凶猛;便雅憫卻不知道災禍臨近了。

35 耶和華使以色列人殺敗便雅憫。那日,以色列人殺死便雅憫二萬,都是拿刀的。

36 於是便雅憫知道自己敗了。先是以色列人;因為靠著在基比亞前所設的伏兵,就在便雅憫面前詐敗。

37 伏兵急忙闖進基比亞,用刀殺死全城的人。

38 以色列人預先同伏兵約定在城內放火,以煙氣上騰為號。

39 以色列人臨退陣的時候,便雅憫動手殺以色列人,約有三十個,就:他們仍像前次被我們殺敗了。

40 當煙氣如從城中上騰的時候,便雅憫人回頭觀看,見全城的煙氣沖

41 以色列人轉身回來,便雅憫就甚驚惶,因為見災禍臨到自己了。

42 他們在以色列人面前轉身往曠野逃跑;以色列人在後面追殺。那從各城裡出來的,也都夾攻殺滅他們。

43 以色列人圍繞便雅憫人,追趕他們,在他們歇腳之處、對著日出之地的基比亞踐踏他們。

44 便雅憫死了的有一萬,都是勇士。

45 其餘的轉身向曠野逃跑,往臨門磐去。以色列道路上殺了他們,如拾取遺穗一樣,追到基頓又殺了他們二

46 那日便雅憫死了的共有二萬,都是拿刀的勇士。

47 只剩下轉身向曠野逃跑,到了臨門磐,就在那裡

48 以色列人到便雅憫地,將各城的和牲畜,並一切所遇見的,都用刀殺盡,又放燒了一切城邑。

  

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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