Daughters of Shiloh

Judges 21:19-21. This event happened before Othniel became a Judge or ruler in Israel. About 1364BC. After the Israelites heard the Levite’s story (about chopping up his dead concubine and sending her body parts to each tribe of Israel) they vowed not to “give” their daughters in marriage to the Benjaminites.

Unfortunately, the Israelites had just finished killing all the Benjamite women (non-virgin) and children in Jabeshgilead (Judges 20:48) whilst bringing back 400 virgin women to give to the Benjamites.

But they were still 200 short. There were 600 Benjaminite men who survived the war with the Israelites (Judges 20:47).

Ironically, the men of Benjamin were told to set an ambush, by hiding in the vineyard, for the virgin girls, who were dancing at the tabernacle festival of Shiloh, in a women-only event. These were young girls from all over the country and from every tribe of Israel.

This was the same method used by the Israelites against the Benjaminites at Gibeah (Judges 20:37).

The plan worked flawlessly, and each man obtained his wife (200 only).

Then the men of Benjamin went back to their own land with their new wives.

Though the Benjaminite tribe was reduced to a small number, the other tribes were only interested in providing each Benjaminite man with one wife, not with anymore, under the pretense of multiplying them faster.

Thus, the elders undertook to reconcile the families to the forced abduction of their daughters. And the expression of their public sanction to this deed of violence meant that the girls had large estates, since all the land of Benjamin was now divided between only 600 families.

Background Reading:

Daughters of Shiloh

19 So they concluded, “Look, there’s a festival to the LORD every year in Shiloh on the north side of Bethel, south of Lebonah and on the east side of the highway that runs from Bethel to Shechem…” 20 So they told the descendants of Benjamin, “Go and hide in the vineyards. 21 Watch when the unmarried women from Shiloh come out to participate in the dances. Then come out of the vineyards and each of you grab a wife from the unmarried women from Shiloh. Then go back home to the territory of Benjamin.
Judges 21:19-21

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