A Levite man’s girlfriend broke up with him and went back to live with her parents. But then he followed her to her parents’ house and took her back. On the way back to the man’s home, they stopped for the night in Gibeah, a city of the tribe of Benjamin, and stayed in an old man’s house.
Some of the Benjamite men from that city came and surrounded the house. They told the old man to send the Levite man out so they could have sex with him. The old man said he couldn’t let them have sex with his guest, because that would be outrageous and vile. So he offered to let them rape his daughter and his guest’s girlfriend instead.
The Levite man thought that was a good idea, so he sent his girlfriend outside. The men of Gibeah spent the whole night gang-raping her to death. Then the man went home, and he chopped up his girlfriend into a dozen pieces and had them distributed all over the country.
When the rest of Israel heard what had happened, they decided they had to do something about it. Their solution was to kill all the men in the city of Gibeah. But the Benjamites didn’t like that idea, so the rest of Israel went to war with the tribe of Benjamin. God agreed that this was what they should do. God helped his people kill tens of thousands of their fellow Israelites, destroying not just the men of Gibeah, but the entire tribe of Benjamin except for 600 men who fled into the wilderness.
Now Israel had a new problem. They suddenly became concerned that the tribe of Benjamin was in danger of going extinct. It was all God’s fault. Benjamin had been reduced to 600 men, who had no wives because the Israelites had murdered all the Benjamite women, and had sworn not to give any of their daughters to Benjamites as wives.
They tried to solve that problem by killing the men, women, and boys in the Israelite town of Jabesh Gilead, kidnapping the remaining 400 virgin girls, and forcing them to marry the Benjamites. But the Benjamites still needed more wives, so they kidnapped and married 200 more Israelite women they saw dancing at a festival. They thought it was okay to do that because even though the Israelites had sworn not to give their daughters to Benjamites, they hadn’t sworn not to let their daughters be kidnapped by Benjamites.
The moral of the story
If you don’t want a group to go extinct, don’t try to exterminate them.