The Battle of Gibeah Reconsidered (Judges 20:29-48)

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Nadav Naʼaman1
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  • 1 Tel Aviv University
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In this article I discuss the episode of the Israelite-Benjaminite battle at Gibeah (Judges 20:29-48). The battle account suffers from many inconsistencies, and to date no satisfactory solution was suggested for its composition. I posit that the battle story has a unified framework (vv. 29-31a and 47-48), and this framework embraces two complete alternative accounts of the battle, each describing a different version of the event (vv. 31b-36a and 36b-46). Following a translation of the two accounts, I analyze each account seeking to show how it describes the related event. I then examine the diachronic and synchronic solutions offered for the way the text has emerged, seeking to clarify how it might have reached its garbled final form.

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