Judges 21:20-21, The Tribe of Benjamin Is Rescued!
So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin.
//Judges chapters 20 and 21 describe a squabble between the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of Israel. It seems that a Levite stopped for the night in Gibeah one day (Gibeah is part of the tribe of Benjamin), and they weren’t very good hosts. Threatening attackers came to his door, and to save his life, the Levite gave them his concubine to rape and abuse. When he found her the next morning slumped at the guesthouse door, he cut her in pieces and sent the pieces around Israel to show what an injustice was done to him.
So the Israelites mounted an attack against Gibeah. The rest of the Benjaminites refused to side against Gibeah, so nearly all the Benjaminites got slaughtered. So severe was the plundering of Benjamin that the tribe was in danger of being eradicated.
Israel then lamented, worried that they would lose one of their twelve tribes. It just wouldn’t be the same without all twelve! So they found a patsy–the town of Jabesh Gilead, who refused to join the war effort against Benjamin in the first place–and went and slaughtered everybody there, preserving just 400 virgin girls to help Benjamin repopulate their tribe. But it wasn’t quite enough for every Benjaminite to have his own virgin girl, so they then instructed the remaining men to steal their own virgins from Shiloh during a celebration there. See today’s verse. Thus, the tribe of Benjamin was preserved.
Ah, early Israeli politics. Those were the days, right?