Life And Writings Of Sulpitius Severus by Sulpitius Severus
Chapter XXIX. About these times, civil war, as we have said√†
About these times, civil war, as we have said, had broken out; and the following was the cause of the tumult. A certain Levite was on a journey along with his concubine, and, constrained by the approach of night, he took up his abode in the town of Gabaa, which was inhabited by men of Benjamin. A certain old man having kindly admitted him to hospitality, the young men of the town surrounded the guest, with the view of subjecting him to improper treatment. After being much chidden by the old man, and with difficulty dissuaded from their purpose, they at length received for their wanton sport the person of his concubine as a substitute for his own; and they thus spared the stranger, but abused her through the whole night, and only restored her on the following day. But she (whether from the injury their vile conduct had inflicted on her, or from shame, I do not venture to assert) died on again seeing her husband. Then the Levite, in testimony of the horrible deed, divided her members into twelve parts, and distributed them among the twelve tribes that indignation at such conduct might the more readily be excited in them all. And when this became known to all of them, the other eleven tribes entered into a warlike confederacy against Benjamin. In this war, Judah, as we have said, was the general. But they had bad success in the first two battles. At length, however, in the third, the Benjamites were conquered, and cut off to a man; thus the crime of a few was punished by the destruction of a multitude. These things also are contained in the Book of Judges: the Books of Kings follow. But to me who am following the succession of the years, and the order of the dates, the history does not appear marked by strict chronological accuracy. For, since after Samson as judge, there came Semigar, and a little later the history certifies that the people lived without judges, Eli the priest is related in the Books of Kings to have also been a judge, but the Scripture has not stated how many years there were between Eli and Samson. I see that there was some portion of time between these two, which is left in obscurity. But, from the day of the death of Joshua up to the time at which Samson died, there are reckoned four hundred and eighteen years, and from the beginning of the world, four thousand three hundred and three. Nevertheless, I am not ignorant that others differ from this reckoning of ours; but I am at the same time conscious that I have, not without some care, set forth the order of events in the successive years (a thing hitherto left in obscurity), until I have fallen upon these times, concerning which I confess that I have my doubts. Now I shall go on to what remains.