And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The second day.—This does not mean the day after the first battle. One full day at least—the day of supplication—must have intervened between the two battles.
18-28. the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God—This consultation at Shiloh was right. But they ought to have done it at the commencement of their proceedings. Instead of this, all their plans were formed, and never doubting, it would seem, that the war was just and inevitable, the only subject of their inquiry related to the precedency of the tribes—a point which it is likely was discussed in the assembly. Had they asked counsel of God sooner, their expedition would have been conducted on a different principle—most probably by reducing the number of fighting men, as in the case of Gideon's army. As it was, the vast number of volunteers formed an excessive and unwieldy force, unfit for strenuous and united action against a small, compact, and well-directed army. A panic ensued, and the confederate tribes, in two successive engagements, sustained great losses. These repeated disasters (notwithstanding their attack on Benjamin had been divinely authorized) overwhelmed them with shame and sorrow. Led to reflection, they became sensible of their guilt in not repressing their national idolatries, as well as in too proudly relying on their superior numbers and the precipitate rashness of this expedition. Having humbled themselves by prayer and fasting, as well as observed the appointed method of expiating their sins, they were assured of acceptance as well as of victory. The presence and services of Phinehas on this occasion help us to ascertain the chronology thus far, that the date of the occurrence must be fixed shortly after the death of Joshua.And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 24. - And, or so, repeating what had been said in ver. 22, but giving it this time as the result of God's answer recorded in ver. 23. The second day. Not necessarily, or probably, the next day, but the day of the second battle. Judges 1:1); and God appointed the tribe of Judah, as in Judges 1:2. They went to Bethel,
(Note: Rendered "the house of God" in the English version. - Tr.)
not to Shiloh, where the tabernacle was standing, because that place was too far from the seat of war. The ark of the covenant was therefore brought to Bethel, and Phinehas the high priest inquired of the Lord before it through the Urim and Thummim (Judges 20:27, Judges 20:28). Bethel was on the northern boundary of the tribe of Benjamin, and was consecrated to this purpose before any other place by the revelations of God which had been made to the patriarch Jacob there (Genesis 28 and 35).
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