The Israelites went up to Bethela1 and inquired of God.2 They said, "Who of us shall go first3 to fight4 against the Benjamites?" The LORD replied, "Judah5 shall go first."
The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah.
The men of Israel went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah.
The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites6 on the battlefield that day.
But the men of Israel encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day.
The Israelites went up and wept before the LORD7 until evening,8 and they inquired of the LORD.9 They said, "Shall we go up again to battle10 against the Benjamites, our brothers?" The LORD answered, "Go up against them."
Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day.
This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites,11 all of them armed with swords.
Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD.12 They fasted13 that day until evening and presented burnt offerings14 and fellowship offeringsb15 to the LORD.1627
And the Israelites inquired of the LORD.17 (In those days the ark of the covenant of God18 was there,
with Phinehas son of Eleazar,19 the son of Aaron, ministering before it.)20 They asked, "Shall we go up again to battle with Benjamin our brother, or not?" The LORD responded, "Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.21"