And Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood
before it in those days
Before the ark, ministering before the Lord, which shows that this affair was long before the times of Samson, though placed after them; or otherwise Phinehas must have been more than three hundred years of age, which is not probable F18. Phinehas's standing before the ark was the posture of the priest when he inquired of the Lord for any by Urim and Thummim; the person that inquired stood before him that was inquired of, as Kimchi observes, and he that was inquired of stood before the Shechinah, or the presence of the divine Majesty, of which the ark was a symbol:
saying, shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of
Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?
in which the question is put in somewhat different manner than before, not only desiring to know whether it was the will of God they should renew the battle or not, since Benjamin was their brother, but whether they should have success or not; intimating, that if the Lord would bless and help them, they were willing to go up, but if not they chose to desist; for they were fully convinced now they were wrong in depending on their numbers, or the justness of their cause; whereas success depended wholly on the will and pleasure of God, to which they desired to submit:
and the Lord said, go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into thine
now they are not only directed to go up to the battle, but are promised victory.
F18 Vid. Rainold. de lib. Apocryph. Praelect. 149, 150. p. 345, 353, 354.