The Israelites went up and wept before the LORD 1 until evening,2 and they inquired of the LORD.3 They said, "Shall we go up again to battle4 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,5 all of them armed with swords.
Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD.6 They fasted7 that day until evening and presented burnt offerings8 and fellowship offeringsa9 to the LORD.1027
And the Israelites inquired of the LORD.11 (In those days the ark of the covenant of God12 was there,
with Phinehas son of Eleazar,13 the son of Aaron, ministering before it.)14 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.15"
Then Israel set an ambush16 around Gibeah.
They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before.
The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away17 from the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads--the one leading to Bethel18 and the other to Gibeah.
While the Benjamites were saying, "We are defeating them as before,"19 the Israelites were saying, "Let's retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads."
All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place20 on the westb of Gibeah.c