And when the children of Israel heard [of it]
Of the building the altar in the above place, namely, the nine tribes and a half settled in the land of Canaan:
the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves
together at Shiloh;
where the tabernacle and altar of the Lord were, whose cause they undertook to avenge, being injured as they imagined by the altar the other tribes had built, and where they could consult the Lord by Urim and Thummim, if needful; hither they repaired from the several places around, where their tribes were settled; not the whole body of the people, but their heads and representatives:
to go up to war against them;
to consult about it, and to prepare for it, which they were obliged to do by the law of God, as in the case of a city, so of a tribe drawn aside to idolatry; and which they imagined was the case of these tribes, or at least what they had done had a tendency to apostasy from the true worship of God, which they were zealous to defend at the hazard of their lives, and though it should issue in an extirpation of one or more of their tribes; see ( Deuteronomy 13:12-16 ) .