18 The Israelites went up to Bethel[a] and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?”
The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.”
19 The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah.20 The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah.21 The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day.22 But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day.23 The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?”
The Lord answered, “Go up against them.”
24 Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day.25 This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords.
26 Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord.27 And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there,
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