18 The Israelites went up to Bethel[a](A) and inquired of God.(B) They said, “Who of us is to go up first(C) to fight(D) against the Benjamites?”

The Lord replied, “Judah(E) 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(F) 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(G) until evening,(H) and they inquired of the Lord.(I) They said, “Shall we go up again to fight(J) 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,(K) 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.(L) They fasted(M) that day until evening and presented burnt offerings(N) and fellowship offerings(O) to the Lord.(P) 27 And the Israelites inquired of the Lord.(Q) (In those days the ark of the covenant of God(R) was there, 28 with Phinehas son of Eleazar,(S) the son of Aaron, ministering before it.)(T) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?”

The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.(U)

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  1. Judges 20:18 Or to the house of God; also in verse 26

Psalm 40[a](A)

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

I waited patiently(B) for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.(C)

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  1. Psalm 40:1 In Hebrew texts 40:1-17 is numbered 40:2-18.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,(A)
    out of the mud(B) and mire;(C)
he set my feet(D) on a rock(E)
    and gave me a firm place to stand.

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A Call to Persevere in Faith

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence(A) to enter the Most Holy Place(B) by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way(C) opened for us through the curtain,(D) that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest(E) over the house of God,(F) 22 let us draw near to God(G) with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings,(H) having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience(I) and having our bodies washed with pure water.(J)

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