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27 The Israelites consulted the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of the Lord was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron,[a] was standing in his presence in those days), and asked, “Shall I again go out to battle with my brother Benjamin, or shall I stop?” The Lord said: Attack! For tomorrow I will deliver him into your power. 29 [b](A)So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah.

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  1. 20:28 Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron: the main line of the priesthood was traced through a grandson of Aaron by this name; see Ex 6:25 and Nm 25:10–13. Whether the priest identified here is the same man or his lineal descendant, the mention of his name adds authority to the sanctuary at Bethel. The reference to the ark of the covenant in the preceding verse has the same effect.
  2. 20:29–46 The Israelites are successful in their third attempt to defeat Benjamin. Leaving an ambush behind, they decoy the enemy troops out of the city by pretending to be routed as on the two previous occasions. The stratagem is strongly reminiscent of that employed in the conquest of Ai (Jos 8). Two accounts of the present battle against Gibeah are preserved, one in 20:29–36a and another in 20:36b–46.