Judges 20:19
And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah.
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Jdg 20:19-20. The children of Israel encamped against Gibeah — It seems from these words that Judah only led the van, as we now speak, and stood in the front of the battle, to make the first assault; but that all the rest went up with them. Israel went out to battle against Benjamin — When the Benjamites heard that Israel were encamped against Gibeah, they came to the relief of it; and the Israelites marched out of their camp to engage them.17:7-13 Micah thought it was a sign of God's favour to him and his images, that a Levite should come to his door. Thus those who please themselves with their own delusions, if Providence unexpectedly bring any thing to their hands that further them in their evil way, are apt from thence to think that God is pleased with them.Went up to the house of God - It should be "to Bethel." At this time the ark was at Bethel (compare 1 Samuel 10:3), and not at Shiloh. It is not unlikely that though Shiloh was the chief residence of the ark Jeremiah 7:12, yet the tabernacle, being moveable, was, either at stated times, or as occasion required, moved to where the Judge resided, or the congregation assembled (compare 1 Samuel 7:16). On the present occasion the ark may have been moved to Bethel for the convenience of proximity to the great national council at Mizpeh. Jud 20:18-28. The Israelites Lose Forty Thousand.

18-28. the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God—This consultation at Shiloh was right. But they ought to have done it at the commencement of their proceedings. Instead of this, all their plans were formed, and never doubting, it would seem, that the war was just and inevitable, the only subject of their inquiry related to the precedency of the tribes—a point which it is likely was discussed in the assembly. Had they asked counsel of God sooner, their expedition would have been conducted on a different principle—most probably by reducing the number of fighting men, as in the case of Gideon's army. As it was, the vast number of volunteers formed an excessive and unwieldy force, unfit for strenuous and united action against a small, compact, and well-directed army. A panic ensued, and the confederate tribes, in two successive engagements, sustained great losses. These repeated disasters (notwithstanding their attack on Benjamin had been divinely authorized) overwhelmed them with shame and sorrow. Led to reflection, they became sensible of their guilt in not repressing their national idolatries, as well as in too proudly relying on their superior numbers and the precipitate rashness of this expedition. Having humbled themselves by prayer and fasting, as well as observed the appointed method of expiating their sins, they were assured of acceptance as well as of victory. The presence and services of Phinehas on this occasion help us to ascertain the chronology thus far, that the date of the occurrence must be fixed shortly after the death of Joshua.

No text from Poole on this verse. And the children of Israel rose up in the morning,.... After they had had counsel at Shiloh, and which perhaps was by a deputation sent thither:

and encamped against Gibeah: formed a camp near Gibeah of 360,000 men, enough to have stormed and taken that city at once, one would think.

And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah.
Before the tribes of Israel entered upon the war, they sent men to all the tribes of Benjamin, who were to demand that the culprits in Gibeah should be given up to be punished, that the evil might thus be exterminated from Israel, according to the law in Deuteronomy 22:22 as compared with Judges 13:6 and Judges 17:12. "The tribes of Benjamin" are the same as "the families of Benjamin:" the historian pictured to himself the different divisions of the tribe of Benjamin as warlike powers about to carry on a war with the other tribes of Israel. The word shebet (tribe) is used in a different way in Numbers 4:18. But the Benjaminites would not hearken to the voice of their brethren, the other tribes of Israel. The Keri (sons of Benjamin) is a needless alteration, since Benjamin may be construed with the plural as a collective term. By refusing this just demand on the part of the other tribes, the Benjaminites took the side of the culprits in Gibeah, and compelled the congregation to make war upon the whole tribe.
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