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Judges 20:18 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And the children of Israel arose, and went up to Beth-el, and asked counsel of God; and they said, Who shall go up for us first to battle against the children of Benjamin? And Jehovah said, Judah [shall go up] first.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah [shall go up] first.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired of God and said, “Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?” Then the LORD said, “Judah [shall go up] first.”
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah [shall go up] first.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And the children of Israel arose and went up to Bethel, and inquired of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And Jehovah said, Judah first.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And they arose, and went up to Bethel, and asked of God, and the sons of Israel said, Who shall go up for us first, to fight against the sons of Benjamin? And Yahweh said—Judah, first.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And they rise and go up to Beth-El, and ask of God, and the sons of Israel say, 'Who doth go up for us at the commencement to battle with the sons of Benjamin?' and Jehovah saith, 'Judah—at the commencement.'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And they arose and came to the house of God, that is, to Silo: and they consulted God, and said: Who shall be in our army the first to go to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord answered them: Let Juda be your leader.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And the children of Israel arose, and went vp to the house of God, and asked counsell of God, and saide, Which of vs shall goe vp first to the battell against the children of Beniamin? And the LORD said, Iudah shall [goe vp] first.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And they arose and went up to Bethel{gr.Baethel}, and enquired of God: and the children of Israel said, Who shall go up for us first to fight with the children of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah{gr.Juda} shall go up first as leader.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And the children of Yisrael arose, and went up to the house of El, and asked counsel of Elohim, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Binyamin? And Yahweh said, Yehudah [shall go up] first.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And the children 1121
{1121} Prime
בֵּן
ben
{bane}
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of Yi$rl יִשׂרָאֵל 3478
{3478} Prime
יִשְׂרָאֵל
Yisra'el
{yis-raw-ale'}
From H8280 and H0410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity.
arose, 6965
{6965} Prime
קוּם
quwm
{koom}
A primitive root; to rise (in various applications, literally, figuratively, intensively and causatively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
and went up 5927
{5927} Prime
עָלָה
`alah
{aw-law'}
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
to the house y1004
[1004] Standard
בַּיִת
bayith
{bah'-yith}
Probably from H1129 abbreviated; a house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.).
of l אֵל, 1008
{1008} Prime
בֵּית־אֵל
Beyth-'El
{bayth-ale'}
From H1004 and H0410; house of God; Beth-El, a place in Palestine.
y430
[0430] Standard
אֱלֹהִים
'elohiym
{el-o-heem'}
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
z8677
<8677> Grammar
Synonym Strong's Number

Sometimes, a word or phrase has individual Strong's numbers assigned to it and it has an additional Strong's number for the entire phrase.
and asked y7592
[7592] Standard
שָׁאַל
sha'al
{shaw-al'}
A primitive root; to inquire; by implication to request; by extension to demand.
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
counsel x7592
(7592) Complement
שָׁאַל
sha'al
{shaw-al'}
A primitive root; to inquire; by implication to request; by extension to demand.
of lhm אֱלֹהִים, 430
{0430} Prime
אֱלֹהִים
'elohiym
{el-o-heem'}
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
and said, 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
Which 4310
{4310} Prime
מִי
miy
{me}
An interrogitive pronoun of persons, as H4100 is of things, who? (occasionally, by a peculiar idiom, of things); also (indefinitely) whoever; often used in oblique construction with prefix or suffix.
of us shall go up 5927
{5927} Prime
עָלָה
`alah
{aw-law'}
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
first 8462
{8462} Prime
תְּחִלָּה
t@chillah
{tekh-il-law'}
From H2490 in the sense of opening; a commencement; relatively original (adverbially originally).
to the battle 4421
{4421} Prime
מִלְחָמָה
milchamah
{mil-khaw-maw'}
From H3898 (in the sense of fighting); a battle (that is, the engagement); generally war (that is, warfare).
against x5973
(5973) Complement
עִם
`im
{eem}
From H6004; adverb or preposition, with (that is, in conjunction with), in varied applications; specifically equally with; often with prepositional prefix (and then usually unrepresented in English).
the children 1121
{1121} Prime
בֵּן
ben
{bane}
From H1129; a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition, etc., (like H0001, H0251, etc.).
of Binymn בִּניָמִין? 1144
{1144} Prime
בִּנְיָמִן
Binyamiyn
{bin-yaw-mene'}
From H1121 and H3225; son of (the) right hand; Binjamin, youngest son of Jacob; also the tribe descended from him, and its territory.
And Yhw יָהוֶה 3068
{3068} Prime
יְהֹוָה
Y@hovah
{yeh-ho-vaw'}
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
said, 559
{0559} Prime
אָמַר
'amar
{aw-mar'}
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
Yh יְהוּדָה 3063
{3063} Prime
יְהוּדָה
Y@huwdah
{yeh-hoo-daw'}
From H3034; celebrated; Jehudah (or Judah), the name of five Israelites; also of the tribe descended from the first, and of its territory.
[shall go up] first. 8462
{8462} Prime
תְּחִלָּה
t@chillah
{tekh-il-law'}
From H2490 in the sense of opening; a commencement; relatively original (adverbially originally).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Judges 20:18-28

_ _ Judges 20:18-28. The Israelites lose forty thousand.

_ _ 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.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Judges 20:18-25

_ _ We have here the defeat of the men of Israel in their first and second battle with the Benjamites.

_ _ I. Before their first engagement they asked counsel of God concerning the order of their battle and were directed, and yet they were sorely beaten. They did not think it was proper to ask of God whether they should go up at all against Benjamin (the case was plain enough, the men of Gibeah must be punished for their wickedness, and Israel must inflict the punishment or it will not be done), but “Who shall go first?” (Judges 20:18), that is, “Who shall be general of our army?” for, which soever tribe was appointed to go first, the prince of that tribe must be looked upon as commander-in-chief of the whole body. For, if they had meant it of the order of their march only, it would have been proper to ask, “Who shall go next?” and then, “Who next?” But, if they know that Judah must go first, they know they must all observe the orders of the prince of that tribe. This honour was done to Judah because our Lord Jesus was to spring from that tribe, who was in all things to have the pre-eminence. The tribe that went up first had the most honourable post, but withal the most dangerous, and probably lost most in the engagement. Who would strive for precedency that sees the peril of it? Yet though Judah, that strong and valiant tribe, goes up first, and all the tribes of Israel attend them, little Benjamin (so he is called, Psalms 68:27), is too hard for them all. The whole army lays siege to Gibeah, Judges 20:19. The Benjamites advance to raise the siege, and the army prepares to give them a warm reception (Judges 20:20). But between the Benjamites that attacked them in the front with incredible fury, and the men of Gibeah that sallied out upon their rear, they were put into confusion and lost 22,000 men, Judges 20:21. Here were no prisoners taken, for there was no quarter given, but all put to the sword.

_ _ II. Before their second engagement they again asked counsel of God, and more solemnly than before; for they wept before the Lord until evening (Judges 20:23), lamenting the loss of so many brave men, especially as it was a token of God's displeasure and would give occasion to the Benjamites to triumph in the success of their wickedness. Also at this time they did not ask who should go up first, but whether they should go up at all. The intimate a reason why they should scruple to do it, especially now that Providence had frowned upon them, because Benjamin was their brother, and a readiness to lay down their arms if God should so order them. God bade them go up; he allowed the attempt, for, though Benjamin was their brother, he was a gangrened member of their body and must be cut off. Upon this they encouraged themselves, perhaps more in their own strength than in the divine commission, and made a second attempt upon the forces of the rebels, in the same place where the former battle was fought (Judges 20:22), with the hope of retrieving their credit upon the same spot of ground where they had lost it, which they would not superstitiously change, as if there were any thing unlucky in the place. But they were this second time repulsed, with the loss of 18,000 men, Judges 20:25. The former day's loss and this amounted to 40,000, which was just a tenth part of the whole army, and the same number that they had drawn out by lot to fetch victuals, Judges 20:10. They decimated themselves for that service, and now God again decimated them for the slaughter. But what shall we say to these things, that so just and honourable a cause should thus be put to the worst once and again? Were they not fighting God's battle against sin? Had they not his commission? What, and yet miscarry thus! 1. God's judgments are a great deep, and his way is in the sea. Clouds and darkness are often round about him, but judgment and justice are always the habitation of his throne. We may be sure of the righteousness, when we cannot see the reasons, of God's proceedings. 2. God would hereby show them, and us in them, that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, that we are not to confide in numbers, which perhaps the Israelites did with too much assurance. We must never lay the weight on an arm of flesh, which only the Rock of ages will bear. 3. God designed hereby to correct Israel for their sins. They did well to show such a zeal against the wickedness of Gibeah: but were there not with them, even with them, sins against the Lord their God? Those must be made to know their own iniquity that are forward in condemning the iniquity of others. Some think it was a rebuke to them for not witnessing against the idolatry of Micah and the Danites, by which their religion was corrupted, as they now did against the lewdness of Gibeah and the Benjamites, by which the public peace was disturbed, though God had particularly ordered them to levy war upon idolaters, Deuteronomy 13:12, etc. 4. God would hereby teach us not to think it strange if a good cause should suffer defeat fore a while, nor to judge of the merits of it by the success of it. The interest of grace in the heart, and of religion in the world, may be foiled, and suffer great loss, and seem to be quite run down, but judgment will be brought forth to victory at last. Vincimur in praelio, sed non in belloWe are foiled in a battle, but not in the whole campaign. Right may fall, but it shall arise.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Judges 20:18

Children of Israel — Some sent in the name of all. House of God — To Shiloh, which was not far from Mizpeh. Which — This was asked to prevent emulations and contentions: but they do not ask whether they should go against them, or no, for that they knew they ought to do by the will of God already revealed: nor yet do they seek to God for his help by prayer, and fasting, and sacrifice, as in all reason they ought to have done; but were confident of success, because of their great numbers, and righteous cause.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Judges 20:18

And the children of Israel arose, and went up (k) to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah [shall go up] first.

(k) That is, to the ark, which was in Shiloh some think in Mizpeh, as in (Judges 20:1).

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
house of:

Judges 18:31 And they set them up Micah's graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.
Judges 19:18 And he said unto him, We [are] passing from Bethlehemjudah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence [am] I: and I went to Bethlehemjudah, but I [am now] going to the house of the LORD; and there [is] no man that receiveth me to house.
Joshua 18:1 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them.
Joel 1:14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders [and] all the inhabitants of the land [into] the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,

asked:

Judges 20:7 Behold, ye [are] all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.
Judges 20:23 (And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him.)
Judges 20:26-27 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. ... And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God [was] there in those days,
Judges 1:1 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
Numbers 27:5 And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.
Numbers 27:21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask [counsel] for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, [both] he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
Joshua 9:14 And the men took of their victuals, and asked not [counsel] at the mouth of the LORD.

Judah:

Judges 1:1-2 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? ... And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
Genesis 49:8-10 Judah, thou [art he] whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand [shall be] in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. ... The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].
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Gn 49:8. Nu 27:5, 21. Jsh 9:14; 18:1. Jg 1:1; 18:31; 19:18; 20:7, 23, 26. Jol 1:14.

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