Judges 20:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 20:26, NIV: 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.

Judges 20:26, ESV: Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

Judges 20:26, KJV: 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.

Judges 20:26, NASB: Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel, and they wept and remained there before the LORD, and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

Judges 20:26, NLT: Then all the Israelites went up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the LORD and fasted until evening. They also brought burnt offerings and peace offerings to the LORD.

Judges 20:26, CSB: The whole Israelite army went to Bethel where they wept and sat before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord.

What does Judges 20:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

For the second time in two days, the armies of eleven of Israel's twelve tribes have experienced devastating loss. The remaining tribe, Benjamin, has now killed nearly one in ten—almost exactly one in eleven—of the original forces sent against them. This, despite the Benjaminites being outnumbered by fifteen-to-one at the start of the conflict (Judges 20:12–17). The warriors of Benjamin, defending the town of Gibeah, have killed more enemy troops than they themselves had soldiers to begin with. No mention is made of losses on Benjamin's side, though they clearly are having no trouble holding their positions.

After the first defeat, Israelite leaders sent a delegation to Bethel, which was then the location of the ark of the covenant (Judges 20:27). This would have been relatively close to Gibeah. There they seemed to ask God if they should be pursuing this war, at all (Judges 20:18–23). The army remained behind, battle lines formed, ready to attack again.

Following the second setback, it seems no new lines are formed. Instead, the entire army and all the people travel to Bethel together. Everyone mourns over their losses and defeat. They sit in vast numbers around Bethel, in an attitude of prayer and seeking God's will. The entire nation fasts until nightfall. They offer burnt offerings and peace offerings.

The combined forces of the eleven tribes were already unified in their resolve to bring justice to the guilty men of Gibeah. Now they are unified in supplication of God and worshipping Him. The people have joined to secure God's help in overcoming their loss and frustration.