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This challenge to have a dozen young men from each side "play" (a euphemism for engaging in mortal combat) was an occasional means of determining the winner in an imminent battle, similar to the contest between David and Goliath. In this case, however, all the initial combatants killed each other, and the battle spread with deadly intensity between the two factions of the children of Israel.
KJV Defenders Study Bible, by Dr. Henry Morris, Ph.D.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
DEF 10 ISBN 0-529-10444-x
DEF 10-1 ISBN 0-529-10445-8