Judges 21

Final Thoughts on Judges

  So, let’s see if I have this right.  A man’s concubine is raped and murdered by some men from the tribe of Benjamin. Looking for justice, the man rallies the other tribes and they make some rash vows and form an army to confront the tribe of Benjamin demanding that they turn over the men who committed this crime but the tribe of Benjamin refuses. The united tribes decide to attack the tribe of Benjamin but they are turned back a couple of times with great loss.  Finally, however, the other tribes are victorious and all but 600 Benjaminites are killed.  Almost immediately afterwards the united tribes are remorseful and asking, why has this happened?  Really? Is that how one takes responsibility for their actions? Now, realizing that they have almost wiped out one of the tribes of Israel, they decide to fix the problem but they realize they have made a couple of vows that stand in the way.  They conclude the remaining 600 men of Benjamin need wives but they vowed in their anger not to give their daughters in marriage to a Benjaminite.  What to do? Well, unfortunately, they made another vow.  They vowed that if any tribe, clan, or city did not go with them in battle that they would put them to death.  Talk about peer pressure!

 They soon find that there is a group of people who did not go with them so they decide to kill all the people in that city but leave the virgin girls alive taking them captive and giving them to the 600 remaining men of Benjamin as wives. Problem solved. Well, except for one detail.  There were only 400 girls and there were 600 men who needed wives. In my math that is about 200 short, and there are no other girls available because of the vow they took. Of course, massacring an entire city because of a rash vow could be a problem, but that isn’t even a consideration by them at this point.

 No problem they thought. We can get around the vow with a little legal wrangling. They decided to have the 200 men come to a feast at Shiloh, the place where the tabernacle was set up.  Remember, the tabernacle represented God dwelling with the nation.  The plan was that when the feast started and the virgin girls from the other tribes went out to dance, the 200 men would each come and take a girl for his wife. Now, they reasoned, since the fathers of the girls did not technically give the girls to be their wives, they were not breaking the vow they had made.  Pretty clever huh?  And to think, they did all this right before God’s eyes!

 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25 NASB

 Uh, do you think getting a king will help?

I guess we will find out as we read on.

Grace and Peace

Pastor Dave