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JUDGES SERIES – CHAPTERS 20 & 21 (THE DESOLATION OF THE BENJAMINITES)

September 29, 2018

Judges chapters 20 – 21 shared the continued horrendous story of the slain concubine and the consequences of civil war that befell the tribe of Benjamin for their acceptance of this tragic event.

All of the tribes of Israel except the tribe of Benjamin responded to the Levite by gathering at Mizpeh, and when questioned the Levite lied and told half-truths. He told them the men of Gibeah attempted to kill him, and he did not admit his act of spousal abuse by forcing the concubine to go outside to be sexually abused.

After his recounting, Israel pledged to avenge the slain women. First they gave the Benjaminites the opportunity to turn over the rapists to be put to death; however, they refused to do so. Instead, they gathered thirty-three thousand warriors from their tribe with seven hundred men being left-handed sling throwing, never missing target individuals.

Prior to the battle, Israel consulted God at Bethel concerning the battle formation, and they received instructions for Judah to take the lead. The battle ensued, and Israel was defeated. Israel again inquired of God what to do and was told, “Go up against him.” This ended in Israel’s defeat with the accumulation of forty thousand of their four hundred thousand warriors being slain during the two consecutive days of fighting.

Consequently, after the second day of defeat, all the Israelites went up to the House of God, wept, fasted, offered burnt and peace offerings and inquired of God what they were to do. God said, “Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver them into thine hand.”

Once again Israel entered into the battle dividing its army into three divisions with two ambushes set in place. They tricked the Benjaminite warriors and won the battle with twenty-five thousand Benjaminite warriors being slain, cities burnt to the ground, animals and possessions destroyed, and all of their woman and children massacred. Six hundred Benjaminite men remained alive and were able to escape into the wilderness to the rock Rimmon where they stayed for four months.

Prior to the battle, Israel had sworn not to give their daughters in marriage to a Benjaminite; hence, with the conclusion of the battle Israel came to House of God and lamented over the devastating fate and near extermination of the Benjaminites. Thus, a plan was instituted to rebuild this tribe. Since the men of Jabesh-Gilead had not participated in the battle, Israel staged war with them, massacred the inhabitants except four hundred virgins who were given to the surviving Benjaminites. Plus, the Benjaminites with the suggestion and approval of Israel, captured two hundred virgins at the festival of Shiloh to become the wives of those men who did not have a wife.

Unfortunately, the book of Judges ended with this statement, “In those days (there was) no king in Israel: every man did (that which was) right in his own eyes.” This statement highlighted the moral and social anarchy of the time.

Conclusion: In keeping with God’s instruction given to Moses in Deuteronomy, “To put away the evil person from among you” (Deuteronomy 22:25-26). The leaders of Israel only wanted the rapists of the concubine to be answerable for their action but the Benjaminites refused to comply, and a civil war occurred.

When left unchecked sin will pollute the land.

Having experienced defeat for two consecutive days, all of Israel humbled themselves, wept, fasted, offered sacrifices and sought God. Prior to this, only a selected number went to inquire of God and Israel thought because they were attempting to purge the land of the rapist that God would be pleased with them and cause them to be victorious. They overlooked their sins, but God did not. When all the people sought God then He had mercy on them and favored them in the next battle.

Seven hundred Benjaminites warriors were ambidextrous and had incredible accuracy with the sling.

The result of sin was carnage and destruction for the Benjaminites and the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead for after making a rash vow about not marrying their daughters to a Benjaminites, to prevent the possible extinction of the tribe of Benjamin, Israel secured four hundred virgins of Jabesh-Gilead by slaughtering the citizens of a city.

Some battles will leave your defeated and bloody. Plus, sometimes in battle, the enemy will beat you more than once.

Despite all of their negative experiences, Israel continued in their rebellion.

Spiritual application: Acknowledge sin.

Report the truth.

Refuse to align yourself with the workers of iniquity.

Think carefully and slowly. Don’t make rash and hurried decisions.

Validate information prior to making a judgment.

Give men the opportunity to do the right thing before you pass judgment on them.

Know when to fight and when to surrender.

Seek counsel from God prior to making moves.

Though you suffer defeat, don’t give up for some battles are not won in a day.

Be watchful; somethings are meant to be misleading.

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From → JUDGES SERIES

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