Judges part 8 19-21

 

Tonight will be our last lesson from the book of Judges as we take a look at the last 3 chapters of this book. As we have seen the book of Judges was a very dark time for the children of Israel because they kept falling away from God and doing what was right in their own eye. Well, in these last 3 chapter we will once again see how total kayos occurs when men being to do things their way. Lets begin the horrible story starting in,

 

Judges 19:1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.2 But his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him to her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there four whole months.3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back, having his servant and a couple of donkeys with him. So she brought him into her father's house; and when the father of the young woman saw him, he was glad to meet him.4 Now his father-in-law, the young woman's father, detained him; and he stayed with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there.5 Then it came to pass on the fourth day that they arose early in the morning, and he stood to depart; but the young woman's father said to his son-in-law, "Refresh your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way."6 So they sat down, and the two of them ate and drank together. Then the young woman's father said to the man, "Please be content to stay all night, and let your heart be merry."7 And when the man stood to depart, his father-in-law urged him; so he lodged there again.8 Then he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, but the young woman's father said, "Please refresh your heart." So they delayed until afternoon; and both of them ate.9 And when the man stood to depart -- he and his concubine and his servant -- his father-in-law, the young woman's father, said to him, "Look, the day is now drawing toward evening; please spend the night. See, the day is coming to an end; lodge here, that your heart may be merry. Tomorrow go your way early, so that you may get home."10 However, the man was not willing to spend that night; so he rose and departed, and came to opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). With him were the two saddled donkeys; his concubine was also with him.

 

So here we have this Levite who had this wife who went of and sinned and ran to her fathers house for 4 months. He goes to get his wife back and for whatever reason her father keeps finding ways to keep them there. Well finally the Levite has had enough of these delays and so he and his wife leave.

 

Judges 19:11 They were near Jebus, and the day was far spent; and the servant said to his master, "Come, please, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and lodge in it."12 But his master said to him, "We will not turn aside here into a city of foreigners, who are not of the children of Israel; we will go on to Gibeah."13 So he said to his servant, "Come, let us draw near to one of these places, and spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah."

 

You see the Jebusiteswere Canaanites and this Levite didnít want have any part of staying in one of their cities so they pressed to stay at city that belonged to the children of Israel.

 

Judges 19:14 And they passed by and went their way; and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin.15 They turned aside there to go in to lodge in Gibeah. And when he went in, he sat down in the open square of the city, for no one would take them into his house to spend the night.16 Just then an old man came in from his work in the field at evening, who also was from the mountains of Ephraim; he was staying in Gibeah, whereas the men of the place were Benjamites.17 And when he raised his eyes, he saw the traveler in the open square of the city; and the old man said, "Where are you going, and where do you come from?"18 So he said to him, "We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah toward the remote mountains of Ephraim; I am from there. I went to Bethlehem in Judah; now I am going to the house of the LORD. But there is no one who will take me into his house,19 "although we have both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and bread and wine for myself, for your female servant, and for the young man who is with your servant; there is no lack of anything."20 And the old man said, "Peace be with you! However, let all your needs be my responsibility; only do not spend the night in the open square."21 So he brought him into his house, and gave fodder to the donkeys. And they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

 

The Levite must of thought it was awfully odd that he could not find anyone to take them in because it wasnít like he needed any food for his animals or for himself they just needed a place to stay for the night. Now we need to realize thatthe custom of that day was when a stranger came into your city it very common for people to let that stranger stay with themfor the night and many times they would even feed them and allow them to wash up. They had thought they were going to have to spend the night in the open until this one man gives them hospitality then what happens next is horrible.

 

Judges 19:22 As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, "Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!"23 But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, "No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage.24 "Look, here is my virgin daughter and the man's concubine; let me bring them out now. Humble them, and do with them as you please; but to this man do not do such a vile thing!"25 But the men would not heed him. So the man took his concubine and brought her out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until morning; and when the day began to break, they let her go.26 Then the woman came as the day was dawning, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was, till it was light.27 When her master arose in the morning, and opened the doors of the house and went out to go his way, there was his concubine, fallen at the door of the house with her hands on the threshold.28 And he said to her, "Get up and let us be going." But there was no answer. So the man lifted her onto the donkey; and the man got up and went to his place.29 When he entered his house he took a knife, laid hold of his concubine, and divided her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel.30 And so it was that all who saw it said, "No such deed has been done or seen from the day that the children of Israel came up from the land of Egypt until this day. Consider it, confer, and speak up!"

 

This was a horrible thing that happened and reminds me a great deal of what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. What I have hard time understanding is why a Father would suggest offering up his daughter or why a husband would allow his wife to take his place. As we read the end result was that a horrible sin had taken place and now the Levites wife was dead. What happened on that night would not go unnoticed as we will see in the next 2 chapters.

 

In Chapter 20:1-11 all of the children of Israel gather together at Mizpah and their 400,000 soldiers and they wanted to know about this wicked deed that the people ofBenjamin. The Levite explains the story to them and then they pick an army by lot to go up against this city and to destroy those who were guilty of this crime.

 

Judges 20:12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, "What is this wickedness that has occurred among you?13 "Now therefore, deliver up the men, the perverted men who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove the evil from Israel!" But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel.14 Instead, the children of Benjamin gathered together from their cities to Gibeah, to go to battle against the children of Israel.15 And from their cities at that time the children of Benjamin numbered twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who numbered seven hundred select men.16 Among all this people were seven hundred select men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair's breadth and not miss.17 Now besides Benjamin, the men of Israel numbered four hundred thousand men who drew the sword; all of these were men of war.

 

First they tried to do it this easy by asking for these wicked men to be turned over but no they decided they wanted to defend these menís evil ways and a battle was about to happen.

 

Judges 20:18 Then the children of Israel arose and went up to the house of God to inquire of God. They said, "Which of us shall go up first to battle against the children of Benjamin?" The LORD said, "Judah first!"19 So the children of Israel rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah.20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel put themselves in battle array to fight against them at Gibeah.21 Then the children of Benjamin came out of Gibeah, and on that day cut down to the ground twenty-two thousand men of the Israelites.

 

Now they do inquire of God of who should go but they fail in their attempt the first time and lose 22,000 men.

 

Judges 20:22 And the people, that is, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and again formed the battle line at the place where they had put themselves in array on the first day.23 Then the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until evening, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, "Shall I again draw near for battle against the children of my brother Benjamin?" And the LORD said, "Go up against him."24 So the children of Israel approached the children of Benjamin on the second day.25 And Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah on the second day, and cut down to the ground eighteen thousand more of the children of Israel; all these drew the sword.26 Then all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of God and wept. They sat there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

 

Once again they ask God if they should go against them again and once again the men of Benjamin kill 18,000 more of them and so the children of Israel weep and then they offering up burnt offerings and the fast before the Lord. Now you might be wondering why did God tell them to go against these men and thenthey were defeated these 2 times? Well, the Bible doesnít give us that information specifically and so I could only speculate. It is possible that even though they asked God if and who should against them they didnít ask how they should go against them and they had too much confidence in their numbers. Whatever the reason was we can know that God had a reason for it even if we ourselves donít know what it is.

 

Judges 20:27 So the children of Israel inquired of the LORD (the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, "Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?" And the LORD said, "Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand."29 Then Israel set men in ambush all around Gibeah.30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in battle array against Gibeah as at the other times.31 So the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city. They began to strike down and kill some of the people, as at the other times, in the highways (one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah) and in the field, about thirty men of Israel.32 And the children of Benjamin said, "They are defeated before us, as at first." But the children of Israel said, "Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways."33 So all the men of Israel rose from their place and put themselves in battle array at Baal Tamar. Then Israel's men in ambush burst forth from their position in the plain of Geba.34 And ten thousand select men from all Israel came against Gibeah, and the battle was fierce. But the Benjamites did not know that disaster was upon them.35 The LORD defeated Benjamin before Israel. And the children of Israel destroyed that day twenty-five thousand one hundred Benjamites; all these drew the sword. ††

You see this time when they inquired of the Lord, he tells them that will defeat their enemy today. This again shows us that God is in control. It interesting that these men use same technique that Joshua did on the city of AI. They drew the men away from their city and then those laying in background come out and they destroy the city and with God help they destroy 25100 men that day.

 

Now verses 36-48 gives these details of what happens during this battle. We also learn that 600 men escaped and that the children of Israel went around burning their cities and killing men and beast that were found within these cities. The battle was over and the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out.

 

Judges 21:1 Now the men of Israel had sworn an oath at Mizpah, saying, "None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife."2 Then the people came to the house of God, and remained there before God till evening. They lifted up their voices and wept bitterly,3 and said, "O LORD God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that today there should be one tribe missing in Israel?"

 

Nowthey put themselves into a bind when they make this oathbecause now they donít want the tribe of Benjamin to cease to exist but they canít help them grow because of this oath so now they will shed more blood to remedy the problem.

 

Judges 21:4 So it was, on the next morning, that the people rose early and built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.5 The children of Israel said, "Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up with the assembly to the LORD?" For they had made a great oath concerning anyone who had not come up to the LORD at Mizpah, saying, "He shall surely be put to death."6 And the children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their brother, and said, "One tribe is cut off from Israel today.7 "What shall we do for wives for those who remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them our daughters as wives?"8 And they said, "What one is there from the tribes of Israel who did not come up to Mizpah to the LORD?" And, in fact, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh Gilead to the assembly.9 For when the people were counted, indeed, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead was there.10 So the congregation sent out there twelve thousand of their most valiant men, and commanded them, saying, "Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword, including the women and children.11 "And this is the thing that you shall do: You shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has known a man intimately."12 So they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known a man intimately; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.13 Then the whole congregation sent word to the children of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and announced peace to them.14 So Benjamin came back at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh Gilead; and yet they had not found enough for them.

 

So out of all of this blood shed they only get 400 virgins for the tribe of Benjamin but this still doesnít fix the problem.

 

Judges 21:14 So Benjamin came back at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh Gilead; and yet they had not found enough for them.15 And the people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a void in the tribes of Israel.16 Then the elders of the congregation said, "What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since the women of Benjamin have been destroyed?"17 And they said, "There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe may not be destroyed from Israel.18 "However, we cannot give them wives from our daughters, for the children of Israel have sworn an oath, saying, 'Cursed be the one who gives a wife to Benjamin.' "

 

So what are they going to do? Well, they are going to find a creative way to get around their oath.

 

Judges 21:19 Then they said, "In fact, there is a yearly feast of the LORD in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah."20 Therefore they instructed the children of Benjamin, saying, "Go, lie in wait in the vineyards,21 "and watch; and just when the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, then come out from the vineyards, and every man catch a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh; then go to the land of Benjamin.22 "Then it shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, that we will say to them, 'Be kind to them for our sakes, because we did not take a wife for any of them in the war; for it is not as though you have given the women to them at this time, making yourselves guilty of your oath.' "23 And the children of Benjamin did so; they took enough wives for their number from those who danced, whom they caught. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and they rebuilt the cities and dwelt in them.24 So the children of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family; they went out from there, every man to his inheritance.

 

Do you like they bent the rules. You see technically they didnít give their daughters or wives to the tribe of Benjamin because they kidnapped them while they turned the other way. But hopefully you and I can see that they did break their vow even though they didnít specifically give them to them they set it up so that they could take them and even told them to take them and in my book that is the same giving them to them. You know this is concept that kids adults try to pull off all of the time. For instance you might tell a child not to run around the church building so what do they do they will skip instead going the same speed but when you tell them to stop they say I wasnít running I was skipping you didnít tell me I couldnít skip. Other do this with the word of God. They say well the Bible doesnít specifically say I canít use this drug or that drug so it should be ok. But of course we should know that these are clever ways that people try to justify a wrong but I can promise God will not allow you to play that game with him. So lets us be careful not to try bend rules or find loop hole when it comes to justifying a sin in our life. Well the last verse sums up the books of Judges very well.

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

 

Ihope you have enjoyed this on the book of Judges and you have learned just how far mankind will move away from God and the horrible things they will do when do things that seemright in their own eyes. I hope we can learn from the book of Judges how important it is that we regulate our lives by the perfect will of God. If we choose to serve him will all our heart, soul and mind we can rest assured that he will be there for us when we need him and we will know for sure that we will have a home in heaven one day.