As today’s title suggests, the last five chapters of the book of Judges are, perhaps, some of the most difficult to comprehend. Don’t get me wrong, they are very straight forward chapters. They present the stories of a people seemingly without rule. In fact, the Word makes if clear on several occasions that “In those days there was no king in Israel,” and in the last verse of the book, He adds, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Lets see, what happens when everyone does what is right in his own eyes? A quick inventory of the events that happen in the last five chapters:
1. Micah makes idols out of silver.
2. Micah invites a traveling Levite to stay with him and become his household priest, and worse, the Levite agrees. Now a priest to idols.
3. One of the families of the tribe of Dan was seeking an inheritance, to be clear, some real estate on which to settle. They sent spies, found Micah’s priest, recognized him, and asked him to ask God if their journey would be prosperous. It is interesting to note that the priest did not inquire to God, but simply spoke a blessing over them.
4. The spies find a “secure” people in Laish: secure in the sense that they do not feel threatened by anything so they have no defenses. The spies return to report they have found the right real estate and it is theirs for the taking — there will be no resistance.
5. The Danite family heads out to take the city of Laish. On the way, they stop at Micah’s, take the priest and Micah’s idols then proceed on to Laish where they adopt the idols and carved and molded images as their gods.
6. (Here begins a very sad story). A levite took a concubine from Bethlehem. She left him and went back to Bethlehem and lived adulterously. The Levite waits four months and goes to Bethlehem to try to woo her back. He succeeds. On the way back home, they stop in Gibeah, a city in the tribe of Benjamin. No one from Gibeah takes them in, so a stranger staying there does. While there, some vile men from Gibeah come to the house so they might “know” the Levite. The stranger protects the Levite, but send out the Levite’s concubine. They then proceed to rape her all night. In the morning, she is found dead at the door. So the Levite takes her home, cuts her in twelve pieces and sends them to each tribal region in Israel. (whew)
7. Israel is angry at such a horrible thing, and unites as one (minus Benjamin) to bring about justice for the Levite and his dead wife.
8. Israel fights against Benjamin. Benjamin wins two days of battle and kills 40,000 Israelite men. Israel wins the third day and kills 25,100 Benjamites in the main battle, then 18,000 more in the battle at the city of Gibeah.
9. Israel feels bad for Benjamin, fearing they will be cut off (extinct) because they now have no wives, so they went to the city Jabesh Gilead and killed all the males, women and children, except for the virgins. They found 400 virgins and brought them back to be wives for the Tribe mof Benjamin.
10. 400 wasn’t enough, so they went to Shiloh during a festival, and kidnapped virgins who were dancing in vineyards as part of the festival. They came up with the bright idea to tell the fathers and brothers of these girls, “please be kind to us, you don’t have to feel bad. After all, its not like you gave your daughters/sisters to us, so your conscience is clear.”
To all of is, the first thing that pops into my head, and in today’s vernacular is, “Really???”. I haven’t gone back to map it one-to-one, but it seems like all ten commandments were broken in these ten events in Judges. Go figure.
Thank God He has given us a permanent Ruler, the Prince or Peace, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. I know that some day, after the rapture, this type of behavior will be the norm. In some ways, the world seems to be growing more and more like Israel when “there was no king in those days.”
Lord, write Your Word on our hearts that we may walk in Your statues and not need an earthly king to govern our behavior. Jesus, take control of our hearts that we may walk in Your Path and love our neighbors with Your love.
In Jesus Name.