Judges 20

Judges 20 has the response to the ungodly acts committed in the city of Benjamin.  “Then all the people of Israel came out….400,000 men on foot that drew the sword”.  Each tribe had received a limb or part of the concubine of the Levite and they all gather and ask “Tell us, how did this evil happen”?  There was unanimous agreement that it was unacceptable.  “And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered” their question and gave them the details they needed to understand the atrocity that had occurred.

“The leaders of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house against me by night. They meant to kill me, and they violated my concubine, and she is dead”.  He gives the background story and then says “I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel, for they have committed abomination and outrage in Israel”.  He admits to using uncommon means to get everyone’s attention.  And it worked as “all the men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man”.

So they show up in force and ask the Benjaminites to “give up the men, the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and purge evil from Israel….but the Benjaminites would not listen”.  They stubbornly refuse and “came together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the people of Israel”.  They had 26,000 men plus 700 chosen men up against the 400,000 men who drew the sword for Israel.  Not really fair numbers, but it was the way it went.  The people of Israel inquired of God who should lead the attack and were told by God that “Judah shall go up first”.  It was not a good day as 22,000 Israelite warriors died that day.

They seek God again and are told to go to battle but 18,000 fall the second time.  “The whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept”.  This is just not going according to plan.  So they seek God yet a third time, after 40,000 of their comrades, 10% of the total, has perished in battle.  God tells them that the third time will be the charm and they attack again and this time defeat the troops from Benjamin and kill 25,100 men that day.  Some escape, but they take the city and burn the towns in victory.  God tested their faithfulness to follow His direction, even when it didn’t go as expected the first two times.  Obedience doesn’t end if it doesn’t go our way.  Obedience never ends!

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