Judges 21

Judges 21 reveals the mistake that the Israelites had made in their vengeance against the tribe of Benjamin.  At Mizpah, a curse is laid on anyone who gives their daughter as wives for the tribe of Benjamin.  They had just wiped out 25,000 men and their women and children and now the light bulb goes on that this tribe is on the brink of extinction.  So while they had just destroyed the majority of the tribe of Benjamin, now they are having remorse and want to find a way to help them remain alive.

So they have to find a way to try and fix the problem they have created, which was basically the reality there were no women left for the 600 or so Benjaminite men who had fled and were still alive.  They decide to destroy the city of Jabesh Gilead and take their young women to become wives for these men.  They sent 12,000 warriors to go and attack the city and they returned with 400 virgins which were given to the men of Benjamin.  But there were not enough to go around, so they still had a problem.

There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe not be blotted out from Israel”.  You would think that it would have been wiser to consider that reality before they killed most of the tribe. But they didn’t, and now they continue to be focused on trying to fix the real issue they had created.  They answered the problem of wives for the remaining Benjaminites by creating a little drama where the Benjaminites were allowed to “kidnap” women (who were not doubt willing), so that the marriages could be arranged without “official” approval from the daughters of Shiloh.

And the people of Benjamin did so and took their wives, according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried off”.  The plan worked, and each man now has a wife.  The chapter ends with: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”.  Generally, the 400-year period of the Judges was marked by this radical individualism. They rejected the standard of God’s word and accepted the individual standard of what was right in their own eyes.  It is the wrong approach, and God does not accept that as a lifestyle He will bless.

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