BIBLE READING: Judges 19-21
One could rightly say, “What a mess, and what was a Levite priest doing with a concubine anyway?” The answer is that this is exactly what happens when no one follows God, and everyone does what is right in their own eyes. All the tribes of Israel came to the Benjamites in Gibeah and asked them to send out the men who had committed the crime against the Levite and his concubine. The law was clear in Deuteronomy 13:5 and 21:21 that these rebellious sons had to be brought to justice. If they were found guilty, capital punishment was to be imposed. Even though the people of Benjamin were greatly outnumbered, they wouldn’t yield to what was right. They hardened their hearts and refused to turn over the criminals, instead of choosing civil war. Originally the anger of the tribes of Israel was directed only against the city of Gibeah, where the atrocity took place; but since the city of Gibeah belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, the leaders of that tribe became involved, and all of Benjamin came up against the tribes of Israel. The children of Israel went and wept before the LORD and God heard their prayer and delivered Benjamin into their hands. But there was no need for the complete slaughter described here. This overly severe judgment against the tribe of Benjamin would later be regretted by Israel, and they would make further questionable choices in an effort to salvage the tribe of Benjamin. There was a hint of an effort that the people were trying to do what was right, but they were still, for the most part, operating on their own. Doing the right thing in the wrong way always brings regret and disappointment.