“Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it” (Our Daily Bread, December, 1986).
The guilty ones were named and sent for but the Benjamites rejected the request of the other tribes to surrender those wicked men of Gibeah for execution in order to purge the evil (vv. 12-13). Benjamin, because of pride, apparently felt that he could manage their own affairs and punish their own offenders. In other words, what right had the rest of Israel to meddle with their internal concerns. They were more loyal to their own tribe than to God’s law. Therefore Israel took the final step and attacked Gibeah.
The Benjamites mobilized 26,000 swordsmen who were perhaps no match for Israel’s 400,000 experienced soldiers to fight against them (vv. 14-17). The Israelites went up to the house of God at Bethel and asked counsel of God as to which tribe should take the lead to battle against the Benjamites? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first (v. 18). It seems like over-whelming odds but the initial victories went to the smaller forces of Benjamin due largely to the superior skills of the stone-slingers and the fact they were familiar with their own territory. To Israel’s amazement the Benjamites fought like tigers and 22,000 Israelites were slain in this first battle (vv. 19-21).
Israel went up to Bethel and wept as she sought counsel of the Lord (v. 22). (It seems that at the time of this crisis between the tribes that the Ark of the Covenant may have been moved to Bethel from its usual place in Shiloh.) However her tears were out of pride and not of godly sorrow. She inquired whether they should continue to battle against the Benjamites and the Lord’s answer was “Go up against them” (v.23).
Just as the tribe of Benjamin was proud and wanted to take care of their own problems I can become too proud to let the Lord handle my problems. I need to have each member of my family share an experience where they have taken something into their own hands when they should have turned it over to the Lord.
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Judges 17:1-6Micah Makes a Pagan Shrine
Judges 17:7-13Guided by convenience rather than conviction
Judges 18:1-11The Danites Search for New Territory
Judges 18:12-31The Danites Seize Laish
Judges 19:1-10The Desertion of the Levite Concubine
Judges 19:11-21Full Hospitality for Weary Travelers
Judges 19:22-30The Results of Sexual Perversion
Judges 20:1-11Judgment Must be Rendered
Judges 20:12-23God’s Law Commanded Death
Judges 20:24-35The Horrors of a Civil War
Judges 20:36-48Tricked into Surrender
Judges 21:1-12The Remorse of the Israelites
Judges 21:13-25The Ruthless Mind of Man