God’s Law Commanded Death

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.

Judges 20:12-23 (English Standard Version)

And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, "What evil is this that has taken place among you? Now therefore 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 to the voice of their brothers, the people of Israel. Then the people of Benjamin came together out of the cities to Gibeah to go out to battle against the people of Israel. And the people of Benjamin mustered out of their cities on that day 26,000 men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who mustered 700 chosen men. Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. And the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered 400,000 men who drew the sword; all these were men of war. The people of Israel arose and went up to Bethel and inquired of God, "Who shall go up first for us to fight against the people of Benjamin?" And the LORD said, "Judah shall go up first." Then the people of Israel rose in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. And the men of Israel went out to fight against Benjamin, and the men of Israel drew up the battle line against them at Gibeah. The people of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and destroyed on that day 22,000 men of the Israelites. But the people, the men of Israel, took courage, and again formed the battle line in the same place where they had formed it on the first day. And the people of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until the evening. And they inquired of the LORD, "Shall we again draw near to fight against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?" And the LORD said, "Go up against them."

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