Have you ever had that moment when you get caught in wonder over something you just did? It may have been awe over something you accomplished (probably with God’s help). Or disappointing regret over something you wished you could change back. Could that be what our Israelites are feeling in this text?
Certainly, the realization that the tribe of Benjamin would likely die off now that you’ve killed all their women. Only a remnant of men are now living, but for how long while they’re in hiding. It got real. Real fast. “O Lord, God of Israel,” they cried out, “why has this happened in Israel? Now one of our tribes is missing from Israel!”
If at first you don’t succeed…you know the drill. We don’t give up, we try again! And that’s what the Israelites did with great success. Whose victory was it really? Here’s a clue. “So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin.”
God didn’t raise up a spiritual or military leader to fight this battle. The Israelites banded together for a common goal. From the sounds of it, their tactics were a bit crafty and worked well. The warriors from Benjamin were afraid. “The Israelites surrounded the men of Benjamin and chased them relentlessly, finally overtaking them east of Gibeah.”
I have to say I was glad to see that the unified Israelites tried to give their relatives of Benjamin the opportunity to do the right thing. It would have been so much easier if they had simply given up those men in Gibeah. For some reason, they were protecting their own and decided that warfare was the better option.
Being the non-confrontational person I am, these kinds of stories don’t appeal to me. I would much rather settle differences by talking to find a reasonable compromise. There must be a lesson to learn from these days of fighting. Let’s dig in and figure it out!
This story is a continuation of the one in Chapter 19 in that it responds to the horrific events. It seems that despite the fact that sinfulness was running rampant among the Israelites, the assault on human dignity displayed in Gibeah was too much.
We hear that “all the Israelites were united as one man,” but that “all” did not include the tribe of Benjamin. Being that Gibeah was located in the land of Benjamin, it would be a “conflict of interest.” Benjamin was now the target of their aggression.
I couldn’t believe what I read in this text. I thought about splitting up the chapter, but having read the whole thing today knew I wouldn’t want to put off writing about this for one minute.
I know there are texts that are awesome and amazing to write about. I’ve found them on my journey through the Bible with you. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Old Testament or New Testament, there are gems galore. This is not a gem today. In fact, this is the UGLIEST rock I’ve ever seen (if we stay with that analogy.) So what did you think of this?