Judges 17-21 Understanding the Times - Kay Arthur
Judges 19-21 A Levite and his concubine - Ron Daniel
Judges 20:1-21:25 - J Vernon McGee- Mp3's
BELOW ARE LINKS TO
|Judges 21:1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, "None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin in marriage."
CHAPTER 21 The Repentance About Benjamin
A tribe of the nation was almost entirely exterminated. Then the oath they had made not to give their daughters to wife to the Benjamites left assured the complete extinction of the tribe. The dreadful work they had done dawned suddenly upon them and weeping before Jehovah they said, "Why is this come to pass in Israel that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel ?" The answer surely was, it came to pass on account of their departure from God and their sins. Thus people ask when they behold the scenes of bloodshed and war, as we see in our times, why is this? and are even ready to blame God, instead of thinking of sin and its curse. Then once more they acted themselves and committed another deed of violence. Jabesh-Gilead is destroyed; only four hundred virgins are saved. These were given to the Benjamites. But what hypocrisy they showed in having a feast of Jehovah and commanding the Benjamites to steal the daughters of Shiloh ! Failure and decline is written in this book. God's faithfulness towards His people whom He loves is not less prominent.
NOW THE MEN OF ISRAEL HAD SWORN IN MIZPAH SAYING, "NONE OF US SHALL GIVE HIS DAUGHTER TO BENJAMIN IN MARRIAGE: (had sworn -Jdg 20:1,8,10; Je 4:2) (None of us - Jdg 21:5; 11:30,31; 1Sa 14:24,28,29; Eccl 5:2; Mk 6:23; Acts 23:12; Ro 10:2) (daughter - Ex 34:12, 13, 14, 15, 16; Dt 7:2,3)
THREE THEOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL LESSONS FROM JUDGES:
Sworn (saba') , to make to swear an oath. This vow (Click for ISBE article on vow), probably taken in the name of the Lord, was not an ordinary vow but invoked a curse on oneself if the vow was broken.
Once again a hasty vow leads to trouble. In his zeal to assure victory, Jephthah vowed to offer a human sacrifice to the Lord (Jdg. 11:30). In the same way, the Israelites' hasty vow here leads to atrocities being committed against Israelite women on a mass scale. Just as Jephthah's daughter's dance of celebration was turned into tragedy and mourning (Jdg 11:34), so the Shilonite girls' dancing (in Jdg 11:20) was interrupted as they were abducted from their families (Jdg 11:23). This theme of the hasty, foolish oath reappears in 1Samuel 14:24-45, where Saul's vow jeopardizes the life of his heroic son Jonathan.
The Bible emphasizes the importance of keeping one's vow. A vow unfulfilled is worse than a vow never made. While vows do not appear often in the New Testament, Paul made one that involved shaving his head (Acts 18:18).
The apostle Paul came from the tribe of Benjamin. No doubt he was grateful for those four hundred women from Jabesh Gilead (Jdg 21:12) and the two hundred women who were kidnapped at Shiloh, for they kept the tribe alive.
Preacher's Commentary writes that…
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21. Through the extraordinary severity with which the tribes of Israel had carried on the war against Benjamin, this tribe had been reduced to 600 men, and thus brought very near to extermination. Such a conclusion to the sanguinary conflict went to the heart of the congregation. For although, when forming the resolution to punish the unparalleled wickedness of the inhabitants of Gibeah with all the severity of the law, they had been urged on by nothing else than the sacred duty that was binding upon them to root out the evil from their midst, and although the war against the whole tribe of Benjamin was justified by the fact that they had taken the side of the culprits, and had even received the approval of the Lord; there is no doubt that in the performance of this resolution, and the war that was actually carried on, feelings of personal revenge had disturbed the righteous cause in consequence of the defeat which they had twice sustained at the hands of the Benjaminites, and had carried away the warriors into a war of extermination which was neither commanded by the law nor justified by the circumstances, and had brought about the destruction of a whole tribe from the twelve tribes of the covenant nation with the exception of a small vanishing remnant. When the rash deed was done, the congregation began most bitterly to repent. And with repentance there was awakened the feeling of brotherly love, and also a sense of duty to provide for the continuance of the tribe, which had been brought so near to destruction, by finding wives for those who remained, in order that the small remnant might grow into a vigorous tribe again.
Judg. 21:1-14. The proposal to find wives for the six hundred Benjaminites who remained was exposed to this difficulty, that the congregation had sworn at Mizpeh (as is supplemented in v. 1 to the account in Judg. 20:1–9) that no one should give his daughter to a Benjaminite as a wife. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:2, 3. After the termination of the war, the people, i.e., the people who had assembled together for the war (see v. 9), went again to Bethel (see at Judg. 20:18, 26), to weep there for a day before God at the serious loss which the war had brought upon the congregation. Then they uttered this lamentation: “Why, O Lord God of Israel, is this come to pass in Israel, that a tribe is missing to-day from Israel?” This lamentation involved the wish that God might show them the way to avert the threatened destruction of the missing tribe, and build up the six hundred who remained. To give a practical expression to this wish, they built an altar the next morning, and offered burnt-offerings and supplicatory offerings upon it (see at Judg. 20:26), knowing as they did that their proposal would not succeed without reconciliation to the Lord, and a return to the fellowship of His grace. There is something apparently strange in the erection of an altar at Bethel, since sacrifices had already been offered there during the war itself (Judg. 20:26), and this could not have taken place without an altar. Why it was erected again, or another one built, is a question which cannot be answered with any certainty. It is possible, however, that the first was not large enough for the number of sacrifices that had to be offered now. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:5. The congregation then resolved upon a plan, through the execution of which a number of virgins were secured for the Benjaminites. They determined that they would carry out the great oath, which had been uttered when the national assembly was called against such as did not appear, upon that one of the tribes of Israel which had not come to the meeting of the congregation at Mizpeh. The deliberations upon this point were opened (Jdg 21: 5) with the question, “Who is he who did not come up to the meeting of all the tribes of Israel, to Jehovah?” In explanation of this question, it is observed at Jdg 21:5, “For the great oath was uttered upon him that came not up to Jehovah to Mizpeh: he shall be put to death.” We learn from this supplementary remark, that when important meetings of the congregation were called, all the members were bound by an oath to appear. The meeting at Mizpeh is the one mentioned in Judg. 20:1ff. The “great oath” consisted in the threat of death in the case of any that were disobedient. To this explanation of the question in v. 5a, the further explanation is added in Jdg 21:6, 7, that the Israelites felt compassion for Benjamin, and wished to avert its entire destruction by procuring wives for such as remained. The word וַיִּנָּחֲמוּ in Jdg 21:6 is attached to the explanatory clause in Jdg 21:5b, and is to be rendered as a pluperfect: “And the children of Israel had shown themselves compassionate towards their brother Benjamin, and said, A tribe is cut off from Israel to-day; what shall we do to them, to those that remain with regard to wives, as we have sworn?” etc. (compare Jdg 21:1). The two thoughts—(1) the oath that those who had not come to Mizpeh should be punished with death (Jdg 21:5b), and (2) anxiety for the preservation of this tribe which sprang from compassion towards Benjamin, and was shown in their endeavour to provide such as remained with wives, without violating the oath that none of them would give them their own daughters as wives—formed the two factors which determined the course to be adopted by the congregation. After the statement of these two circumstances, the question of v. 5a, “Who is the one (only one) of the tribes of Israel which,” etc., is resumed and answered: “Behold, there came no one into the camp from Jabesh in Gilead, into the assembly.” שִׁבְטֵי is used in Jdg 21:8, 5, in a more general sense, as denoting not merely the tribes as such, but the several subdivisions of the tribes.(Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:9. In order, however, to confirm the correctness of this answer, which might possibly have been founded upon a superficial and erroneous observation, the whole of the (assembled) people were mustered, and not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh was found there (in the national assembly at Bethel). The situation of Jabesh in Gilead has not yet been ascertained. This town was closely besieged by the Ammonite Nahash, and was relieved by Saul (1 Sam. 11:1ff.), on which account the inhabitants afterwards showed themselves grateful to Saul (1 Sam. 31:8ff.). Josephus calls Jabesh the metropolis of Gilead (Ant. vi. 5, 1). According to the Onom. (s. v. Jabis), it was six Roman miles from Pella, upon the top of a mountain towards Gerasa. Robinson (Bibl. Res. p. 320) supposes it to be the ruins of ed Deir in the Wady Jabes. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:10ff. To punish this unlawful conduct, the congregation sent 12,000 brave fighting men against Jabesh, with orders to smite the inhabitants of the town with the edge of the sword, together with their wives, and children, but also with the more precise instructions (v. 11), “to ban all the men, and women who had known the lying with man” (i.e., to slay them as exposed to death, which implied, on the other hand, that virgins who had not lain with any man should be spared). The fighting men found 400 such virgins in Jabesh, and brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan. אֹותָם (Jdg 21: 12) refers to the virgins, the masculine being used as the more common genus in the place of the feminine. Shiloh, with the additional clause “in the land of Canaan,” which was occasioned by the antithesis Jabesh in Gilead, as in Josh. 21:2; 22:9, was the usual meeting-place of the congregation, on account of its being the seat of the tabernacle. The representatives of the congregation had moved thither, after the deliberations concerning Jabesh, which were still connected with the war against Benjamin, were concluded.(Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:13. The congregation then sent to call the Benjaminites, who had taken refuge upon the rock Rimmon, and gave them as wives, when they returned (sc., into their own possessions), the 400 virgins of Jabesh who had been preserved alive. “But so they sufficed them not” (כֵּן, so, i.e., in their existing number, 400: Bertheau). In this remark there is an allusion to what follows. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Judges 21:14 And Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had kept alive from the women of Jabesh-gilead; yet they were not enough for them.|
Yet they were not enough for them (Jdg 21:12; 20:47; 1Corinthians 7:2)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:15–25. Of the six hundred Benjaminites who had escaped, there still remained two hundred to be provided with wives. To these the congregation gave permission to take wives by force at a festival at Shiloh. The account of this is once more introduced, with a description of the anxiety felt by the congregation for the continuance of the tribe of Benjamin. Jdg 21:15, 16, and 18 are only a repetition of Jdg 21:6 and Jdg 21:7, with a slight change of expression. The “breach (perez) in the tribes of Israel” had arisen from the almost complete extermination of Benjamin. “For out of Benjamin is (every) woman destroyed,” viz., by the ruthless slaughter of the whole of the people of that tribe (Judg. 20:48). Consequently the Benjaminites who were still unmarried could not find any wives in their own tribe. The fact that four hundred of the Benjaminites who remained were already provided with wives is not noticed here, because it has been stated just before, and of course none of them could give up their own wives to others.. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Judges 21:16 Then the elders of the congregation said, "What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?"|
|Judges 21:17 And they said, "There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe may not be blotted out from Israel.|
An inheritance (Numbers 26:55; 36:7)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:17. Still Benjamin must be preserved as a tribe. The elders therefore said, “Possession of the saved shall be for Benjamin,” i.e., the tribe-land of Benjamin shall remain an independent possession for the Benjaminites who have escaped the massacre, so that a tribe may not be destroyed out of Israel. It was necessary therefore, that they should take steps to help the remaining Benjaminites to wives. The other tribes could not give them their daughters, on account of the oath which has already been mentioned in Jdg 21:1 and Jdg 21:7b and is repeated here (Jdg 21:18). Consequently there was hardly any other course open, than to let the Benjaminites seize upon wives for themselves. And the elders lent them a helping hand by offering them this advice, that at the next yearly festival at Shiloh, at which the daughters of Shiloh carried on dances in the open air (outside the town), they should seize upon wives for themselves from among these daughters, and promising them that when the thing was accomplished they would adjust it peaceably (Jdg 21:19–22). The “feast of Jehovah,” which the Israelites kept from year to year, was one of the three great annual festivals, probably one which lasted seven days, either the passover or the feast of tabernacles,—most likely the former, as the dances of the daughters of Shiloh were apparently an imitation of the dances of the Israelitish women at the Red Sea under the superintendence of Miriam (Ex. 15:20). The minute description of the situation of Shiloh (v. 19), viz., “to the north of Bethel, on the east of the road which rises from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah” (the present village of Lubban, on the north-west of Seilun: see Rob. Pal. iii. p. 89), serves to throw light upon the scene which follows, i.e., to show how the situation of Shiloh was peculiarly fitted for the carrying out of the advice given to the Benjaminites; since, as soon as they had issued from their hiding-places in the vineyards at Shiloh, and seized upon the dancing virgins, they could easily escape into their own land by the neighbouring high-road which led from Bethel to Shechem, without being arrested by the citizens of Shiloh. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:20. The Kethibh וַיְצַו in the singular may be explained on the ground that one of the elders spoke and gave the advice in the name of the others. חָטַף in v. 21 and Ps. 10:9, to seize hold of, or carry off as prey = חָתַף. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:22. “And when the fathers or brethren of the virgins carried off, come to us to chide with us, we (the elders) will say to them (in your name), Present them to us (אֹותָם as in Jdg 21:12); for we did not receive every one his wife through the war (with Jabesh); for ye have not given them to them; how would ye be guilty.” The words “Present them to us,” etc., are to be understood as spoken in the name of the Benjaminites, who were accused of the raid, to the relatives of the virgins who brought the complaint. This explains the use of the pronoun in the first person in חָנּוּנוּ and לָקַחְנוּ, which must not be altered therefore into the third person. The two clauses commencing with כִּי are co-ordinate, and contain two points serving to enforce the request, “Present them,” etc. The first is pleaded in the name of the Benjaminites; the second is adduced, as a general ground on the part of the elders of the congregation, to pacify the fathers and brothers making the complaint, on account of the oath which the Israelites had taken, that none of them would give their daughters as wives to the Benjaminites. The meaning is the following: Ye may have your daughters with the Benjaminites who have taken them by force, for ye have not given them voluntarily, so as to have broken your oath by so doing. In the last clause כָּעֵת has an unusual meaning: “at the time” (or now), i.e., in that case, ye would have been guilty, viz., if ye had given them voluntarily. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:23. The Benjaminites adopted this advice. They took to themselves wives according to their number, i.e., two hundred (according to Jdg 21:12, compared with Judg. 20:47), whom they caught from the dancing daughters of Shiloh, and returned with them into their inheritance, where they rebuilt the towns that had been reduced to ashes, and dwelt therein. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Keil and Delitzsch Commentary…
Judg. 21:24, 25. In Jdg 21:24 and Jdg 21:25, the account of this event is brought to a close with a twofold remark: (1) that the children of Israel, i.e., the representatives of the congregation who were assembled at Shiloh, separated and returned every man into his inheritance to his tribe and family; (2) that at that time there was no king in Israel, and every man was accustomed to do what was right in his own eyes. Whether the fathers or brothers of the virgins who had been carried off brought any complaint before the congregation concerning the raid that had been committed, the writer does not state, simply because this was of no moment so far as the history was concerned, inasmuch as, according to Jdg 21:22, the complaint made no difference in the facts themselves. With the closing remark in Jdg 21:25, however, with which the account returns to its commencement in Judg. 19:1, the prophetic historian sums up his judgment upon the history in the words, “At that time every man did what was right in his own eyes, because there was no king in Israel,” in which the idea is implied, that under the government of a king, who administered right and justice in the kingdom, such things could not possibly have happened. This not only refers to the conduct of the Israelites towards Benjamin in the war, the severity of which was not to be justified (see p. 331), but also to their conduct towards the inhabitants of Jabesh, as described in Judg. 21:5ff. The congregation had no doubt a perfect right, when all the people were summoned to deliberate upon important matters affecting the welfare of the whole nation, to utter the “great oath” against such as failed to appear, i.e., to threaten them with death and carry out this threat upon such as were obstinate; but such a punishment as this could only be justly inflicted upon persons who were really guilty, and had rebelled against the congregation as the supreme power, and could not be extended to women and children unless they had also committed a crime deserving of death. But even if there were peculiar circumstances in the case before us, which have been passed over by our author, who restricts himself simply to points bearing upon the main purpose of the history, but which rendered it necessary that the ban should be inflicted upon all the inhabitants of Jabesh, it was at any rate an arbitrary exemption to spare all the marriageable virgins, and one which could not be justified by the object contemplated, however laudable that object might be. This also applies to the oath taken by the people, that they would not give any of their daughters as wives to the Benjaminites, as well as to the advice given by the elders to the remaining two hundred, to carry off virgins from the festival at Shiloh. However just and laudable the moral indignation may have been, which was expressed in that oath by the nation generally at the scandalous crime of the Gibeites, a crime unparalleled in Israel, and at the favour shown to the culprits by the tribe of Benjamin, the oath itself was an act of rashness, in which there was not only an utter denial of brotherly love, but the bounds of justice were broken through. When the elders of the nation came to a better state of mind, they ought to have acknowledge their rashness openly, and freed themselves and the nation from an oath that had been taken in such sinful haste. “Wherefore they would have acted far more uprightly, if they had seriously confessed their fault and asked forgiveness of God, and given permission to the Benjaminites to marry freely. In this way there would have been no necessity to cut off the inhabitants of Jabesh from their midst by cruelty of another kind” (Buddeus). But if they felt themselves bound in their consciences to keep the oath inviolably, they ought to have commended the matter to the Lord in prayer, and left it to His decision; whereas, by the advice given to the Benjaminites, they had indeed kept the oath in the letter, but had treated it in deed and truth as having no validity whatever. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Judges 21 - p458)
|Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes|
Greek Septuagint (LXX): en tais hemerais ekeinais ouk (absolute negation - absolutely no king of any king, divine or human) en basileus en Israel aner hekastos (each one individually) to euthes (Not found in NT = righteous) en ophthalmois (another translation = enopion = in the face of, in front of) autou epoiei (3SIAI = imperfect tense depicts action occurring over and over!)
IN THOSE DAYS THERE WAS NO KING IN ISRAEL: (No king Jdg 17:6; 18:1; 19:1)
1Sa 8:7 "they have rejected Me from being King" (cp 1Sa 8:22)
If these last chapters teach us anything, they teach that there is no sin committed which affects only one person alone. There is no such thing as victimless sin. Any sin sends ripples into all of society. Do we not see this principle rippling across (and ripping apart) the moral fabric of America! Revival in the Body of Christ is the last bastion of hope for our country. Pray for revival in the true Church.
Proverbs 29:18 sounds a sobering message similar to Jdg 21:25 declaring that…
Charles Wood has an excellent sermon outline on Pr 29:18KJV entitled "No Vision". Here are the opening points of his outline…
Introduction: Sometimes the Scriptures are misused, especially by ignorance. Sometimes those who know the Bible well misuse it in certain places. Usually it is not serious, but rather a right truth from the wrong passage. This often makes us miss some good teaching. This verse is a case in point.
I. Corrected Interpretation
1. “No vision” — failure to see opportunity
2. “People perish” — people are lost and go to hell
1. “Vision” — word which has reference to revelation (word refers to revelation of God’s will through any agent)
2. “Perish” — cast off restraint, become ungovernable
1. The second part of verse 18 gives the clue to interpreting the first
2. Meaning — “Where there is no proclamation of God’s revelation, people cast off restraint and become ungovernable”
(For the complete outline see Wood, C. R. 1984. Sermon Outlines on the Book of Proverbs.: Kregel Publications - well done) (Or see Sermon Outlines on the Book of Proverbs on the Google Book)
Henry Blackaby commenting on Pr 29:18 writes that…
The world operates on vision. God's people live by revelation. The world seeks grand and noble purposes and goals to achieve. People dream up the greatest and most satisfying things in which they can invest their lives. Institutions establish goals and objectives and then organize themselves to achieve them. God's people function in a radically different way. Christians arrange their lives based on the revelation of God, regardless of whether it makes sense to them. God does not ask for our opinion about what is best for our future, our family, our church, or our country. He already knows! What God wants is to get the attention of His people and reveal to us what is on His heart and what is His will, for God's ways are not our ways! (Isa. 55:8, 9).Whenever people do not base their lives on God's revelation, they “cast off restraint.” That is, they do what is right in their own eyes. They set their goals, arrange their agendas, and then pray for God's blessings. (Experiencing God Day by Day)
Warren Wiersbe sees the book of Judges from an interesting prophetic perspective…
A C Gaebelein…
A W Pink…
Block writes that…
EVERYONE DID WHAT WAS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYE: (Pr 29:18) (right - Jdg 18:7; Deut 12:8; Ps 12:4; Pr 3:5; 14:12; Eccl 11:9; Micah 2:1,2)
Moses warned the people before they entered the Promised Land…
Solomon addressed this same problem writing…
They thought that what they were doing was "right" (cp Isa 5:20,21-note) cp What was "righteous" in his own eyes… sounds like "values clarification" or "situation ethics" of the late 20th Century… taking prayer and Bible out of the schools left a void… "no King" (in a manner of speaking). Result? Everyone began to do his own thing. Nike's commercial sadly sums up this pathetic plight of America… "Just do it" (And in late 2009 we see the leading sports face for Nike, Tiger Woods, sadly lived up to this slogan! This would be funny if it were not so tragic and true!) or the beer commercial "You just go around once so grab for all the gusto you can!"
John Witmer writes…
Ryken writes that..
This tragic indictment, first made in Jdg 17:6-note, is repeated in this final verse of the book… so Judges does not seem to end like a fairy tale where "they all lived happily ever after." But in God's wonderful merciful providence there is a "Now" in Ru1:1-note which shines forth as a bright flame of hope in the midst of a crooked & perverse generation who did not know God nor know His power (Jdg 2:10-note contrast w the previous generation Jdg 2:7-note).
A POIGNANT PASSAGE
The book of Judges is vitally important for our post-Christian culture and the relatively somnolent American Church to consider and comprehend for it stands as a vivid, albeit tragic testimony to the fact that most of the nation of Israel continually went astray in their hearts (not all Israel for God always had a believing remnant). In other words their general "direction" (their walk, their conduct) was toward disobedience, not obedience to God's will and way! Centuries later the writer of Hebrews documented Israel's rebellious heart even from the very beginning. In Hebrews 3:10 (note) we see that the first generation of Israel, despite experiencing the miraculous Divine deliverances through the Passover Lamb (a foreshadowing of Christ, cp Ex 12:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, Jn 1:29, 1Co 5:7, 8, 1Pe 1:18, 19-note, Lk 22:20, Re 5:6-note) and the Red Sea, nevertheless continually went astray in their hearts and did not know God's ways. While the Passover and the Red Sea are clearly beautiful OT pictures of salvation, they were still but shadows of genuine salvation. Salvation then as now is critically dependent upon one exercising his or her personal faith in the Good News (Gospel) of the Messiah (Study the following passages - Jn 1:11, 12, 13, 6:29, 9:35, 36, 37, 38, 12:36, 44, 14:1, Acts 4:12, 16:31, Ro 10:9, 10-note, 1Ti 1:16, 1Pe 1:8,9-note, 1Jn 3:23, 24, 5:13, Jesus' own testimony Mk 1:15). This belief or faith (See studies of pistis = faith and pisteuo = believe) is not merely intellectual assent, but is "directional", in that it puts a new desire in one's heart (2Co 5:17, Ezek 36:26, 27, Php 2:12-note, Php 2:13-note) to walk generally (not perfectly) in the direction of God's will and way (holiness, godliness, righteousness, etc). In other words while salvation was then and is now and forever entered into ONLY by personal faith, that faith is demonstrated to be real, genuine, saving faith by one's subsequent walk of obedience. To reiterate, obedience does not save a person, but it does show that one's faith is genuine. (See studies on Relationship of faith and obedience; Obedience of faith - Ro 1:5, 16:25); Jas 2:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 - see notes Jas 2:14 ; 2:15; 2:16; 2:17; 2:18; 2:19; 2:20; 2:21; 2:22; 2:23; 2:24; 2:25; 2:26)
Gary Inrig gives us an illustration of the danger of a "Judges 21:25 approach" to life writing about a terrible airline accident that occurred in the Canary Islands in April of 1977.
Judges closes with the reflection by the author on the absence of strong leadership and the lack of spiritual discernment (Heb5:14) that had led to the near total disintegration of Israel’s uniqueness as a nation. The tragic comment of the inspired historian who wrote the book of Judges notes that a nation unified under Moses, and miraculously victorious under Joshua, had now fallen into sin, defeat, and disunity. Thus, the book of Judges gives us a picture of the tragic results of sinful compromise with an ungodly world. Fortunately, the appendix of the book of Ruth indicates that God was still at work among His people, even during this dark hour. A ray of hope was about to dawn through which God’s Man, the Son of Man, would come to rule His people.
Here in this 21ST century the heads of state would do well to study the Book of Judges. Back in 1928, when the depression first began, a brief editorial appeared in the staid Wall Street Journal, which went something like this:
The restoration of Israel had as a result the absolute refusal of any connection with the evil. "Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying there shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife" (Jdg 21:1). Let us remember that, in a day of ruin, when souls, under the action of grace, recover their first love for the Lord, they never become more tolerant of evil.
The closer our communion is with God the more does it separate us from evil, but the affections of the saints' hearts towards their brethren are not blunted by this separation, as we see here. For the third time the people went up to the house of God, for this place having been found again, became indispensable to them. Defeat first drove them on that road, victory led them on to it again. "And they abode there till even before God."
On the previous visit, "they wept and sat there before Jehovah;" on this occasion, the first thing was to abide there. "When thou saidst, seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face Jehovah will I seek" (Ps. 27:8). It is our happiness, amid the evil and the sorrow of the present day, to seek the face of the Lord and abide till even before Him. Tears then flowed and such tears!" They lifted up their voices and wept sore." For the first time feeling all the bitterness they said: "O Jehovah, God of Israel, why is it come to pass in Israel, that there should be to‑day one tribe lacking in Israel?" They did not say: The evil is put away, we are at length in quietness and tranquillity. The bitterness was in proportion to their recovery of their affections for Jehovah and for their brethren. The breach had been made, one tribe was wanting; it was like the body suffering from the loss of a limb. Israel's God had been dishonoured, the God before whose eyes, in His tabernacle, was the golden table with the twelve loaves of shew bread thereon. Israel no longer thought of their own dishonour as they had before their humiliation, for the tears of bitterness were shed before Jehovah; and it was when the unity seemed hopelessly lost, that its realization was made good in the hearts of the people, which, in the eyes of Jehovah was more true unity than the semblance of it by the people in a state of declension in the beginningof Judges 20.
The earliest rays of the morning found Israel at work building an altar. The people might say, with the Psalmist: "Early will I seek Thee." Humiliation and ruin did not hinder worship. What grace that there remained an altar to Jehovah amid such a state of things! Three things preceded this worship and led up to it - resolute separation from all evil, getting back into the presence of God, the ruin deeply felt and acknowledged. It was there that they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings; then that the heart entered into what the sacrifice of Christ was for God, and the portion God has given us with Him in it.
All these blessings recovered in the path of humiliation, were the starting point for the judgment of Jabesh‑Gilead. The inhabitants of that place had not come up to Jehovah to Mizpeh. That was indifference to the judgment of the evil by which God had been dishonoured in Israel's midst, and it was at the same time contempt for the unity of the people established by God, and which had been confirmed in such a striking way by the attitude of the eleven humbled tribes. The people of Jabesh‑Gilead had doubtless said, that it was no concern of theirs. How frequently do we hear such expressions in our days! Their state was even worse than that of the evil‑doer. For such a refusal, there was no mercy; but before, the execution of the judgment, Israel delighted to contemplate mercy. "And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, there is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.
How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing that we have sworn by Jehovah that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?" (Jdg 21:6, 7) Moreover, the judgment was but the exercise of this mercy, for the cutting off of Jabesh‑Gilead was with a view to the restoration of Benjamin. Such was the way that Israel came out of that long and painful conflict. Happy indeed are they who learn from such circumstances, and know how to combine perfect hatred of evil, with unmingled love for their brethren. The four hundred young virgins of Jabesh‑Gilead were given for wives to the poor remnant of Benjamin.
But that did not suffice; the wound must be completely bound up. Love was ingenious in finding the remedy and suggested to Israel a way of helping their brethren without disowning their obligations toward God, or lowering the standard of separation from evil. Israel allowed themselves to be plundered at Shiloh (Jdg 21:17, 18, 19, 20, 21), as it were under the eyes of Jehovah. Exchanging the victor's place for that of the vanquished, they permitted their brother, so sorely tried by the discipline, to have the last word.
"And it shall be," they said, "when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes, because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war" (Jdg 21:22). Israel did not say: They reserved not, but "we reserved not." What delicacy and tenderness did those words evince, and how different from those recorded in Jdg 20:12. "What wickedness is this that is done among you?" Israel no longer separated their cause from that of their brethren and the unity of the people, formed by God Himself, recovered its due place of importance in the eyes of the faithful in those sorrowful days of declension.
God grant that such may be the case with us, my brethren! If men, if Christians even, lightly esteem the divine unity of the church, or, when forced to avow that it is outwardly gone, seek to substitute for it a miserable daubing with untempered mortar and content themselves with an appearance of unity which does not deceive even those upholding it; if, in a word, men form alliances between their various sects, proving the very ruin they seek to justify; - let us turn away from such things, humbling ourselves on account of the ruin of the church (looked at on the side of human responsibility) without conforming to it; boldly proclaiming that "there is one body and one Spirit," "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ep 4:3, 4-note), refusing all fellowship with the moral and religious evil of the day, "and above all these things putting on love, which is the bond of perfectness" (Col. 3:14-note).
Such is the instruction contained in the book of Judges, which closes with the solemn repetition of that which characterized the evil days. "In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Jdg 21:25). God did not change that deplorable state of things; He simply states the fact; but He led His own away from the confused light of conscience, which while it judged never guided them; and brought them back to the pure light of His own infallible word which was able to conduct them, to build them up, and to give them an inheritance among all them which are sanctified (cf. Acts 20:32).
"To the law and to the testimony,"
|L M Grant…
God had not told Israel to totally destroy Benjamin, including women and children, but Israel had done this except for the 600 men hiding in the Rock Rimmon. Now they realize that a tribe of Israel is on the verge of extinction. Why did they not think of this before? But they had virtually decreed that Benjamin should be extinct by the fact that they swore an oath to the effect that no woman of Israel must be given as a wife to a Benjamite (Jdg 21:1).
Now Israel comes together at Mizpah in bitter weeping to inquire of God why a thing like this had occurred that there should be one tribe missing In Israel (Jdg 21:1, 2). But God was not to be blamed for this. They were to blame. They were to blame for their cruelty in exceeding the punishment of Benjamin beyond what was right, and now also to blame for the oath that they would not allow a woman of Israel to marry a Benjamite. It was they who put themselves in this sad predicament.
The next morning the people built an altar and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, perhaps remembering that when they offered these two kinds of offerings before, that this had resulted in their victory over Benjamin. But they did not enquire of God as to what to do. Instead they relied on their own religious reasoning. For they had made another unscriptural vow that any Israelites who did not come to help in the judgment of Benjamin were to be put to death. Deuteronomy 20:8 tells us that when Israel went to battle, those who were fearful and faint hearted were to be excused from warfare. If so, how could Israel demand death for those who did not come out to fight? But they evidently thought this a very religious thing to do.
Israel inquired as to others of the nation who did not come to the battle, and found that no one from Jabesh Gilead had responded (Jdg 21:5, 6, 7, 8). And again the people were guilty of heartless cruelty against their own brethren. 12,000 men were sent to Jabesh Gilead with instructions to utterly destroy every male and all women and children except those women who were virgins (Jdg 21:10, 11). Did they consider the women and children as wicked people because the men did not go out to fight?
They brought back as captives 400 virgins from Jabesh Gilead (Jdg 21:12). Then they became guilty of breaking the oath they had made to the effect that no Israelite women could be given to the Benjamites. For they sent to the 600 men of Benjamin at the Rock Rimmon, announcing peace to them (v. Jdg 21:13), and gave them the 400 virgins of Israel they had captured from Jabesh Gilead! (Jdg 21:14). Thus, though they had made a very religious, binding oath, they found means of rationalizing their way around the oath to ease their consciences. They added to this heartless cruelty against Jabesh Gilead the dishonesty of hypocritical deceit in breaking their oath.
But 400 women were not enough for the 600 men. The people felt sorry for Benjamin's predicament and rightly wanted to see Benjamin restored as a tribe (Jdg 21:15). But instead of seeking God's guidance as to this, they again resorted to their own reasoning. The elders consulted together, reminding themselves that they had sworn an oath against giving any woman of Israel to the Benjamites. But they had just given 400 of Israel's women to Benjamin!-- though they had killed their parents to do so.
Could they not have done anything different than they did? Yes, they could, and ought to have confessed before God and the people that their oath was totally wrong. Only their own pride stood in the way, just as was true in King Herod's oath to the daughter of Herodias, whom he promised to give her whatever she asked and she asked for the head of John the Baptist (Mt.14:7, 8, 9). Herod's pride concerning his oath did not permit him to confess the oath was wrong. So the elders of Israel, to save face, resorted again to a hypocritical action. How sad it is that we may easily resort to subterfuge to save our outward reputation!
There was only one way in which the elders of Israel could honorably escape from the snare into which their own folly had brought them. This was simply to acknowledge before God that the vow they had made to not allow any woman of Israel to marry a Benjamite was foolish and wrong, and therefore to seek the Lord's gracious release from the vow. But to them this was out of the question. They said very piously that they could not break their vow (though they had already hypocritically broken it); but it occurred to them that they might be able to furnish the Benjamites with wives in another way than by actually presenting the wives to Benjamin. Since there a yearly feast to the Lord in Shiloh (v. 19), they told the men of Benjamin to hide in the vineyards near the place of the feast; then when the young virgins of Shiloh came out to perform their dances, to run out and catch wives for themselves and return quickly to their own land (Jdg 21:21).
Of course, even suggesting such a thing was breaking the oath they had made Israel to swear. Why had they made such an oath? Was it not because they considered the young virgins would be contaminated if they were given to Benjamites? But by having the Benjamites hide and then catch wives for themselves, they were outwardly putting the blame on the Benjamites for stealing the women, while the blame was plainly theirs for suggesting it. Their oath forbad the Benjamites from having wives from Israel, but they themselves encouraged the Benjamites to come and steal women as wives.
But more than this, the elders told the men of Benjamin that if the fathers or brothers of these young virgins came to complain to the elders, the elders would persuade them to be lenient toward Benjamin because Israel had not left wives for them in the war, and that it was not as though they were breaking their oath since the Benjamites had captured the women (Jdg 21:22). The elders did not even consider that it was they themselves who had deceitfully broken the oath!
Certainly God does not approve of such hypocrisy, yet by this means Benjamin was able to revive as a tribe and rebuild their cities (Jdg 21:23). However, the population of the tribe was greatly reduced, due to both their own foolish defense of men guilty of gross evil and to the heartless excess of judgment against them on the part of Israel. How solemn a warning to us is all this. On the one hand it warns us against daring protect evil when it is present, and on the other hand going to unnecessary lengths to punish evil. It appears that after a man had been put away from the Corinthian assembly for morally sinful practice (1Co 5:1ff), the Corinthians were not properly concerned as to his restoration, so that Paul had to tell them, "This punishment which was inflicted by the majority, is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow" (2Co 2:6). Thus we see that in the Church of God too there is danger of such things, just as in Israel.
The Book of Judges ends with the same words given in Chapter 17:6, where the introduction of idolatry is reported in the case of Micah. Because there was no king in Israel, Micah considered he could do what was right in his own eyes. There was no authority to challenge him for insulting God by idolatry. Worse than this, the worship of idols was introduced into the whole tribe of Dan (Jdg. 18:30, 31), with no challenge whatever from the other tribes. Similarly, in the case of moral wickedness and the unscriptural way in which it was handled, Jdg 21:25 makes the significant comment, "In those day there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes."
Would Israel's problems be solved if they had a king? Israel thought so when they demanded of Samuel that they should have a king, like all the nations (1Sa 8:4, 5). Samuel protested since he told them God was their king, but they were insistent, so God allowed them to have a king -- a man who was head and shoulders taller than other men in Israel, but he failed miserably and the whole history of Israel in the time of the kings proved this hope to be futile. Some kings were relatively good, others were very bad and involved Israel in sin and idolatry. Some were strong enough to rescue the two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) from excesses of idolatry and restore some worship of God, but eventually all collapsed, both among the ten tribes and the two tribes, and Israel has been without a king since then. Only when the Lord Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, takes His place in sovereign authority will Israel find a settled, lasting peace.
For believers today, though having no earthly king, we are infinitely blessed by having the Spirit of God dwelling in the Church, the body of Christ, providing guidance, strength and blessing for all His own. Our true authority comes from heaven, where the Lord Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, and those who are willingly submissive to the authority of the Lord Jesus do not need any authority of men on earth by which to be guided. Not that we are to do what is right in our own eyes, but by grace we are enabled to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
|Charles Simeon's Sermon on Judges 21:25…
THE BENJAMITES’ WICKEDNESS
Jdg. 21:25. In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
SUCH is the depravity of human nature, that man is always prone to depart from God; and departures once begun, extend rapidly through individuals, communities, and kingdoms: the departure of a few righteous persons, like the removal of a dam, soon opens a way for iniquity to inundate a whole country. During the life of Joshua and his co-adjutors in the government, the Israelites retained a good measure of piety: but no sooner were they called to their eternal rest, than impiety began to deluge the land. The transactions recorded respecting the Danites in the 17th and 18th chapters, and of the Benjamites in the three last chapters, though placed after the history of the Judges, all took place whilst Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, was high-priest; and consequently, very soon after the death of Joshua, and before any Judge in Israel had been raised up: and it is repeatedly noticed in all those chapters, that these overflowings of ungodliness were occasioned by the want of those salutary restraints, which a wise and righteous governor would have imposed upon the people. This is particularly specified in our text; from whence we are very forcibly led to shew,
I. The obligations we owe to Civil Government—
Where there is no government, all manner of iniquities will prevail—
[This is most remarkably illustrated in the history before us. The idolatry of the Danites is ascribed to that. The ease with which the inhabitants of Laish fell a prey to a small handful of invaders, was owing to the dissoluteness of its inhabitants, and a total want of magistrates to enforce some salutary laws. The whole account also of the Levite and his concubine, as connected with the horrid wickedness of the Benjamites, and the extensive miseries consequent upon it, are all referred to the same cause, a want of a civil governor, who should exercise a watchful care over the people, and impose such restraints as should keep them within the bounds of decency and order. To appreciate these evils aright, the three last chapters should be attentively perused: the unheard-of wickedness of the Benjamites; the determination of the whole tribe of Benjamin to protect the offenders; the civil war arising from it; the repeated defeats of the tribe of Judah; the ultimate destruction of the whole tribe of Benjamin, men, women, and children, with the exception of six hundred men who had fled from the field of battle; the demolition of all their cities; the destruction also of the whole population of Jabesh Gilead, except four hundred virgins, who were preserved in order to prevent the utter extinction of the tribe of Benjamin; these and other miseries all arose out of this single circumstance, a want of a regular government sufficiently strong to prevent or punish the violations of the laws.
There is one circumstance in this history which seems unaccountable; namely, That when the eleven tribes were united against Benjamin solely for the purpose of demanding justice against the perpetrators of that enormous wickedness, and when Judah led the battle by divine appointment, no less than forty thousand of that tribe should be slain by Benjamin in two battles, whilst the impious Benjamites suffered no loss at all. But God intended by this to punish the supineness of all the tribes, who had neglected to espouse his cause against the idolatrous Danites. They had united as one man, when the interests of society demanded their interposition; but they had taken no steps to vindicate God’s honour against the introduction of idolatry, though God had expressly required in his law their most determined interference in his behalf. On this account God first made use of the Benjamites to punish them, and then delivered the Benjamites into their hands, that justice should be executed on them also.
But whatever was God’s design in these desolating judgments, they must still be all referred to that cause which we have already noticed.
If any further illustration of the point be wanted, we need only behold the evils which are perpetrated even in the best regulated governments, in defiance of the laws; and then we shall see what evils would obtain, if all the restraints of law and justice were withdrawn — — —]
But a vigilant and energetic magistracy stems the torrent of iniquity—
[Where a good government is, there are known and established laws, to which the highest, as well as the lowest in the state, are amenable. Our persons, our property, yea even our reputation, are secured from injury; or, if any injure them, the law affords us suitable redress. If any sons of Belial will break through the restraints which the law has imposed upon them, no sooner are they convicted of the crime, than they pay the penalty with the loss of their liberties or lives. Hence every man feels himself secure: the weak fears not the invasion of his rights any more than the strong; but all sit under their own vine and fig-tree, none making them afraid.
II. The obligations we owe to the Gospel of Christ—
The restraints of Civil Government are external only, and have respect chiefly to the welfare of society: they cannot reach to the thoughts or dispositions of the heart. Hence
Ungodly men do precisely what they please—
[They keep within the regulations of human laws, so far at least as to avoid a criminal prosecution; but they will indulge their lusts in ways which come not within the cognizance of the civil magistrate, and will live altogether “without God in the world.” All indeed do not run to the same excess of riot; but all will equally “do what is right in their own eyes.” All mark out a line for themselves: some give themselves a greater latitude; and some are circumscribed within narrower bounds; but all lay down to themselves certain rules, to which they annex the idea of propriety: and if a minister of the Most High God stand forth to testify against their ways as evil, they will find an host to vindicate their cause, and to inflict the deadliest wounds also on those who dare to assault them in the name of God. The language of their hearts is, “Who is Lord over us?” In vain do we endeavour to convince them of their errors; they are determined to think themselves right: to be “right in their own eyes” is with them a perfect vindication of their conduct: they will not come “to the word and the testimony” of Scripture; that is a test to which they will not submit: and, if only they are free from gross and open sin, they despise the sword of the Spirit, and defy the sharpest arrows that are taken from his quiver.
What we here speak is as applicable to the most righteous among them, as to the most unrighteous. Solomon tells us that “there is a generation that is pure in their own eyes, who are not washed from their filthiness.” Their standard of duty, be it what it may, is of their own making: and they follow the laws of God no further than will consist with the regulations which they have formed for themselves — — —]
But the Gospel produces in them a most blessed change—
[This establishes a King in Israel: it represents the Lord Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and the Lord of all; and erects his throne in the hearts of men — — — The Gospel rectifies the views also, of all that receive it. His law, and not our own vain conceits, becomes now the rule of judgment: the smallest deviation from that, whether by excess or defect, is regarded as evil, and nothing is approved any further than it agrees with that perfect standard — — — We may also add, It regulates the conduct. Those who receive the Gospel aright, instantly give themselves up to the Lord Jesus Christ, accounting his service to be perfect freedom, and desiring to live no longer to themselves, but “unto Him that died for them and rose again.” — — — Of course, we must not be understood to say that these effects are produced equally in all, or in any to their full extent. Men are still corrupt creatures, even the best of men; and consequently they will, like brands out of a fire, still bear the mark of the fire, though the flame be extinguished: but still they differ as widely from the unconverted world, as those who live under a well-regulated government do from the most licentious savages: they are thankful for the restraints under which they live; and are ready to die in defence of that King whom they venerate, and that law which they account it their highest privilege to obey. In civilized society, men are happy in being secured from external violence; but, under the Gospel, they are happy in being secured from the assaults of Satan, and from the corruptions of their own hearts.]
From this subject we would take occasion to recommend,
1. A self-diffident spirit—
[By nothing are the delusions of men more strengthened than by a confidence in their own wisdom and judgment. No reasons will weigh in opposition to the conceits of self-opinionated men; nor will an appeal to the Scriptures themselves be allowed to be of any force. Hence men perish in their errors, till it becomes too late to rectify them. How happy would it be if men would distrust their own judgment; and if, when they see how thousands of their neighbours err, they would admit the possibility of error in themselves I God has given us an unerring standard of truth: to that let us refer all our pre-conceived opinions; and remember, that, “if we walk not according to that rule, there is no light in us.”]
2. A cautious judgment—
[Persons are apt to form their judgment on very inadequate grounds. Any one who should have seen the two defeats of Judah, would be ready to conclude, that the cause for which victory had decided, was the right: but we are not to judge from events: righteousness is not always triumphant in this world: it may be oppressed; and the supporters of it may be trodden under foot: but there is a time when God will vindicate his own cause, and evince the equity of all his dispensations. The unalterable word of God must be our only rule of judgment in every thing: if we suffer in following that, let us not doubt the goodness of our cause, but betake ourselves to fasting and prayer, and, above all, to that great Sacrifice which was once offered for sin. Then, though suffering, we shall reap good to our souls; and, though vanquished now, we shall surely triumph at last.]
3. An unreserved submission to the King of Israel—
[This is true happiness: this once attained, no enemy can hurt us, no occurrence can disturb our peace. “I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me, because he trusteth in me.” O that we were all brought to surrender up ourselves unfeignedly to him! Whether we will submit to him or not, “God has set him as his King upon his holy hill of Zion;” and “He will reign, till all his enemies be put under his feet.” “Kiss the Son then, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way:” and “let every imagination that is contrary to his will be cast down, and every thought be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”]
|F B Meyer…
It is gratifying to find that after the stormy outburst of the previous chapter, there came a return of tender feeling, like rain after claps of thunder. Human tears, as they well forth for others, evidence underlying fountains in the strongest natures, and the existence of those tender feelings of compassion without which the race could not exist.
Judges 21:1-7 Israel's lamentation for Benjamin. -- Those that act in haste repent at leisure. Already there were symptoms that a sweeter and purer spirit was about to rise up in Israel. This yearning after a lost tribe (Judges 21:6) indicated that a flame of love was beginning to burn amid the steam and smoke of the newly-kindled fire; and if only there be love there is a point of contact at which God can reveal Himself to men, for he who loves his brother will presently come on to know God who is Love, and the tears shed over Benjamin are similar in nature to those shed on the Mount of Olives, when He beheld the city and wept over it.
Judges 21:9-14 The sack of Jabesh-Gilead. -- It would have been better to turn their attention to the Canaanites still in the land (Judges 19:11-12). But we are all more disposed to criticize our brethren, than to join forces with them against a common foe.
Judges 21:15-23 The scheme at the dances at Shiloh. -- What an indescribable admixture there is here of a recognized religious worship, and its desecration, keeping avow in outward form, while violating its tenor and spirit.
We cannot admire the method adopted by Israel to preserve Benjamin from extinction. As in so many other cases, a vow made rashly in a moment of excitement would have been better honored in the breach than in the observance. One star at least shone in the black night; truth began to be revered, and they would not go back from their solemn pledge and vow. The morals of the people were evidently lamentably low, but the whole of their course of action is probably to be explained by the fact that they looked upon this war as having been an act of righteousness.
There was an air of satisfaction in the return of the people to their homes (Judges 21:24). But we need to correct our self-estimate by the balances of eternity. As, in those days there could not be settled prosperity or peace till the true King came, so it is now in the kingdom of our hearts. (F. B. Meyer. CHOICE NOTES ON JOSHUA THROUGH 2 KINGS)