Wives for the Benjamites (Judges 21)

Once the other tribes of Israel took vengeance on Benjamin, only about 600 men remained of the tribe.  The remainder of Israel wept bitterly and mourned over the fact that a tribe may be wiped out from Israel.  They had sworn an oath not to provide Benjamin with wives from their daughters.  Therefore, they had a dilemma.  They had decreed that any tribe or family which did not come to the assembly at Mizpah to discuss the Benjamin crimes would be killed.  Therefore, because Jabesh Gilead did not come, Israel sent men to kill all the men and their wives, saving only the virgin daughters, numbering 400.  This was still not enough to supply wives to the remaining Benjamites, so they encouraged them to take wives for themselves from among the dancers who came out at the yearly feast at Shiloh.  The Benjamites lay in wait, and took enough young women from among the dancers to carry on the inheritance of Benjamin.  Then everyone departed from Shiloh, and went back to his inheritance.  The book of Judges ends with this redundant statement, “25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. [Judges 21:25 (NKJV)]”

The Israelites may have acted rashly and harshly, later feeling guilt over nearly annihilating one of their own brother’s tribe.  They were a warring people, taking vengeance on those who sinned, once less extreme measures were taken.  Always weigh out your options before you move forward.  “Look before you leap” is a well-used phrase that reiterates this point.  Take care to first know the will of God, and, secondly, to be wise–not rash–in making life-changing decisions.  Serve the King at all times, and subject yourself to Him!

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