Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 20:35 (NIV)
The Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords.
Judges 20:35 (MSG)
God routed them before Israel. The Israelites decimated twenty-five divisions of Benjamin that day – 25,100 killed. They were all swordsmen.
“And the Lord struck down [the tribe of] Benjamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed twenty-five thousand one hundred men of Benjamin that day, all of whom were swordsmen.” -AMPLIFIED
The tribe of Benjamin was dully punished for their part in supporting the sins of Gibeah. Their foolish decision to defend Gibeah, when so many Laws of God were being openly and defiantly broken, was a sign of sin in their own lives. “So the Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel….”
These words penned by the Apostle Paul are a good reminder to us when we are tempted to do wrong or follow the wrong crowd. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.” -Galatians 6:7-9 (AMP)
“As for Benjamin, they had grievously sinned in upholding evil in their midst, and the remonstrance of Israel, instead of humbling them, incited them to the most serious act: “to go out to battle against the children of Israel”, and then what was far worse – they allied themselves with evil…The absence of humiliation on their part led to terrible results; not only did they not judge the evil, but as a necessary consequence, they fatally excused it, taking sides with the evil‑doers against the people of God.” -Henri Rossi (Breach and Recovery)
As punishment for sin left unchecked and for supporting that sin God punished the tribe of Benjamin. On that day 25,100 Benjaminites were struck down. The battle was so fierce that only 600 men from the whole tribe of Benjamin were left alive when it was finally over. In fact, the cities and towns were torched and everything in them destroyed. These guys had nothing left at all. This was an extreme form of discipline.
The remaining 600 men of Benjamin fled for their lives. “But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon and stayed at the rock of Rimmon for four months.” (vs. 47)
For four months those men stayed at Rimmon; four months of pondering what had happened and why. They remained in this place of refuge until a peace treaty was made with the rest of Israel; This did not happen quickly, but we do find the rest of Israel coming to God in shame and remorse for what had happened to the tribe of Benjamin at the beginning of chapter 21. “Now the men of Israel had sworn [an oath] at Mizpah, “None of us shall give his daughter in marriage to [a man of] Benjamin.” So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. They said, “O Lord, God of Israel, why has this come about in Israel, that there should be today one tribe missing from Israel?” And the next day the people got up early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.” -Judges 21:1-4 (AMP)
The people’s heart was broken for what had happened. Almost entirely the tribe of Benjamin had been eradicated. Only the 600 men where left alive. Without their woman what would become of them? Once again though we find that a foolish vow had been made and we must remember that if a vow has been made before God it must be kept. The people of Israel were between a rock and a hard place. On one hand they did not want to see the tribe of Benjamin cut off completely from their midst, but on the other they had vowed not to give their own daughters in marriage to the men of Benjamin. What could they do? They sat before the Lord and wept; lifting their voices to God in anguish. (They were exactly where they needed to be, doing exactly what they needed to be doing.)
The people would have done well to remember these words that God had spoken to them before. “Therefore, know in your heart (be fully cognizant) that the Lord your God disciplines and instructs you just as a man disciplines and instructs his son.” -Deuteronomy 8:5 (AMP)
The battle was over and now it was time for healing, but there was still a problem. Once again there is a time of repentance; seeking forgiveness for what had happened among them. Now we see the people coming to God first; seeking answers. We see the people coming in humbleness; desiring to do the right things before God. “If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray and seek my face….” It appears that all of this mess may have brought about some good.
“God Is An Expert At Bringing Good Out Of Bad!” -Rick Warren
Lord, you can take the mess and make something good out of all of our lives; as only you can. Yes, there are times that I mess up royally. I sin and grieve you; forgive me please. Yes, there are times that you have to discipline me; in order to bring me back humbly to your feet. I pray that in those times I listen and obey. Remind me that even in those times “all things work together for good.” Thank you for loving your children despite their waywardness. Thank you for always being available, caring and being willing to redirect .