Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 21:1 (NIV)
The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah: “Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite.”
Judges 21:1 (MSG)
Back at Mizpah the men of Israel had taken an oath: “No man among us will give his daughter to a Benjaminite in marriage.”
“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.” -AMPLIFIED
Yesterday we touched on the fact that one of the tribes of Israel had almost been eradicated; that would have been the tribe of Benjamin. The dreadfulness of this fact came crashing in on the people. Yet, because of a rash vow that they had made before God at Mizpah they were at a loss. The vow was this, “Not one of us will GIVE his daughter in marriage to a Benjaminite.” (Beware of those hasty, rash vows!)
The people sat and waited before the Lord. They knew that they had no answer for this predicament. So they waited, one day, two days and on the second day the people got up early. They built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. It was in this waiting period that God opened their hearts and minds to His answer.
Once again it was not a pleasant answer, but it was an answer. “Then the sons of Israel said, “Which one from all the tribes of Israel did not come up in the assembly to the Lord?” For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, “He shall certainly be put to death.” -Judges 21:5 (AMP)”…it was discovered that] no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead, to the assembly. For when the people were assembled, behold, there was not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.” -(vs. 8-9)
Once again we see a group who disregarded the ways of God. Once agian we see a decision made by the men of Israel that was rash and to the extreme. “Here again Israel did something that seemed right at the time, but was actually a horror. They decided to slaughter a whole city of Israel, a city that refused to join with Israel in the fight against Benjamin. This is doing one bad thing to make up for another. Israel instead should have repented of their foolish oath made at Mizpah, and they should have agreed to give their daughters as wives to the men of the tribe of Benjamin, renouncing the foolish vow of Judges 21:1.” -David Guzik Commentary on the Bible
To discipline the “no-shows” Israel sent twelve thousand of the most courageous men to punish the camp of Jabesh-gilead. Instructing them in this way, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the sword, including the women and the children. 11 And this is the thing that you shall do; you shall utterly destroy every male and every woman who is not a virgin.” Judges 21:10-11 (AMP)
The messengers came back with 400 virgins to give to the men of Benjamin as brides. (This whole scenario was messed up. All because the people had refused to obey God and they did what was right in their own eyes.)Yet we find that 400 virgins were not enough for the 600 men who were waiting in the offing. Two hundred men would not have a wife. Two hundred men would not have anyone to leave a legacy and an inheritance.
What in the world could they do now? They could not GIVE their daughters because they had sworn this oath, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to [a man from the tribe of] Benjamin.” -(vs. 18)So they made this decision, “Then they said, “There is that festival of God held every year in Shiloh. It’s north of Bethel, just east of the main road that goes up from Bethel to Shechem and a little south of Lebonah. So they told the Benjaminites, “Go and hide in the vineyards. Stay alert—when you see the Shiloh girls come out to dance the dances, run out of the vineyards, grab one of the Shiloh girls for your wife, and then hightail it back to the country of Benjamin. When their fathers or brothers come to lay charges against us, we’ll tell them, ‘We did them a favor. After all we didn’t go to war and kill to get wives for men. And it wasn’t as if you were in on it by giving consent. But if you keep this up, you will incur blame.’” -Judges 21:19-22 (MSG)
So that is exactly what the Benjaminites did; they TOOK for themselves wives (caveman style). “So the sons of [the tribe of] Benjamin did as instructed and took wives according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried away. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and rebuilt the towns and lived in them. The sons of Israel departed from there at that time, each man to his tribe and family, and each man went from there to his inheritance. In those days [when the judges governed] there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” -Judges 21:23-25 (AMP)
Oh what a mess people tend to make of things when they choose to do things their own way and do not obediently follow God’s ways. There was a reason that God had given His Laws to the people. If they had followed them faithfully and willingly they could have avoided this mess.
The best thing that we can do for ourselves and others is to faithfully and obediently follow God’s guidelines and directives. Yes, there will be times that we sin and mess up, but if we approach God with a humble heart and ask forgiveness He will forgive us. Remember this too; if and when we ever have a predicament God is always available to help. All we need do is ask.
“Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives.” -Andrew Murray
“Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self.” -C.S. Lewis
God, the Ever-Faithful One. Thank you for your grace that is always enough for me. Thank you for your steadfast love that sees me through every situation. Lord, I do sin and mess up still, but I am so grateful that you are a forgiving Father. There are times that I do need disciplining, but you do it with love and with the intention of redirecting me back to your loving arms. God, you are so good to me. Help me t remain faithful and true to you too.