defending the indefensible.
Judges 20:1-17 (JDV)
Judges 20:1 All the Israelites from Dan to Beer-sheba and from the land of Gilead came out, and the community gathered as one body to Yahveh at Mizpah.
Judges 20:2 The corner-stones of all the people and of all the tribes of Israel presented themselves in the collection of God’s people: four hundred thousand armed foot soldiers.
Judges 20:3 The Benjaminites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah. The Israelites asked, “Tell us, how did this wrong thing happen?”
Judges 20:4 The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, answered: “I went to Gibeah in Benjamin with my concubine to spend the night.
Judges 20:5 Landowners of Gibeah came to attack me and surrounded the house at night. They intended to kill me, but they raped my concubine, and she died.
Judges 20:6 Then I took my concubine and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout Israel’s territory, because they have committed a wicked outrage in Israel.
Judges 20:7 Notice, all of you are Israelites. Give your judgment and verdict here and now.”
Judges 20:8 Then all the people stood united and said, “None of us will go to his tent or return to his house.
Judges 20:9 Now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will attack it. By lot
Judges 20:10 we will select ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred out of every thousand, and one thousand out of every ten thousand to get provisions for the troops when they go to Gibeah in Benjamin to punish them for all the outrage they committed in Israel.”
Judges 20:11 So all the men of Israel gathered united against the city.
Judges 20:12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wrong thing that has happened among you?
Judges 20:13 Hand over those worthless men in Gibeah so we can put them to death and eradicate evil from Israel.” But the Benjaminites would not listen to their fellow Israelites.
Judges 20:14 Instead, the Benjaminites gathered together from their cities to Gibeah to go out and fight against the Israelites.
Judges 20:15 On that day the Benjaminites mobilized twenty-six thousand armed men from their cities, besides seven hundred fit young men rallied by the inhabitants of Gibeah.
Judges 20:16 There were seven hundred fit young men who were left-handed among all these troops; all could sling a stone at a hair and not fail.
Judges 20:17 The Israelites, apart from Benjamin, mobilized four hundred thousand armed men, every one an experienced warrior.
defending the indefensible.
The Benjaminites were given a chance to see justice done without civil war, but they chose to defend the rape and murder instead. That choice has been repeated countless times in many cultures. Instead of acknowledging a wrong, the people choose to defend it. Disaster results. For the Benjaminites, it almost led to their complete annihilation by their own countrymen.
LORD, give us the courage to acknowledge when our own people have committed crimes. May we not choose to defend the indefensible.