Judges 20 new 2
Last week on Saviors that fail: There was no king in Israel, and each man did what was right in his own eyes. Chapter 19 shows us a Levite who had abandoned his duties and “acquired” a concubine. We follow the man and his concubine out of Bethlehem and into darkness. They avoid a foreign city (Jerusalem!) to enter a Benjamite city, Gibeah. Only an outsider gives them a place to sleep. In the dark, a mob of men demand to rape the Levite. The host offers his own daughter and the prostitute, but in a moment the Levite throw his prostitute to the dogs. Her rape, abuse, and murder display how Israel was corrupt to the core—worse than the pagan Canaanites they failed to conquer. This week on Saviors that fail: The villian Levite does what no Holy Spirit powered judge ever did: unite the tribes of Israel. This anti-savior destroyed one of the tribes, Benjamin. God answers three terrible prayers in chapter 20. The fate of the concubine spread to other women. Application →Do not ask God to bless your wrong behavior, because he might do it. .... And will someone finally tell Spain about the Light of the world??? 29 When he entered his house, he picked up a knife, took hold of his concubine, cut her into twelve pieces, limb by limb, and then sent her throughout the territory of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or has been seen since the day the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt until now. Think Sodom and Gomorrah The story about the Levite in Gibeah mirrors the story of Lot in Sodom . . . until the Levite acts. The comparison is clear: Israel is just as bad a Sodom, and worse! it over, discuss it, and speak up!” Judges 20 (CSB) War against Benjamin 20 All the Israelites from Dan to Beer-sheba and from the land of Gilead came out, and the “Dan to Beer-Sheba” The rest of the OT often uses this phrase to mean the top to bottom of Israel → Dan the very northernmost city and Beer-Sheba at the very south. We know how Dan got up there from chapter 18. community assembled as one body before the LORD at Mizpah. 2 The leaders of all the people and of all the tribes of Israel presented themselves in the assembly of God’s people: four hundred thousand armed foot soldiers. 3 The Benjaminites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah. The Israelites asked, “Tell us, how did this evil act happen?” Gilead: even the very western Israelites came, despite chapter 10-11 with Jephthah’s revenge. Assembly of God’s people: elsewhere in the Bible this is a spiritual congregation. This battle is a spiritual decision. 4 The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, answered: “I went to Gibeah in Benjamin with my concubine to spend the night. 5 CitizensLit.Lords 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. 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. 7 Look, all of you are Israelites. Give your judgment and verdict here and now.” The Levite’s speech Did they really try to kill him? Or something else? He sounds very innocent in his speech. He asks Israel for a verdict instead of giving pastoral wisdom—the job of the Levites. Where are the other Levites? Is the priesthood worthless? 8 Then all the people stood united and said, “None of us will go to his tent or return to his house. 9 Now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will attack it. By lot 10 we will take 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.” 11 So all the men of By lot The first thing that they did was prayer . . . I mean, no, the first thing that they did was take an oath and draw lots. Israel gathered united against the city. 12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men throughout The Anti-Christ The unnamed Levite is a type of antichrist, because his actions are the opposite of the actions of Jesus. Instead of keeping the Law, the Levite broke the law with every word and action. He degraded his wife to the status of concubine. Instead of giving up himself to danger, he gave up his wife to be raped, abused, and killed. Her suffering mirrors our understanding of hell in many ways, such as “outer darkness”, gnashing of teeth, locked out, abandoned, “thrown out” mirrors the fire of the trash heap at Gehenna, cut into many pieces like the parables, and more. The Levite lied to kill his brothers, but Jesus is the truth that saves. Reverse every action of the Levite to know more about the work of Jesus. This priest has no name, because without a king every man does what is right in his own eyes. the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this evil act that has happened among you? 13 Hand over the wicked 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. 14 Instead, the Benjaminites gathered together from their cities to Gibeah to go out and fight against the Israelites. 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. 16 There were seven hundred fit young men among all these troops; all could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. who were left-handed Notice that the Benjamites take the side of the rapists and refuse justice. Notice how strong they are, but they could not capture Jerusalem. Every priority is backward. 17 The Israelites, apart from Benjamin, mobilized four hundred thousand armed men, every one an experienced warrior. 18 They set out, went to Bethel, and inquired of God. The Israelites asked, “Who is to go first to fight for us against the Benjaminites?” And the LORD answered, “Judah will be first.” In the morning, the Israelites set out and camped near Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went out to fight against Benjamin and 19 took their battle positions against Gibeah. 21 The Benjaminites came out of Gibeah and slaughtered twenty-two thousand men of Israel on the field that day. 22 But the Israelite troops rallied and again took their battle positions Judah will go first Are we back in chapter 1 again? Judah was to lead in conquering the Canaanites, but now leads in destroying a brother. in the same place where they positioned themselves on the first day. 23 They went up, wept before the LORD until evening, and inquired of him: “Should we again attack our brothers the Benjaminites?” And the LORD answered: “Fight against them.” On the second day the Israelites advanced against the Benjaminites. 25 That same day the Benjaminites came 24 out from Gibeah to meet them and slaughtered an additional eighteen thousand Israelites on the field; all were armed. The whole Israelite army went to Bethel where they wept and sat before the LORD. They fasted that day until 26 evening and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD. 27 Then the Israelites inquired of The Israelites made three prayers, and God gave three answers. What made each one different? the LORD. In those days, the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28 and Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, was serving before it. The Israelites asked: “Should we again fight against our brothers the Benjaminites or should we stop?” The LORD answered: “Fight, because I will hand them over to you tomorrow.” 29 So Israel set up an ambush around Gibeah. 30 On the third day the Israelites fought against the Benjaminites and took their battle positions against Gibeah as before. 31 Then the Benjaminites came out against the troops and were drawn away from the city. They began to attack the troops as before, killing about thirty men of Israel on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah through the open country. 32 The Benjaminites said, “We are defeating them as before.” But the Israelites said, “Let’s flee and draw them away from the city to the highways.” 33 So all the men of Israel got up from their places and took their battle positions at Baaltamar, while the Israelites in Ambush The Lord commanded Joshua to defeat the Canaanite city of AI using an ambush (Josh. 8:2). Israel is now using a strategy given by God to defeat Canaanites to destroy one of their own tribes. ambush charged out of their places west of Geba. 34 Then ten thousand fit young men from all Israel made a frontal assault against Gibeah, and the battle was fierce, but the Benjaminites did not know that disaster was about to strike them. 35 The LORD defeated Benjamin in the presence of Israel, and on that day the Israelites slaughtered 25,100 men of Benjamin; all were armed. 36 Then the Benjaminites realized they had been defeated. Verses 36b to 47 re-tell the story from the Benjamite perspective. Notice how there is no mention of God. Everything after v.35 was without the blessing of God. The men of Israel had retreated before Benjamin, because they were confident in the ambush they had set against Gibeah. 37 The men in ambush had rushed quickly against Gibeah; they advanced and put the whole city to the sword. 38 The men of Israel had a prearranged signal with the men in ambush: when they sent up a great cloud of smoke from the city, 39 the men of Israel would Civil War return to the battle. The Battle of Gibeah, aka the When Benjamin had Benjamite War, would be the bloodiest war until Jeroboam’s revolt begun to strike them in 1 Kings, which saw the split down, killing about thirty between the 10 northern tribes and men of Israel, they said, the two southern tribes of Israel. “They’re defeated before us, just as they were in the first battle.” 40 But when the column of smoke began to go up 500k+ died in that war. Israel was determined to destroy itself, despite God giving good-ish kings every other generation. Judges is a preview of the rest of the history of Israel until God’s takes his promised land from them. from the city, Benjamin looked behind them, and the whole city was going up in smoke. 41 Then the men of Israel returned, and the men of Benjamin were terrified when they realized that disaster had struck them. 42 They retreated before the men of Israel toward the wilderness, but the battle overtook them, and those who came out of the cities slaughtered those between them. 43 They surrounded the Benjaminites, pursued them, and easily overtook them near Gibeah toward the east. 44 There were eighteen thousand men who died from Benjamin; all were warriors. 45 Then Benjamin turned and fled toward the wilderness to Rimmon Rock, and Israel killed five thousand men on the highways. They overtook them at Gidom and struck two thousand more dead. All the Benjaminites who died that day were twentyfive thousand armed men; all were warriors. 47 But six 46 hundred men escaped into the wilderness to Rimmon Rock and stayed there four months. 48 The men of Israel turned back against the other Benjaminites and killed them with their swords—the entire city, the animals, and everything that remained. They also burned all the cities that remained. The holy war against the Canaanites had long been abandoned. Israel had not burned the Canaanite cites. Now, in a sad reversal, Benjamin had become worse than Canaanites and were being destroyed by Israel. This was not God’s plan, though. By pursuing the Benjamites and killing all but 600 men, then killing the women, children, and animals, Israel went beyond God’s instructions. The treatment of the Levite’s concubine ignited a slaughter that multiplied victims. Israel used the covenant to create a false religion. In those days there was no king in Israel, and every man did what was right in his own eyes.