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How Bad Things Can Get

Everyone has lost their way.

Judges 20:47–48

But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they stayed at the rock of Rimmon for four months. And the men of Israel turned back against the children of Benjamin, and struck them down with the edge of the sword—from every city, men and beasts, all who were found. They also set fire to all the cities they came to.

Once an army dissolves, escape is the only way to survive. If you can’t run beyond the reach of your pursuers, hiding is how you stay alive. Six hundred Benjamite soldiers manage to do that for four months at the rock of Rimmon.

Meanwhile, the rest of Benjamin is being systematically destroyed. Like Sherman’s march through Georgia, the soldiers burn everything in their path. But unlike Sherman, they also kill everybody.

This isn’t rational; it’s revenge. They’re right to want to punish the hooligans who killed the concubine—and even the soldiers who chose to go to war rather than allow justice to be served—but killing everybody in the entire region is evil. Many of the people they’re killing had nothing to do with the crime they’re reacting to.

But because of the 600 men who hid out, the tribe of Benjamin isn’t totally exterminated. We aren’t told how they were able to hide there, nor how they were able to find enough food to survive, but somehow they did.

This feels like divine intervention.

This incident will long live as an example of how bad things can get.

They are deeply corrupted,
As in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their iniquity;
He will punish their sins.
— Hosea 9:9

“O Israel, you have sinned from the days of Gibeah;
There they stood.
The battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity
Did not overtake them.”
— Hosea 10:9

But notice that these verses refer not just to Gibeah but to the days of Gibeah. Great sins were committed by everyone (in those days).

But, most importantly, we see God’s hand acting—even to protect soldiers who don’t deserve protecting.

Thus, yet again, we see how the Old Testament points to Christ.

Everyone has lost their way.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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