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Losing Touch With the LORD

They don't need a king; they need a savior.

Judges 21:16–25

Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who remain, since the women of Benjamin have been destroyed?” And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a tribe may not be destroyed from Israel. However, we cannot give them wives from our daughters, for the children of Israel have sworn an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the one who gives a wife to Benjamin.’ ” Then they said, “In fact, there is a yearly feast of the LORD in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

Therefore they instructed the children of Benjamin, saying, “Go, lie in wait in the vineyards, and watch; and just when the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, then come out from the vineyards, and every man catch a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh; then go to the land of Benjamin. Then it shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain, that we will say to them, ‘Be kind to them for our sakes, because we did not take a wife for any of them in the war; for it is not as though you have given the women to them at this time, making yourselves guilty of your oath.’ ”

And the children of Benjamin did so; they took enough wives for their number from those who danced, whom they caught. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and they rebuilt the cities and dwelt in them. So the children of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family; they went out from there, every man to his inheritance.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

This hideous kidnapping plan is devised to allow the last 200 Benjamite men to get wives without anyone breaking the oath to not “give” a daughter to a son of Benjamin.

Now the men of Israel had sworn an oath at Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife.” — Judges 21:1

This is demented. Once again, we see that not breaking an oath, even one taken in haste and anger, is more important than “doing the right thing” in any sane sense of the word.

And if that isn’t enough, they also think that leaving 200 Benjamites without wives is somehow worse than 200 kidnappings. Gee, I wonder how those 200 marriages worked out.

Probably no worse than the other 400 where the wives had watched their families get slaughtered.

The book of Judges ends by pointing out, yet again, the heart of this insanity—In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. They’ve totally lost touch with the LORD. They don’t need a king; they need a savior.

But God’s infinitely wise plan is to take them through a series of kings first. And that’s just the beginning.

So, as Buzz Lightyear might say, “To 1 Samuel and beyond!”

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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