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Judges  19:1-30

 

“And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehem-judah. 2 And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehem-judah, and was there four whole months. 3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, and to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses:  and she brought him into her father’s house:  and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. 4 And his father in law, the damsel’s father, retained him; and he abode with him three days:  so they did eat and drink, and lodged there. 5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart:  and the damsel’s father said unto his son in law, Comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way. 6 And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together:  for the damsel’s father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry. 7 And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him:  therefore he lodged there again. 8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart:  and the damsel’s father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee.  And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat both of them. 9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night:  behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home. 10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses saddled, his concubine also was with him. 11 And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it. 12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah. 13 And he said unto his servant, Come, let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah. 14 And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin. 15 And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah:  and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city:  for there was  no man that took them into his house to lodging. 16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which was also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah:  but the men of the place were Benjamites. 17 And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? 18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehem-judah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I:  and I went to Bethlehem-judah, but I am now going to the house of the LORD; and there is no man that receiveth me to house. 19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants:  there is no want of any thing. 20 And the old man said, Peace be with thee; however let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street. 21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses:  and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. 22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. 24 Behold, here is  my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you:  but unto this man do not so vile a thing. 25 But the men would not hearken to him:  so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning:  and when the day began to spring, they let her go. 26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. 27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way:  and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold. 28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going.  But none answered.  Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. 29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel. 30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day:  consider of it, and take advice, and speak your minds.”

 

Introduction

[Audio version:  https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED641]

 

“The idea is in those days, so this is the grandson of Aaron, initiating, which puts us very early, we are early in the Book of Judges, over in chapter 20, verse 28 it tells us “And Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) “it” the Ark, the idea is “in those days.”  So this is the grandson of Aaron officiating, which puts us very early in the Book of Judges, right after Joshua chapter 24.  Chapter 17 through 21 (of Judges), kind of an epilogue, it’s giving us a sense of the culture in Israel, a sense of the spiritual condition of the nation, and it helps us understand the rest of the accounts that we saw, whether it’s Othniel or Barak or Gideon or Samson, they were all in this type of an environment.  So as we read through this evening, remember, God is not endorsing all the insanity we look at this evening, what he’s doing is giving us an accurate and historic picture of the condition of the nation.  And it clearly tells us this was a time ‘when there was no king in Israel, and every man was doing what was right in his own eyes.’  And that is the climate that these things take place in, God is not endorsing it, as we go on, but he’s giving us an honest representation of what was taking place in the nation. 

 

Strange Story Of A Levite And His Concubine

 

And it begins here, in chapter 19 saying, “And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehem-judah.” (verse 1) probably not a good idea for a Levite at any time to take a concubine, but those were the days.  “And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehem-judah, and was there four whole months.” (verse 2) she went out and cheated on him, a concubine was a secondary wife, there were some regulations relative to concubines, we see concubines in the life of David and Saul, some, but never really endorsed by God where God prescribed a man should take a concubine.  But he has this concubine, she’s unfaithful, and she goes away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehem-judah, and was there four whole months.  “And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, and to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses:  and she brought him into her father’s house:  and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.” (verse 3)  he wanted to reconcile.  Knowing he wants reconciliation, the father evidently welcoming this man into his home, Middle Eastern hospitality and so forth.  “And his father in law, the damsel’s father, retained him; and he abode with  him three days:  so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.  And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart:  and the damsel’s father said unto his son in law, Comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.  And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together:  for the damsel’s father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry.  And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him:  therefore he lodged there again.  And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart:  and the damsel’s father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee.  And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat both of them.” and I imagine they drank again.  “And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.” (verses 4-9)  I imagine the poor girl’s got her bags packed for a couple days, she might not be happy about he’s being so good a buddy with her dad, he’s being a better buddy with the dad than he’s being with her, and at this time he finally decides not to consent, he must say to her father, ‘no, this never works, every morning I stick around, eat for awhile, drink for awhile, next thing I know I’m staying overnight again, so I gotta get going.’  “But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus,” he’s heading north “which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses saddled, his concubine also was with him.  And when they were  by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.  And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger,” of a foreigner, the idea is they were pagans, these Godless Jebusites “that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah.” about five to ten miles to the north, “And he said unto his servant, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah.” (verses10-13) ‘Let’s go where we have brethren, the children of Israel, let us go somewhere where we can sleep in the church and not out here in some pagan environment.’  “And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin.” in that territory north of Jerusalem.   “And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah:  and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city:  for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging.” (verses 14-15)  Now there were no motels in this culture, the culture was that if you came into a city in the evening and you sat in the street of the town square, and somebody in that city would see you, and it was an honour to bring you into their home and to feed you, to hear what was going on in the world, have conversation.  It’s that way many places in the Middle East today still, interesting even around Israel the Bedouins are still again in these black goat hair tents, different a little, because you’ll see the antenna and the Honda generator next to it, they’re in there watching American Idol.  But they still, they’ll let you into their tents, once you have their hospitality, if you offend them, even it they get angry, they treat you with kid gloves, they give you the best of what they have, they care for you, because there’s an honour code relative to that, relative to hospitality.  So, the sad thing is, they’ve turned away from Jebus, Jerusalem, they come to Gibeah, and they’re sitting in the street and nobody is making a motion to offer them some place to stay and to bring them into their home.  “And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which was also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah:  but the men of the place were Benjamites.  And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city:  and  the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou?  And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehem-judah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I:  and I went to Bethlehem-judah, but I am now going to the house of the LORD;” which was at Shiloh, he’s a Levite “and there is no man that receiveth me to house.” (verses 16-18)  you know, coincidence, they’re both from Ephraim here.  “Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants:  there is no want of any thing.” (verse 19)  ‘there is no worry, we found straw for the animals to lay down, provender for them to eat, there’s water, we have bread and wine, we’re really not lacking, there’s no emergency here, we’re fine, we’re not lacking anything.’ 

 

Replay Of Sodom & Gomorrah Occurs In The City Of Gibeah In The Tribe Of Benjamin

 

“And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street.  So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses:  and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.” (verses 20-21)  He brought him in, he showed him hospitality, he said ‘You know, you just don’t want to be out here in this town at night,’ it would be like you don’t want to go downtown and sleep on the street of Philadelphia.  You don’t want to sleep on the street of Philadelphia in the suburbs, you don’t want to sleep on the street in Philadelphia anywhere and be comfortable and close your eyes and say ‘Nothing to worry about.’  Different world, no this man says ‘You don’t want to sleep out here in the street,’ takes him into his house.  Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial,” now in the New Testament that has more a sense “sons of the devil,” in the Old Testament “sons of Belial” is just, the Israelites didn’t have particular curse words, this is “you’re the son of a worthless person, the son of a wicked person,” is the idea, it was one of the greatest insults that they could aim at you, these were  just worthless, wicked, good-for-nothing men, it calls them, “beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.” (verse 22) “beat at the door” the language indicates they started to beat and continued to beat more and more, heavier and heavier.  “that we may know him,” now what he’s saying is, ‘Throw the man out, that we might have homosexual sexual relationships with him, throw him out here,’ the same thing said to Lot at Sodom when the angels came into his home.  Lot said to the angels [who appeared as ordinary men to Lot, he had no idea who they were at that moment in time] ‘Don’t stay in the street, not in this place, come into my house,’ and the men of the city began to bang on the door there and said ‘Throw the men out to us,’ same exact thing that’s happening here.  “And the man, the master of the house went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.” (verse 23) ‘there’s a law of hospitality, you’re asking me to violate something sacred, do not this folly.’  Now sadly the same thing that Sodom was destroyed for is happening here, not only happening, being tolerated to some degree in Israel, there’s much spoken of it in the Torah.  But at this point everybody’s doing what’s right in their own eyes.  Ah, ‘Don’t let this folly happen, don’t do this.’  And interesting, now the man says, “Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you:  but unto this man do not so vile a thing.” (verse 24)  ‘Here’s my daughter, she’s a virgin, enjoy her, here’s the guy’s concubine, have at her, have a great time, just don’t do anything…’ Now, it’s not saying that God approves of any of this.  It’s saying these were the conditions in Israel at this time [and particularly within the tribe of Benjamin].  This man is saying ‘Here’s my daughter, rape her, she’s a virgin, you guys enjoy her, here’s the concubine, take her, do what you want.’  Look, cultures, look, it’s really under the New Covenant under Christ that womanhood is honoured throughout the world, but here ‘Take then, do what you want to do with them.’  Godless values always produce this kind of thing.  “But the men would not hearken to him:  so the man took his concubine,” the Levite “and brought her forth unto them;” he forces her out the door “and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning:” raping her “and when the day began to spring, they let her go.  Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light.” (verses 25-26)  She dies there, on the threshold of the house.  “And her lord” the one who loved her and wanted to make up with her in the last chapter, when he rose up in the morning, wonder if he slept well, sweet guy, that’s why she ran away from him in the first place.  “And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way:  and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.  And he said to her, Up, and let us be going.” Nice guy, “But none answered.”  there was no answer, she’s dead.  “Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place.” (verses 27-28) he went up into the area of Ephraim near Shiloh where he lived.  Now it sounds terrible, doesn’t it.  If you know anything about the wars that took place between Serbia and the Bosnians, and what happened in Kosovo and what happens in Rwanda, what happens around the world today, it’s no different, we live in a very isolated and insulated environment.  There are things like this, you know last year, 08, Philly was the murder capital of the United States, it was safer in Baghdad last year than is was in Philly for Americans, but it doesn’t get to us, somehow.  But these things still go on, men are sinful, by their fallen nature.  He takes her body, “And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.” (verse 29)  he’s a Levite, it’s the same grammar used to describe the Levite in Leviticus, chapter 1, verse 6, dividing a sacrifice, according to the bones, according to the pieces.  This Levite, takes his concubine, he cuts her into 12 pieces, and sends a piece to each of the 12 tribes of Israel to shock them, to say ‘What are we going to do?’  Now listen, it’s important, because he sent one of these pieces to Benjamin also, and Gibeah was in Benjamin.  We’re going to find out that Benjamin refuses to give up Gibeah.  But he also sends one of the pieces to Benjamin, and they’re going to say to them ‘what are you doing, letting this go on in your territory?’  They’re going to ask them for help to stop this.  So he sends 12 pieces, it says, throughout all of the country.   “And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day:  consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.” (verse 30)  ‘We’ve not seen anything like this, consider of it, take advice, let’s take counsel, and speak your minds, we need to decide what to do about this.’ 

 

Judges 20:1-48

 

“Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh. 2 And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew the sword. 3 (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.)  Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness? 4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. 5 And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me:  and my concubine have they forced, that she died. 6 And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel:  for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel. 7 Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel. 8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house. 9 But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it; 10 and we will take ten men of an hundred, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel. 11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man. 12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you? 13 Now therefore, deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel.  But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel. 14 But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. 15 And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew the sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men. 16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword:  all these were men of war. 18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin?  And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first. 19 And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. 21 And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men. 22 And the people of the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. 23 (And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?  And the LORD said, Go up against him.) 24 And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. 25 And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. 26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 27 And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?  And the LORD said, Go up; for to-morrow I will deliver them into thine hand. 29 And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah. 30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. 31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first.  But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways. 33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baal-tamar:  and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah. 34 And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of Israel, and the battle was sore:  but they knew not that evil was near them. 35 And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel:  and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men:  all these drew the sword. 36 So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten:  for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted unto the liers in wait which they had set beside Gibeah. 37 And the liers in wait hasted, and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in wait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city. 39 And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons:  for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle. 40 But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven. 41 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them. 43  Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising. 44 And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valour. 45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon:  and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of valour. 46 So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valour. 47 But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand:  also they set on fire all the cities that they came to.”

 

‘Here’s What Happened, What Should We Do?’

What Is Our Society Training Our Children?

 

“Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh.” (verse 1) “and Mizpeh” which is just north of Gilead, “and the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God,” listen  “four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword.” (verse 2) this is close enough to the end of the Book of Joshua that most of the army is still intact, so they gather together, 400,000 Israelites the drew the sword.  “(Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.)  Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness?” ‘What’s going on, how did this  all happen?’  Now the Levite gives a little bit of a sanctified version of what took place, “And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge.” (verses 3-4) he doesn’t say ‘I stayed up all night drinking with her dad, left late in the day.’  “And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me:  and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead.” (verse 5)  Doesn’t say ‘I threw her out the front door into the maddening crowd.’  ‘My concubine they have forced, they have raped, that she is dead.’  “And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel:  for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel. (verse 6) speaking of sodomy, the men of Gibeah giving themselves over to this, “Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.” (verse 7)  You know, we listen to this and we think, someone’s saying ‘How could this go on, how could a man take his wife and hand her over to this, these men that would rape her or ruin her?’  There’s another question in our own culture, how can parents sometimes that call themselves Christian hand their kids over to the media that they’re exposed to, hand them over when they’re five years old, seven year old’s to PG-13 movies, does that mean Hollywood cares more about our kids than we do?  Hollywood saying you can’t get in unless you’re 13, unless your Christian parents bring you to see a PG-13 movie?  How often do we hand our kids over to something that we shouldn’t hand our kids over to?  It may just take 30 years to take their life instead of one night.  But there’s a question, and we get desensitized by the culture we’re in.  Listen, I read this report that said the average teenager in America, by the time they’re 18 years old has watched 22,000 hours of television, 22,000.  When I was talking with Damian, and his sister had given him a book, and that book was talking about mental development, and it said when a person gives themselves to study a particular subject, biology, you know whatever it might be, there’s somewhere, there are geniuses, those people that are savant, in autism, the human mind has the capacity of genius, some people are just like that, but the average person who really gives himself to something, somewhere around the range of 30,000 hours, crosses into the realm where everything starts to click in their mind, where genius starts to manifest.  They’ve studied a particular thing so long, so deeply, that all of a sudden, all the threads begin to come together for them, 30,000 hours.  That puts a teenage whose watched 22,000 hours of television pretty close to being a TV-genius, expert in violence, sexual immorality, murder.  Prime-time television right now has five violent acts per hour, on the average.  Saturday morning cartoons have five times that.  And I like The Three Stooges, don’t get me wrong, I watch them, I love to see them hit the guy on the head with a pick and it was all bent up, ice pick, grabbing his head with the ice tongs, I like that.  But the point is, there are better things to continue to wash over our hearts and minds than that.  And sometimes we can look at something, and say ‘That’s so terrible’ because the impact of it, the wickedness of it is all condensed into one act or one day or one week, and sometimes we tolerate something with as much wickedness that takes years to take someone down, to affect them.  We have to be careful.  ‘What should we do about all this, give your advice, your counsel?’  “And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house.  But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it; and we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel.” (verses 8-10) they’re going to take a thousand of ten thousand to make sure the camp is supplied, and do that depending on how many men are involved [in combat].  “So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.  And the tribes of Israel sent men through all thee tribe of Benjamin, saying,  What wickedness is this that is done among you?” (verses 11-12)  they want to know from the tribe of Benjamin ‘How can you be letting this go on in Gibeah?’  “Now therefore, deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel.  But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel:” (verse 13)  Now, this is going to have disastrous consequences, we’re going to find out that there are over 25,000 men in Benjamin that are warriors, they’re going to go up against the 400,000 of the rest of the tribes of Israel, they’re going to have several victories along the way, but eventually they’re all destroyed but 600 men.  All that will be left of the entire tribe of Benjamin will be 600 men, no wives, no children, no cities, they are reduced to nothing.  And look, maybe one of the lessons, or the questions I have as we go through, but certainly this becomes evident, that if you take the side of evil, you eventually will lose.  If you enter into a battle defending that which is wrong, because ultimately the battle is the LORD’s, and it wasn’t the rest of Israel that was on the throne, it was God that was on the throne.  And it was his Law that was being violated.  If we give ourselves and our homes, in our church, in our social circles to defend something that’s wrong, that God has not defended, but God has condemned, if we take the wrong side, that flies in the face of the LORD, we will never win that battle, we will always loose.  And Benjamin is held in front of us here, they’re gonna defend now the men of Gibeah.  Is it national pride, because they are a part of our tribe, is it for this reason or that reason?  We know it was because there was no king in Israel, and every man was doing what was right in his own eyes.  Benjamin, who was sent one of the parts of the body of this woman, refuses to give up the men of Gibeah, they refused to hearken to their brethren, the rest of the tribes of Israel, “But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel.  And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew the sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men.  Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.” (verses 14-16)  700 lefthanded slingers, that could hit a hair, that’s deadly in this day.  This was, rocket propelled grenades in our environment [I would say more like professional military snipers].  “And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew the sword:  all these were men of war.” (verse 17) men that had come out of the wars of Canaan under Joshua, probably.

 

Costliness Of Going To War Without The Real Counsel Of God

 

“And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God,” now if your translation says “Bethel” there, it's a translation of the house of God, but the house of God is at Shiloh, at this point in time, don’t get confused, it’s not that Bethel, the translation here is correct, “and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin?  And the LORD said, Judah  shall go up first.” (verse 18)  Now, in Judges chapter 1, the first two verses say “now at the death of Joshua the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first to fight against them?  And the LORD said, Judah shall go up, for I have delivered them in his hand.”  This is an interesting situation where they come to the LORD with a plan, they don’t say ‘Should we go to war?’ They say ‘Who should go up first, LORD, we have contrived a plan, we’ve come up with our plan, now would you put your blessing on it, please?’  The cause, you have to understand, in our lives, may be good, but God’s will not yet sought.  They didn’t ask ‘Should we go up?’ they said ‘Who should go up first?’ and they’re asking God to bless that.  And the LORD says, in a sense I think, this is a hard passage of Scripture, I think he’s saying ‘Well when you do go up, Judah should go up first.’  “And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah.  And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah.  And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men.  And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day.” (verses 19-22) that’s a bad thing to do when you lose a decisive battle, to try to encourage yourself, ‘Aah, we lost 22,000, let’s give it another go, what do you think guys?’  No, they should have been at Shiloh, they should have gone to seek the LORD, interesting set of circumstances, they encourage themselves.  Now they’re asking counsel of the LORD.  “(And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?  And the LORD said, Go up against him.)”

 

Asking God The Right Way, Really Seeking God’s Counsel

 

Now they add “my brother” now, which is good.  “And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.  And  Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword.” (verses 23-25)  Now they’re going to come now to the Tabernacle, they’re going to repent, they’re going to offer sacrifices, they’re going to seek the LORD, and over in verse 35 it’s going to finally say ‘And the LORD smote Benjamin for Israel.’  I don’t have good answers here as I look at this, because it almost, if you read it quickly, it sounds like the LORD’s saying ‘Ya, go on,’ and then they’re getting wiped out each time.  The first time they didn’t say ‘Should we go?’ they just said ‘Who should go first?’ the second time they said ‘Should we go?’ but they didn’t say ‘When should we go?’  And I think sometimes when we’re in warfare, look, whether there’s one person involved, whether there’s gossip, whether it’s a child, whether we’re just in a situation where there’s heresy, you know we can get in warfare, many different forms of it, and the New Testament has a lot to say about armour and our sword and about our helmet and about the enemy and about wrestling and about being disqualified and all of that.  I think that sometimes we can not [bother to] take the time to find out God’s timing, we can do the right thing, we can do the right thing at the wrong time, and we can do it in the wrong way with the wrong motives, even though it’s the right thing.  And I think when there comes a situation where we’re going to engage, particularly, our brethren [or our family members], particularly something in the Body of Christ, it says ‘with a spirit of meekness we should seek to restore someone whose been overtaken,’ and so forth.  I think things change now as they come to Shiloh and begin to sacrifice and repent, it’s the only thing I can see here, I think the cancer needs to be removed, but the LORD’s saying ‘You’re not going to go to war in hypocrisy, your own hearts have to be made right first,’ you’re not going to remove cancer with an infected scalpel, it’s not gonna happen.  When you disinfect the instrument, then it will be time to remove the cancer, it’s an interesting portion of Scripture.  Look in verse 26, I think we get to where the LORD wants to bring us.  Now look, their battles, they’re 0 for 2 at this time, which even if you’re the coach of the Eagles, all Philadelphia is complaining about you.  They’re 0 for 2, there’s 40,000 dead, that’s one tenth of their army has been lost.  That’s hard for us, as we just read through this.  “Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.” (verse 26)  “and they offered burnt offerings” that is the offering of consecration, “and peace offerings,” the offering of fellowship before the LORD.  Chapter 3 of Judges, verse 2, it says that God left some of the Canaanites, some of the enemy in the land for the generation who had not been in the wars of Canaan, that they might learn how to do war.  That didn’t mean swordsmanship and marshal arts, it meant so they could learn like Joshua that they needed to fall on their face before God, because every victory in your life and my life is a secondary victory, the first victory has to be borne out of God’s Word and out of prayer.  Every defeat is really a secondary defeat, it’s because we failed in some preliminary thing with him, under his guidance and his direction.  And here the nation gathers at Shiloh, there’s weeping, there’s fasting, there’s offering of sacrifices and so forth before the LORD.  “And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?  And the LORD said, Go up; for to-morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.”  (verses 27-28)  “for the ark of the covenant” only time it’s mentioned in the entire Book of Judges is right there.  The ark of the covenant was there in those days, in the end of chapter 18 it said there they set up Micah’s graven image which he made, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.  But this is the only time that the ark of the covenant is mentioned, and they’re gathered around it now, they’re offering sacrifices, they’re weeping, they’re bringing their own lives before the LORD.  and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or” for the first time now “shall I cease?” ‘shall I not be involved in this at all?’

 

The Battle’s Easy Once God’s With Them

 

“And the LORD said, Go up;” the reason, “for to-morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.”  “And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah.  And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times.  And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel.” (verses 28-31) and they kill about 30 men of Israel at this point in time, so Israel is, God could have just destroyed Gibeah like he did Sodom and Gomorrah, he could have just rained down fire.  He’s taking the opportunity to do something in his nation, this is before Othniel, this is before Gideon, before Samson, he’s trying to breathe something into the fiber of the nation that will be important through this whole 400 year period, that they turn their back on, they just never get ahold of.  But there is a lesson here, and now they’re going up, and this is much like the battle of Ai if you remember, they were defeated at first, and then the second time when they went up, they made like they were running, and the men came out of Ai and chased them, then they surrounded the city and set it on fire, we see the same thing here.  So these men must have been thinking about better days, they must have been thinking about when Joshua would seek the LORD before he’d go into battle and pray.  The only thing they lost there in Ai was the only time they didn’t pray, they lost that battle.  So these were all men, no doubt that were veterans of those wars, and now they’re enacting something they’re very familiar with under God’s guidance, and the men come out of Gibeah, they killed about 30 men, it tells us that, “And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first.  But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways.  And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baal-tamar:  and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah.  And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore:  but they knew not that evil was near them.  And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel:  and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men:  all these drew the sword.” (verses 32-35)  Now look, this is for condoning the sin of Gibeah.  The Benjamites should never have been in this situation, they should never have been in this situation.  They are now, God was graciously patient with them in working with the rest of the tribes of Israel facing the LORD in this, and they are taken down, lessons now doubt for us.  “So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten:  for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted unto the liers in wait which they had set beside Gibeah.  And the liers in wait hasted, and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in wait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword.  Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city.  And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons:  for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle.  But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven.  And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed:” terrorized, terrified, “for they saw that evil was come upon them.  Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them.  Thus they enclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease” the LORD with them in this battle, “over against Gibeah toward the sunrising.  And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valour.  And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon:  and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them.  So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valour.  But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months.” (verses 36-47) this high ridge that’s very defensible, they fled there, and took their position.  Six hundred men, the only survivors.  “And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand:” women and children and everyone, “also they set on fire all the cities that they came to.” (verse 48)  So Benjamin as a tribe is virtually wiped out, and you’re thinking ‘I could have sat home and watched something encouraging this evening.’  Hey, I didn’t write it, we’re just going through this, chapter by chapter, verse by verse, here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept, that’s how we grow, this is the full counsel of God.  Paul said ‘I have not neglected to declare unto you the whole counsel of God,’ so there’s important lessons here for us.  We got 600 Benjamites left, in an era when everybody’s doing what’s right in their own eyes.  Now wait till you see the way they try to get out of this.  You think that was bad, it gets crazier.  Aren’t you encouraged?”

 

Judges 21:1-25

 

“Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife. 2 And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore; 3 and said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel? 4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. 5 And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD?  For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death. 6 And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. 7 How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives? 8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD?  And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. 9 For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there. 10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. 11 And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. 12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, that have known no man by lying with any male:  and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 13 And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them. 14 And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead:  and yet so they sufficed them not. 15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin? 17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel. 18  Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters:  for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin. 19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is  on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. 20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; 21 and see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes:  because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war:  for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty. 23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught:  and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them. 24 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance. 25 In those days there was no king in Israel:  every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

 

Trying To Use One Vow To Get Around Another Vow

 

“Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife.” (verse 1)  So there in Mizpeh, and at that point Benjamin refused to come up and to hand over the men of Gibeah, evidently the rest of Israel got so mad they swore ‘None of us will ever give any of our daughters to the tribe of Benjamin again.’  Now, they had been with Joshua when they heard the blessings and the cursings on mount Ebal and Gerizim, they had sworn there, hey, anything you say to do, they forgot that.  But now they’re in this situation, maybe just because they lost two main battles, they’re swearing, of course Jesus tells us ‘Don’t swear, don’t make a vow,’ you know, Book of Matthew tells us this, he says “Again, you’ve heard of old time, thou shalt not foreswear thyself, but thou shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths,” Jesus said, “I say unto you, swear not at all, neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne, neither by earth, for it is God’s footstool, neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King, neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because you can’t make one hair white or black,” before Clairol obviously, “let your communication be yea and nay, for whatsoever is more than this is evil (or cometh from evil),” ah, don’t make an pledges, they [the Blab-it/Grab it televangelists] try to get us to do that on TV all the time, don’t they.  And Jesus said ‘don’t do that, don’t let anybody do that to you, don’t swear.’  You know, people come up to you, ‘Give me 20 bucks, I’ll give it back to you next week, I swear to God, I swear to God,’ if they’re going to do all that, you ain’t getting that 20 bucks back.  But they’ve made an oath here, they got themselves in a mess, they’ve sworn about this, ‘None of us are ever gonna give any of our daughters to Benjamin,’ “And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore; and said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel?” (verses 2-3) ‘the tribe’s gonna be exterminated.’  “And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.” (verse  4) wrong, they’re doing what’s right in their own eyes, there’s already an altar at Shiloh.  “And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD?  For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death.” (verse 5) ‘You remember, we said if anybody doesn’t come with us, their name is MUD.’  “And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.  How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?” (verses 6-7)  ‘the 600 guys that are left, if we don’t get them wives the tribe’s gonna die out.’  “seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?”  “And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD?  And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly.” ‘they look around, and said ‘Hey, you know what, nobody came from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly.’  “For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.” (verses 8-9)  In a sense Jabesh-gilead was condoning if they weren’t willing to take a stand, but none of this is right, none of this is right [they’re also using one oath to try to get out of another they had made, God must really be scratching his head over this one].  “For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.” this is the loop-hole we’re looking for.  “And the congregation sent hither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the woman and children.” (verse  10) kill everybody, just wipe out everybody, they’re doing what’s right in their own eyes, “And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.  And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male:  and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.  And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them.” (verses 11-13)  ‘Come down, you can trust us, we came up with a great idea, we just slaughtered everybody at Jabesh-gilead and we took 400 of their daughters that are all virgins and we brought them to you, you can trust us.’  I would trust them [being facetious]  “And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave the wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead:  and yet so they sufficed them not.” (verse 14) they’re 200 short, they got 600 men and they only got 400 wives.  “And the people repented them for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.  Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?  And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.  Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters:  for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.” (verses 15-18)  ‘we swore, we swore to God, we swore to God, we swore to God, we can’t give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel had sworn saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to the Benjamites.  Well, we can’t give them.’

 

‘We Can’t Give You The 200 Wives, But You Can Kidnap Them’

 

They’re going to come up with this plan, we can’t give ‘em, but that doesn’t mean we can’t kidnap them, we can’t give them, give means…but we didn’t say we couldn’t kidnap them.  There’s a way around this.  “Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.  Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;” ‘just hang around there and watch what goes on,’ “and see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh” of the priests and the Levites “come out to dance in the dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.” (verses 19-21) ‘We can’t give ‘em away, but you can catch ‘em!’  There was no king in Israel, and every man was doing what was right in his own eyes, ‘you can catch them, go around carefully and catch yourself a good one!  You can catch every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and then you can go to the land of Benjamin.’  “And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes:  because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war:  for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty.” (verse 22) ‘You didn’t give your daughters away, they got catched, so you don’t have to worry about it.’  What happens in society when everybody does what is right in their own eyes?  ‘ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty, you don’t have to worry about it, we’ve kept our vow.’  “And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught:  and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.” (verse 23)  so not only did they get wives, they got wives who could dance, I wonder if the other 400 didn’t say ‘That’s not fair, let us kill these and get 400 who can dance,’ everybody was doing what was right in their own eyes.  “so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught:  and they went and returned unto their inheritance,”
 
they hit ‘em over the head with a club and drug ‘em back by their hair, “and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.”  “And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance.  And in those days there was no king in Israel:  every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (verses 24-25)  “there was no king in Israel,” there will be soon.  Imagine, for one week, no law enforcement in Philadelphia.  Imagine one week, driving in that, protecting your home, protecting your children.  What would emergency rooms look like in hospitals?  How much smoke would be going up from this city?  Now the interesting thing of course is, as this is going on, I always think, sometimes the city municipality can be tough on a church, they want to know how many people are going, how many cars in the parking lot.  I think the city of Philadelphia should write us thank-you letters, because if they knew about you’all, they’d know how much money they’re saving in incarceration and drug programs and alcohol programs and divorce courts.  Can you imagine how much money we save the city?  What would we be like without our King?  We have a King.  They owe us bigtime, they just don’t realize it.  Ah, they should do us all kinds of favours, because they’re worried about their budget, we’re saving them so much money it’s amazing.  At the same time, all of this goes on, there is, in Bethlehem-judah a famine, there’s no bread, and another family moved to the territory of the Moabites, and then Ruth decided to come back to Bethlehem.  That’s before all of this.  So even in a culture and a society where things are so insane, you watch closely, and we’re going to see Ruth and Boaz, we’re going to see some very godly things, remarkable things enacted.  Even in the middle of the world we live in tonight, it’s possible for you and I to be salt and light, and we should be in this culture.  In fact, when Jesus talks about that in Matthew chapter 5, it’s emphatic, ‘it’s you, and you alone are the light of the world, you, and you only, you alone are the salt of the earth, no one else, no one else, you and you alone.’  It’s a dark world, you and you alone are the light of the world.  You know, we can effect, sometimes you look, and you can get disheartened, you watch the news.  You can’t effect all that, but you can effect one life, you can be light and salt in one life.  And if that one life turns, that’s an eternity, an eternity, one life.  And we can pray, and ask the Lord, we can come, we don’t have to offer burnt offerings or fellowship offerings, we have Christ, offered once and for all, and we have access, we can come to the throne of grace through our High Priest.  We can seek the Lord for grace in time of need.  And it should be our prayer, where we live, we live where there’s no king in a sense, and every man’s doing what’s right in his own eyes, there’s a mixture of that philosophy in the culture that we live in.  Everything’s getting, for the sake of inclusiveness and political correctness, everything’s getting endorsed and everything’s getting legalized, and it’s insanity, morally and ethically.   But you and I are here, for such a time as this.  So it’s a great time for us to pray, it’s a  great time for us to go through the open doors that the Lord puts in front of us.  It’s a great time for you and I to make sure that we’re never on the wrong side of the issue.  Because if we’re on the side of the issue that God is not on, we’re fighting against him, we’re never gonna win.  He’s just going to go all the more rounds than you are.  You may get your second wind, third wind, but you’re gonna fall down and he’s gonna win.  And I’m glad, because if you’re fighting against God you need to get wupped.  Because he loves you he’s gonna win.  Make sure you’re never on the wrong side of things, don’t, you know, we can look at this and be appalled, don’t hand over those you love to the standards of this world, don’t hand over your kids freely to this media, don’t let those things be in their ears and in their eyes, and don’t let it saturate them to the point where it determines their character.  You can be appalled at this, but you know sometimes we get in a slower process, like the frog boiling in the water, and we get desensitized.  We can’t do that, we can’t do that.  You know, at any point, I believe, if our hearts are genuine before the Lord, he sensitizes us again like that, snap! he breaks us, tears can come, our hearts can be broken, we can gain perspective again, we can look around.  Great lessons in the Book of Judges, but I encourage you, read ahead into the Book of Ruth, some great things, and then of course as we get into 1st Samuel, Israel’s finally going to have a king, 1st Samuel, 2nd Samuel, David will finally be on the throne, a picture, faulty, but a picture of that great King that will come.  So, let’s stand, let’s pray, let’s have the musicians come.  If you’re here tonight and you don’t know the Lord, you’ve never been saved, and you know if I’m talking to you, feel free, you can walk up during the worship or come up afterwards, we’d love to pray with you, give you a Bible to read.  If you’ve never asked God’s forgiveness, look, it’s interesting through the Book of Judges it says ‘Every man did what was right in his own eyes,’ but in several places it says ‘what they did was great evil in the eyes of the L
ORD.’  It can be right in our own eyes, as humans, and evil in the sight of the Lord, there is a way that seems right unto a man, Solomon says in the Book of Proverbs, but the end thereof is the ways of death.  So, there is a way to live, there is a way to see what’s right and what’s good, and certainly through his Word pointing our way through, with the leading of his Spirit, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ our eyes are opened, we have a way to live.  If you don’t know that, if you’re not living with meaning, if you don’t have hope beyond this world, you don’t know your sins are forgiven, I encourage you after the service, make your way up here, we’d love to pray with you and give you a Bible, talk to you, let’s bow our hearts…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Judges chapters 19 through 21, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

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Audio version:  https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED641



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