Judges concludes with a story of folly – a misguided Israel trying to cover up a scandal of their own making, and then blaming God himself for their failure!
A Levite from the hill country of Ephraim is traveling with his wife and servant and decides to spend the night in Gibeah, a town controlled by the tribe of Benjamin. But no one offers them a place to stay until an old man comes along and provides hospitality. Then the men of the town surround the old man’s house and demand that the visitor be turned over to them so they can have homosexual relations with him. The old man refuses, but eventually the Levite gives them his wife, a concubine, to save his own skin. They abuse her so badly she dies.
When this disgrace becomes known, all tribes of Israel excluding Benjamin gather for an emergency council, declaring that nothing this despicable has ever been seen in Israel. But instead of calling upon God for guidance, they rely on their own wisdom, saying, “Let us consider, take counsel, and speak up.” They are “united as one man”, determined to punish Benjamin for such a “lewd and disgraceful act.” And they pledge to never to allow one of their daughters to marry a man from the tribe of Benjamin, so that eventually Benjamin will cease to exist.
Only then do they ask God who should lead the fight. What follows is a slaughter, not of Benjamin, but of the sons of Israel, clearly the judgment of God for acting without God’s blessing. Then Israel repents to God and in his never-ending love delivers Benjamin to them in defeat.
But then Israel realizes they have trapped themselves. They had pledged to wipe out a tribe of God’s chosen people and now realize this is a huge mistake. So in an act worthy of the Keystone Cops, they arrange to steal wives for the remnant of 600 men of Benjamin from the innocent daughters of Shiloh.
Their excuse for this bizarre behavior is “because the Lord has made a breach in the tribes of Israel.”
Does anyone remember Flip Wilson in the 1970s at the “Church of What’s Happ’nin’ Now” saying “Da devil made me do it”?
Da Lord made Israel try to destroy Benjamin?
So what is the parallel with America?
We too have leaders who have forgotten the law of the land, enacted powerful restrictions on our freedom, and then blamed the Constitution of the United States for causing their illegal actions!
As we proceed through the Old Testament, Israel is heading straight for disaster.
So is America, because it has forgotten common decency in its lust for power – on both sides of the aisle.