Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 20, 2015

“For the Lord will not reject forever, For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion, According to His abundant lovingkindness.”

Today’s devotion comes from Judges Chapter 21.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%2021&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin in marriage.”  2 So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly.  3 They said, “Why, O Lord, God of Israel, has this come about in Israel, so that one tribe should be missing today in Israel?”  4 It came about the next day that the people arose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

5 Then the sons of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up in the assembly to the Lord?”  For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.”  6 And the sons of Israel were sorry for their brother Benjamin and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel today.  7 What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by the Lord not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?”

8 And they said, “What one is there of the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the Lord at Mizpah?” And behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly.  9 For when the people were numbered, behold, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there.  10 And the congregation sent 12,000 of the valiant warriors there, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. 11 This is the thing that you shall do: you shall utterly destroy every man and every woman who has lain with a man.”  12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known a man by lying with him;  and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 Then the whole congregation sent word and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them.  14 Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had kept alive from the women of Jabesh-gilead; yet they were not enough for them.  15 And the people were sorry for Benjamin because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

16 Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?”  17 They said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be blotted out from Israel. 18 But we cannot give them wives of our daughters.”  For the sons of Israel had sworn, saying, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin.”

19 So they said, “Behold, there is a feast of the Lord from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south side of Lebonah.”  20 And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21 and watch; and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to take part in the dances, then you shall come out of the vineyards and each of you shall catch his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.”  Judges Chapter 21:  Verses 1-21.

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We don’t necessarily specifically condone everything that the sons of Israel did in this chapter, noting the concluding verse of this chapter.  “In those days there was no king in Israel;  everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  Verse 25.  But, we do generally commend the compassion of the sons of Israel for the tribe of Benjamin and that they took steps to rebuild the tribe of Benjamin. 

The sons of Israel felt that they had punished the tribe of Benjamin enough.  They did not want to exterminate completely the tribe of Benjamin.  They now felt sorry for the tribe of Benjamin and wanted to provide for their survival.

We know from the prior chapter that the sons of Israel commanded all the tribes to provide men to go to war against the sons of Benjamin and that they killed about all except 600 men who turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon.  Judges 20:47.

600 men were therefore left, but there were no women from the tribe of Benjamin for them to marry so as to continue the existence of the tribe.

The sons of Israel made two provisions for the rebuilding the tribe of Benjamin.

First, the fact that no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly to go to war with the sons of Benjamin provided one partial solution.  The sons of Israel would utterly destroy every man and women from Jabesh-gilead to punish them for not obeying the command to go to war, but they would save the virgins for the sons of Benjamin.  However, it only provided 400 women.

Second, the sons of Israel would allow the sons of Benjamin to take wives for themselves from the daughters of Shiloh who come out to take part in the dances in the yearly feast.

We see that Scripture does commend compassion and rebuilding.

“Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire.  Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.”  Nehemiah 2:17.

“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”  Isaiah 58:12.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone;  just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”  Colossians 3:12-13.

And, as Reformed Doctrine teaches, we look to our LORD to be our example, our inspiration, and our source of strength.

“31 For the Lord will not reject forever,
32 For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.”  Lamentations 3:31-32.

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