Apostasy of the Period of the Judges, cont’d. Judges 17:1-21:25
Judges 18:1-31 Seen in a Tribe (Dan)
Judges 18:1-31-The Danites had never fully conquered their territory and the Amorites had forced them into the mountains. They sent out some of their men to find a place to live and they came to Micah's home. There, they met the priest and asked if they should continue. He told them to do so and that they would be successful. They then went further to Laish and found it to be a beautiful land and the city was totally unprotected. They returned to their people and told the tribal leaders they had found a place to settle. The tribe sent 600 men to conquer the people in Laish. Along the way they took the Levite and the objects of worship from Micah's home. Micah chased them down but was not strong enough to make them return the priest and his stolen articles. The Danites settled in Laish and renamed it Dan. They set up the idols that they had stolen from Micah and worshipped them. In doing so…they were worshipping a false god, not the LORD.
Judges 19:1-21:25 Seen in the Nation (war with Benjamin)
Judges 19:1-21:25-“There was no king in Israel” is a refrain used four times in the last part of the book (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:5). It really is a phrase that depicts that attitude of the people. Two times the words, “every many did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:5) are added…this helps to understand even clearer what is being said. The people had largely forsaken the commandments of God and were now operating by their own decisions…doing whatever seemed to be best for them. In these closing chapters we find the evidence of the downward spiral of the people.
A Levite was living in a remote part of Ephraim. His concubine ran away and was unfaithful. He went to her father's house and found her. On the return trip home they spent the night in Gibeah (a city of Benjamin). No one offered them lodging, until an old man from Ephraim did so. The people who lived there were Benjamites. That night, men came to the house and demanded, "Bring out the man...that we may have relations with him." (:22). The man refused to do so…but offered to give them his concubine. The men of the city took his concubine and raped her all night. In the morning they found her dead on the doorstep. The man returned home...cut her body into 12 pieces and sent them to the 12 tribes of Israel. This certainly got their attention.
Prayer: Lord, how is it possible that Israel has sunk this far, this fast? The very people who had seen Your miracles in the wilderness, who had agreed to Your covenant, who were the beneficiaries of Your blessings in the Promised Land. It serves to remind me of the depth, the totality of the depraved sinful nature. Please, Lord…keep me close to You. Don’t let me wander even the slightest from Your side. My old nature is so strong, and so subversive. Holy Spirit…I submit my life to You. Be stronger in me…than I am in myself!