Day 21, Judges 20

Today’s reading in our Judges plan is Judges 20. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • When word was received regarding the crime that had been committed in Gibeah (in chapter 19), the Israelite tribes gathered together and prepared their armies.  This was the first time in many years the tribes were gathered together for a single purpose.
  • All the tribes agreed that Gibeah should be punished.  Prior to taking military action, messengers were sent to demand punishment of the guilty parties in Gibeah.  But the Benjamites protected the guilty men.
  • After three battles, the Israelites finally defeat the Benjamites and set their towns on fire.  They nearly annihilated the tribe of Benjamin.  However, 600 males fled to safety.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • The Benjamites were more loyal to their own tribe than to God’s law.  By covering for the evil men who raped and killed the concubine in chapter 19, the entire tribe of Benjamin sank to a level of immorality as low as the criminals.
  • The time period of the judges ends in a bloody civil war that sets the stage for the spiritual renewal, which will come under Samuel in the book of 1 Samuel.
  • This is the only place in Judges where the Ark of the Covenant is mentioned.  This probably indicates how seldom the people consulted God.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Have you ever disobeyed God in an effort to be loyal or accepted by a friend?  Never be ashamed to display your loyalty to God even if others object.  God will reward you for being faithful to Him.  He may also use your loyalty to draw others to Him.
  • What difficulty or trial are you currently facing?  We’re not sure why God didn’t give victory to the Israelites until the third battle.  But the apparent setbacks did have a healthy effect on the spiritual outlook of the tribes.  They were driven to fast and pray in an attempt to find the will of God.  Let your current difficulty drive you to seek God and His will for your life.