Now in those there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
— Judges 21:25
At the end of the book of Judges we see that a Levite’s concubine was abused and killed by a group of Benjaminites, whereupon the Levite cut her into twelve pieces and sent the pieces throughout all Israel (Judg. 19). All the people gathered together as one man in Mizpah to learn what had happened. When they heard what the men of Benjamin had done, the tribes of Israel went to war with the entire tribe of Benjamin, for the leaders of Benjamin would not surrender the guilty men for judgment. At first Benjamin defeated the rest of Israel, killing twenty-two thousand Israelites the first day, then eighteen thousand the next. Eventually, however, the people of Israel asked the Lord if they should continue to fight, and the Lord responded that He would deliver Benjamin into their hands in the next battle. The Israelites did defeat Benjamin, killing twenty-five thousand soldiers. They went on to burn their cities, killing all the inhabitants. Only six hundred men managed to escape. All the tribes had suffered in this calamity, but what happened to Benjamin was by far the most disastrous, for the entire tribe had been nearly wiped from the face of the earth (Judg. 20).
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, pages 15-16.
Tomorrow: “The Degradation of Israel (3)”