Judges 20:1-11

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 31, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Then all Israel from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead came together as one and assembled before the Lord in Mizpah. The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of God’s people, four hundred thousand men armed with swords. (The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, 'Tell us how this awful thing happened.'
So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, 'I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died. I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece to each region of Israel’s inheritance, because they committed this lewd and outrageous act in Israel. Now, all you Israelites, speak up and tell me what you have decided to do.'
All the men rose up together as one, saying, 'None of us will go home. No, not one of us will return to his house. But now this is what we’ll do to Gibeah: We’ll go up against it in the order decided by casting lots. We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for this outrageous act done in Israel.' So all the Israelites got together and united as one against the city.” (Judges 20:1-11)

What happened that Israel was assembling? Check out the previous context of this story here. A Levite’s concubine had been killed because of the immorality of the Benjamite city of Gibeah, and now he’s doing something about it. He let the entire nation know what happened, so the nation began to unite against the immorality that was taking place in their own nation.

They came together from all areas of the nation and united at Mizpah to plan their course of action. Not quite all of them though - the Benjamites boycotted this gathering, likely since its purpose was to go against one of their towns.

The Levite tells everyone what had happened to his concubine. He may have exaggerated it a bit to paint himself in a better light, though - after all, he knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it. But he explained why he dismembered his concubine’s body and sent them all the pieces, so they would discover what happened and bring attention to it.

Everyone at the gathering agreed that the town of Gibeah needed to be punished for their immorality and wrongful actions. The Israelites united around this cause.

Sometimes it takes a horrible situation to unite a people. In my generation, I experienced September 11, 2001 (I was a sophomore in college then) and saw how our nation united out of the tragedy to step up our game in fighting the war on terror. It was a time of high patriotism and unity in our nation, as we were fighting a common enemy. I recall hearing that the Sunday after 9/11/01 had the most church attendance our nation had seen in a long time. For my grandparents’ generation, they saw the nation unite against Japan and Germany in World War II. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII, one in the army under General Patton and the other in the navy in the South Pacific. The U.S. got into the war because of the tragedy at Pearl Harbor, and our nation was united in the cause because of the evil we were facing.

Tragedy and loss of life is always sad, but God can (and does) use bad situations to unite a people and to bring about His good (Romans 8:28). The tragedy of the concubine’s death united the nation of Israel against immorality, so God could bring about His good back into the nation and they would follow Him again.

What has happened in your life that sparked a change? What tragedy has motivated you to change your life to follow God more? If one man’s reaction to the death of one woman united an entire nation, what can you do with your one life?

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