“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
Israel has now lost a tribe- the tribe of Benjamin. There are only 600 men left and Israel now feels sorry for their brother. So they work out an idea to get wives for their brother.They made two vows: that none of them were to give their daughters in marriage to any man from Benjamin, and that anyone who did not show up to Mizpah with all Israel to fight Benjamin, would be put to death. So they discovered Jabesh-Gilead did not assemble with them at Mizpah, so they ordered that all the men and women who were not virgins be killed, and all the virgin daughters be taken and given to the remaining Benjamites. They found 400 virgins, so they were short by 200! Their next plan for the remaining was to snatch the women at the annual festival at Shiloh- that worked! And when their fathers and brothers would protest, the elders of Israel would tell them to be sympathetic, for they never found wives for the remaining, and they wouldn’t be guilty of breaking their vow, because they didn’t actually give them away!
There’s a theme that has run through this book to suggest that without good leadership, the people go astray. When the Shephard is gone, the sheep scatter- or, when the cat’s asleep, the mice come out to play! All throughout, when one Judge died, the people did evil in the sight of the Lord, and from chapter 18, it begins to say and ends the book with, “in those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” This just confirms what this whole book is about: the need for good, strong leadership. The sins in this book grew worse from idolatry to full on rape and murder, leading to a whole tribe being massacred and almost being wiped out- all because the people had no king! Without a vision, the people cast off restraint. If there are no laws, the land becomes lawless. Man needs restraint, therefore, man needs a leader to cast vision and lead them in the right direction. The Bible says to pray for our leaders, and we need to do that more than ever. If we don’t, we will see our towns and communities and our nation cast off restraint- and that means chaos.
“Father, I pray for our leaders, in our nations, towns, communities and churches- that You would strengthen them and lead them into Your purposes in these last days. I pray for faithfulness in our leaders, that Your church would remain strong and rise up, fulfilling its mandate on the earth. I pray for the sheep, that they would be safe in Your fold, in Jesus’ name, amen.”