In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. — Judges 21:25
Sometimes it takes simple honesty to recognize that our choices are from selfish motives. I remember when my wife wanted an automobile of her own. Our children were older, and she felt it was time for her to have more mobility and freedom.
Since my wife didn’t know a great deal about automobiles, I decided to choose a car for her myself. I searched car lots and considered options. Then, I saw it — a black 1953 Buick Roadmaster, four-door sedan, with red trim, and lots of chrome. I immediately fell in love with the car.
Auto designers in those days had tremendous imaginations! The grille was huge, and it had chrome-plated casting and vertical posts merging into the bumper. Four chrome “portholes” traveled along each fender. The car was longer and heavier than almost any sedan made today. It possessed various other attractive features, but there was one feature it did not have — power steering. I bought it without even thinking of this factor. After all, who would need power steering?
Later, I found out that my wife did! She valiantly tried to operate the car, tugging with all of her strength on the uncooperative steering wheel, but she could not handle it properly.
When I bought the car, I really meant to do what I thought was the right thing. I just let my own likes and desires get ahead of my wife’s needs. I could have chosen a small automobile (with power steering) that would have suited perfectly, although it probably would not have had chrome portholes in the fenders.
While my actions were thoughtless, their consequences were relatively minor. In contrast, the actions of the Children of Israel were far more serious. No doubt they had reasons why they thought the things they did were proper and all right. However, some of the actions that were “right in their own eyes” were an abomination to God.
We want to be certain that our thoughts and actions are acceptable in God’s eyes. God’s Word should be our real standard for what is right. Daily, we want to submit ourselves to Him and ask for His direction, help, and strength. He will help us live as He wants us to.
The Israelites had massacred a total of 25,000 men from the tribe of Benjamin, and made several rash oaths to the Lord. One was to never give their own daughters in marriage to the Benjamites, and another was to kill anyone who did not respond to the call to assembly. In today’s text, we read about the aftermath of the onslaught.
The tribe of Benjamin was in danger of extinction, with only 600 men remaining. There were no Benjamite women or children left because the Israelites had invaded the cities of Benjamin and slaughtered them all. The Israelites came to the sober realization that they had almost completely destroyed one of the tribes of God’s people. Since they had made the vow never to give their own daughters to the Benjamites in marriage, they looked for another way to make provision for the Benjamites.
The eleven tribes had made an oath to kill those who did not respond to the call to assemble (which explains why the large number of 400,000 responded). At this time, it was determined that no one had rallied to this battle from Jabesh-gilead. So, the Israelite army made another attack. They slew the men, married women, and children in Jabesh-gilead, saving 400 unmarried women to be wives for the Benjamites. However, there were 600 Benjamite men and only 400 Gileadite women, so the elders of Israel decided the Benjamites could capture 200 daughters of Shiloh so that each Benjamite would get his own wife.
The Israelites acted on their own authority and on their own opinions of what was right and wrong. They tried to correct their errors with wrong actions. The results were horrible!
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
B. Moral decline during the time of the judges
2. War declared against Benjamin
c. The restoration of Benjamin (21:1-24)
(1) The sorrow of Israel (21:1-7)
(2) The securing of wives for the Benjamite remnant (21:8-24)
(a) The virgins of Jabesh-Gilead (21:8-16)
(b) The virgins at Shiloh (21:17-24)
C. Conclusion (21:25)
When we do things that are right in our own eyes, we leave out the most important part — what is right in God’s eyes.