People, people who believe and follow the One True God, desire to know what He wants, His will. Or, they think they do. Does this Creator we worship, Who we follow, does He also meet our standards or follow our senses of justice and propriety? I hope not, and we would probably say no, but the alternatives can be frightening and sobering options.
They said, “Why, O LORD, God of Israel, has this come about in Israel, so that one tribe should be missing today in Israel?” (Judges 21:3 NASB)
The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were carved into the gold shoulder boards of the high priest. Think about that. The man responsible for leading the people in worship before their Creator, Yahweh, the God of Israel, carried the names of all twelve tribes into the tabernacle to perform his duties. Not eleven tribes, or ten, or two, but all twelve were carved on those shoulder boards. This God having brought these people from slavery in Egypt had their names inscribed in gold. So, why would He then have one wiped out?
And the people were sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. (Judges 21:15 NASB)
Who made a “breach” in the tribes of Israel? If it was the God of Israel who made the breach, if it was the will of their Creator and Lord that there be a breach, then why try to repair it? And why would their God desire and bring about a breach in the first place? Were they truly so evil that there could be no repairing, no restoration, no forgiveness?
Keep in mind that verse 15 is not “dialogue” where the people say this, but rather author explanation. The author and the people of the events are separated by hundreds of years. Yet the author preserves this assessment of the situation as he faithfully records the details of the event. To him, it is as inspired as the rest of the record.
If this assessment is to be taken at face value, if it is true, then was the repair of this breach made by God also His will? Did the God of Israel also desire for the tribe of Benjamin to be preserved, after such a rebellious defense of such distorted behavior (transgression on top of iniquity)? I think the repair, but maybe not the methods, were the will of God.
People say stupid things. In fact, this entry could be considered by some to be pretty stupid. I don’t think the stuff people say are necessarily the will of God. I believe the oaths taken by the people of Israel in reaction against their brother, Benjamin, were not what God wanted them to do. But they made those oaths before God, and held themselves to them. It was this behavior of the people that brought about both the destruction of Benjamin, and the busted solution to repair the destruction. On the one hand they were rash in making the oaths, and, on the other, faithful in keeping them.
This passage serves to illustrate that the Maker and Sustainer of the universe works with flawed human creatures. He doesn’t wipe them out for their ridiculous mistakes, but forgives and works those mistakes into His purpose and design. This passage also illustrates that, in the cosmic war against the enemy of God, things don’t always go according to plan. But, in the end, the twelve tribes named on the shoulders of the high priest remained. It was an expensive victory, much more expensive than intended, but still a victory over the enemy of God seeking the destruction of His people.
That’s my view through the fence this morning. What do you see through your knothole?