“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (v. 25 NLT)”
The Book of Judges wraps up with a haunting statement, especially considering the story that goes along with it. We’ve just read that the entire tribe of Benjamin has been wiped out, save a few, and we know that this tragedy came about because of a horrible act against one woman. The consequences that unfold after that act are due to the decisions of the Israelites as a whole. Notice the first sentence of Chapter 20 starts with “then all the Israelites were united as one man,” and from then on out to the end of the Book of Judges, we find no individuals named and therefore “responsible” for the events that took place. The entire Book of Judges has been story after story about individual people, heroes we can say, who led the Israelites at some point after they entered the Promised Land. These last two chapters, however, show us what happened when the Israelites were left leaderless.
Writing prompt: judge for yourself
I was thinking about the last sentence of this book and the stories that went along with it, and I was like, “So, THIS is what seemed right???” It doesn’t seem very right to me, but then again, I’m not there, am I? I think about my hometown and what would happen if a woman was raped and murdered and left for dead on a porch step. I’m pretty sure my little community would come unhinged, leader or no. I guess the extremes that the Israelites went to to ensure justice is endearing, but I do wonder if the scenario would have played out a little differently had the Israelites had an officially recognized judge. Using past chapters as guides, write how this situation may have played out if the Israelites had had a leader (a human one, that is).