The conclusion of Judges in Chapter 21 is infuriating. The people had returned to God for just long enough to set right the lawless wrongs of the tribe of Benjamin. After a struggle and after repentance for their own sins the justice was served. Yet in the process the leaders made promises that were not needed and not asked by God. They ran into the same problem that a prior judge Jephthah ran into when he unknowingly vowed to kill his own daughter. In the fulfillment of these vows more death is the result. Judges 21 then concludes in one verse the state of the nation.
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25 ESV
We Need a King
This exact verse or a variation of this verse appears at least 4 times in the second half of the book of Judges. The people wanted a king to be like the other nations around them but that was not God’s plan for them. God is king and the people should have been looking to him for leadership.
If we are not following God’s lead then where are we going to turn to for what is right and wrong? We will turn to ourselves. We will literally make it up as we go. Current society has no king and everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes. So, what does that look like?
For ancient Israel it was murder and forced marriage. Sounds like lawlessness and misery to me. The leadership council made two promises when they were leading the people. First, they were so mad at the tribe of Benjamin that they vowed to never give their daughters to the men of Benjamin in marriage. Second any group that failed to help them in the war with Benjamin would be killed as well. To keep these promises, they had to get shrewd.
On the second vow they killed everyone in the sub tribe that did not help except for the virgin women. Who they then gave to the remnant of Benjamin as wives. Imagine the horror of starting a tribe and legacy of family history this way. One can ask where is God in all this but they never asked him what they should do. Judges 21 is a society that is just making up the rules as they go. But it gets better because these poor girls were not enough and they needed more. So, they came up with an even more shrewd plan where they would allow the tribe of Benjamin to latterly kidnap young women from a festival party to take as wives. See in this way they provided wives while not breaking the promise to give their daughters in marriage. So noble of them.
We Have No King
Current western culture runs the same way. We never seek what God wants. We always do whatever is right in our eyes at this moment and the results are… increasing crime, deviant sexual behaviors, men who want to be women, increasing anger, division, and a loss of pluralistic goodwill.
Christ is King
For Israel Judges 21 concludes with more of the same for the nation. Society would grind on generations with only a remnant of people who make God their king. Who dear reader is your king? Do you look to men in government? Do you look to that influencer on social media? You do know they are just making it up as they go. Murder and chaos is the only result from that. God and only God brings order and peace. Make Christ your King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17 ESV