Judges 21 – Part 2QUESTION: Bad Math/Dancing Girls - 2ANSWER:Judges 21 – Part 2
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“The leaders ask, ‘What shall we do for wives for those who remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give our daughters as wives?’ Stop right there. Remember how insanely mad they were at the Ben tribe a few verses ago? How rabid they were because of the sensational news about the chopped up concubine? What gives? They are repentant. However, they are not repentant unto the LORD. They feel bad in a worldly way. Compare that to how we react to incidents today.
So, still rocking along with what was right in their own eyes, they wondered who didn’t show up at Mizpah. Remember they had made a great oath about that. They came up with the folks of Jabesh Gilead. Now it was entirely possible that these folks were never informed about the meeting at Mizpah. But trivial facts like that don’t matter to a mob which is looking to solve things outside of God’s power.
“Ultimately, Israel mounted up the army and totally wiped out the entire people group of Jabesh Gilead. In verse 11 it they commanded the army, ‘You shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has known a man intimately.’ So they went and destroyed another group of their brothers to solve a problem. And what did they end up with? Bad math.
“They only got 400 virgins from Jabesh Gilead for the 600 men of Ben. Here is a lesson that needs to be written across the inside of our foreheads, put on billboards everywhere, and shouted from the highest mountaintops: When we walk away from God and try to accomplish things by our own wisdom and strength, we ALWAYS come up short!
“A nation that is in the throes of own-eyes-ism will NEVER live abundantly in the Promised Land of our salvation. We’ve got to operate in faith and obedience or nothing will fulfill our needs. In that place, we cannot be satisfied.
“It is not about what’s right in our own eyes. There IS a King for Israel and America. His name is not Saul, David, Solomon, Clinton, nor Bush. Unbeknownst to Israel – and seemingly unbeknownst to us – the King is named Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty, God, Everlasting, Father, Prince, Peace, Jesus. In any economy, that’s One you can bank on!”
The congregation broke out in spontaneous applause. The jubilation was peppered with “Amens” and “Praise Gods”.
“Okay, back to the math lesson 600 grooms minus 400 brides equals 200 men with women – a recipe for disaster since the beginning of time. So, the big muckety-mucks of Israel put their heads together and came up with a solution that seemed right in their own eyes: Shiloh. There was a yearly feast at Shiloh where young women traditionally danced before the LORD. In verse 19 they gave the 200 left-out grooms of Benjamin Mapquest-like directions – basically GPS coordinates – of where young virgins would be dancing. Then they told the Ben-bros to hide and when the young ladies came a-dancin’, to pick one out and grab her.
“Did you catch the hitch? The men of Israel then would not be GIVING their daughters to the boys of Benji – which would violate their stupid oath – the men of Ben would be TAKING the daughters. Ahh, we come to another indicator of a nation that has turned its back on God: re-interpreting rules, laws, and contracts. How much of that do we see across the American church and the American government today? This isn’t the NBA. God doesn’t renegotiate the contract of scripture. Think about it.
“When they had ‘solved’ the Benjamin crisis, the people of Israel smugly went back home and, in the words of verse 25, ‘In those days there was no king in Israel America; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.’More Judges Dive Chapel Devos