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THE CRY FOR VENGEANCE
1. This cry was universal (Judges 20:1).
“From Dan to Beershebah, with Gilead.” There was not a dissentient voice.
2. They were in earnest (Judges 20:2). Such numbers.
3. Their desire for accurate information (Judges 20:3-7).
4. The vengeance must be summary (Judges 20:8 etc.).
5. They were united in their purpose (Judges 20:11).
6. A whole tribe takes part with the wicked city (Judges 20:13-14).
7. The men of zeal act in a spirit of presumption and self confidence, and are defeated (Judges 20:18-25).
The first step was wrong. They took the matter into their own hands, and decided for themselves to punish Benjamin. And then having settled that, they only asked God, “Who shall go up first?” Thus to put God out of His right place, and decide for themselves without Him was a very grave error. And He is jealous of the glory which is due to His great name. Even on the second day their first step was to set the battle on array against Benjamin, and then they come, as a second step, to ask the question: “Shall we go up at all?” Which means, shall we do that which already we have decided to do? God will not be mocked, so He again left them to themselves. But on the third day they were full of penitence, humiliation, and reverence, and left themselves entirely in His hands. At once they gained their point (Judges 20:26-28.)
8. The temporary success of the wicked, no proof of the Divine favour. Judges 20:34-35.
The Benjamites being twice successful in pitched battles, thought they were to be successful all through, and that God was not frowning on their conduct. So is it with many. “These things thou hast done, and I kept silence, etc.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). Yet suddenly destruction cometh; “as fishes are caught in the net, or birds in the snare.”
9. When the hour of the wicked comes there is no helper. Judges 20:40-45.
Here was more than a mere chastisement. It was almost an annihilation of a tribe in Israel. It was the “day of the Lord,” for men convicted of great crimes, and now their sins came into remembrance. The men of Gibeah were swept away with the besom of destruction, and all the wicked in that sinning land were “cut down as the grass, and withered as the green herbs.” The sword before, the fire behind, and the hosts of 11 tribes all around them, there was no escape. All perished, except a very small remant, who took refuge in one of Nature’s strong fastnesses. An awful beacon to warn generations to come!
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Judges 20". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25