JUDGES

Introduction: With the Bible’s Book of Judges the history books of the Bible will continue and surprisingly we will continue to learn more about mankind and about ourselves then we will about God – It isn’t until the Prophets that we really start to learn intimately about who God is and what He desires

We are making progress through the Bible however at this point in the Bible we still have not yet had the opportunity to find out much about who God is as a person through getting to know God's heart and God's soul. It will not be until we get past the history books and into the messages of the Prophets that we will really begin to enter into the heart and soul of God and begin to become more personally and intimately acquainted with who God is as a person and what His nature is. All of the books of the Bible cover Theology and Doctrine however the history books of the Bible cover much more about human relationships, human behavior and human government than they do in providing insight into God. - Note: It is amazing and even startling how little 'relationship' and situational type of information is provided in the Bible's New Testament and that is because much of the relationships, situations and examples for the Christian Church have already been experienced and documented in the Bible's Old Testament. Much of what we are going to look at in these next O.T. books are going to be timeless situations and relationships that being timeless actually mirror the situations, events and relationships of our own life and therefore have a tremendous message of value and importance for us even today.

The book of Judges: The Old Testament book of Judges tells the story of what could be called the ‘Dark Ages’ of the chosen people – When the book opens, the 12 tribes of Israel are on the edge of national success – Under Moses and his successor Joshua, they have been liberated from slavery and have begun to occupy and settle in their Promised Land – But something goes terribly wrong – By the time the book closes, central leadership has broken down and the tribes are at each other’s throats – The people are oppressed on every side by enemies and in danger of national extinction – This book contains some of the most gruesome stories in the Bible – episodes of idolatry, theft, rape, murder and civil war – What went wrong? Let’s take a closer look

Although anarchy existed in Israel during much of the period of the judges, the story shows that God was still working out his purpose with them. The entire story is a monument to God's patience, love and mercy. Time after time, the people became trapped in a downward spiral toward moral degeneracy, and the refrain, 'The Israelites once again did evil in the sight of the Lord', recurs like a monotonous litany throughout the book. Yet, every time the Israelites repented, God forgave them and sent a deliverer (or 'judge' - hence the name of the book). The central section of the book (chapters 3:7-16:31) tells us of six judges God raised up to deliver his people from their enemies. These stories - with their pattern of Israel's sin, sorrow, repentance and restoration - illustrate what is often called the 'cycle of sin'. At first glance, the stories all seem to follow the same theme. But there are subtle and important differences. These small divergences are important, like when a musician plays variations on a theme. First we hear what could be called the 'base' theme. Then it is played again, with a few variations. As the variations are developed, the base theme recedes further and further into the background, and may even be no longer recognizable to the untrained ear. But the trained listener can appreciate what is happening. The chronicler of Judges uses much the same technique, and we need to read carefully to appreciate the lesson. These are not just stories - they are a variation of a theme. ... Jesus Christ breaks the cycle of sin: Old Testament scholar Arthur Cundall identifies the central message of the book of Judges: "The period of the judges' is a faithful witness to the fact of man's frailty and to his need not of a merely temporal deliverer, but of an eternal Saviour who can effect a perfect redemption." Cundall's comment could also apply to the history of the modern world. We live in a society that is supposedly so much more sophisticated and enlightened than that of ancient Israel. And yet much of our behavior has been just as barbaric and faithless as that of the Israelites. Our society, just like theirs, continues to be "a faithful witness to the fact of man's frailty and of his need for an eternal Saviour." The good news of the gospel is that there is an eternal Savior who has already broken the cycle of sin by offering a perfect redemption for the whole world. He is the God-man, Jesus Christ. And the basic message of the Old Testament book of Judges - that sin leads to slavery while repentance leads to redemption - provides a fitting background for the New Testament teaching: because Jesus died for our sins, God grants us repentance and delivers us from spiritual slavery. [link]

Background – The book of Judges – “Our English word ‘judge’ fails to bring out the breadth of meaning encompassed in the Hebrew term shophet (from the verb shaphat, to ‘judge,’ ‘justify,’ or ‘deliver’) – The book may be divided into three parts: introduction, which deals with Israel’s failure to conquer Canaan completely, first from a military and then from a religious perspective – the main body of the book, consisting largely of the adventures of the individual judges a conclusion, which sets the stage for the transition to monarchy by painting a picture of moral decline and political dissolution in a time when ‘there was no king in Israel and every man did as he pleased’ – The stories of the judges are thus framed by an introduction that looks back to the book of Joshua and a conclusion that looks forward to the books of Samuel and Kings

J. Cheryl Exum writes: "The book may be divided into three parts: a double introduction, which deals with Israel's failure to conquer Canaan completely, first from a military and then from a religious perspective (1:1-3:6); the main body of the book, consisting largely of the adventures of the individual judges (3:7-16:31); and a double conclusion (chaps. 17-21), which sets the stage for the transition to monarchy by painting a picture of moral decline and political dissolution in a time when 'there was no king in Israel and every man did as he pleased' (21:25). The stories of the judges are thus framed by an introduction that looks back to the book of Joshua and a conclusion that looks forward to the books of Samuel and Kings." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 245). ... Jay G. Williams writes: "Clearly one of the main points of the author is that almost from the beginning Israel fell into sin and therefore was subjected to historical punishment by Yahweh at the hands of her enemies. Only when Yahweh raised up a new hero to lead the people was Israel revived once more. As the story proceeds, however, the cycle becomes more and more disastrous for Israel. The last of the judges, Samson, is simply a great buffoon who kills a few Philistines but who does not lead Israel in battle at all. The story moves, then, from a glorification of the heroes to a call for a new and better way of organizing Israel politically and militarily. That is to say, Judges points forward to the books of Samuel and the rise of the kingship. The book ends with two rather gruesome stories (17:1-18:31 and 19:1-21:25) which illustrate graphically the corrupt condition of religion and justice under the judges." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 159). [link]

Judges 1-2 – A historical interim book covering the death of Joshua until the period of the Kings of Israel – about 300 to 400 years of Jewish history are covered – Thirteen Judges are chronicled during thirteen alternating periods of Spiritual revival in Israel followed by periods of backsliding that led to oppression and defeat at the hands of their enemies

'Judges 1:14-15 And it came to pass, when she [Achsah his daughter] came to him (Caleb), that she moved him [her husband] to ask of her father [for] a field: and she lighted from off her ass (donkey) [the Jews were not to own horses only a donkey (Exodus 20:17)]; and Caleb said unto her, What wilt thou? And she said unto him, Give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the nether [lower] springs.' - With the new book in the Bible and a new era in Israel Calab [one of the two successful spies (Numbers 13:30), Joshua was the other one] now becomes the ever present type of Jesus Christ in the Bible. His devout daughter Achsah sought out her father's presence and asked him for a blessing for herself and for her family. Caleb had already generously given her a large portion of land and now she requested from him some additional land that contained some valuable springs of water and as a type of Jesus Caleb then gave to her two separate life sustaining springs of water to go with her land a total gift of more than double what she had asked for and had hoped to receive from him. As a faithful type of Jesus Christ the generosity of Caleb was to match the generosity of Jesus Christ. - 'Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ' - '2 Peter 1:3 According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness [springs of water], through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:' - 'James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth [ridicule] not; and it shall be given him.' - 'James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness [no deciet], neither shadow of turning.'

Judges 3-5 – The sagas and adventures of Israel continue as lessons and examples for us in our times – Deborah a Prophetess was the 4th Judge of Israel – As a prophetess Deborah called on Barak to go conquer King Sisera – Barak would not go to the battle without Deborah and together they oversaw the defeat of the Canaanite King Sisera — ‘Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.’

'Judges 4:11-12 Now Heber [and his wife Jael] the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh.' - 'Judges 4:14-24 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No. Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.' - Battling our old bossy self: King Sisera is a picture of our old sin nature before we become a Christian. Prior to Christianity our sin nature reigns supreme in our body whatever our sin nature desires we endeavor to do what pleases it. If our sin nature wanted food we fed it, a movie we saw it, drink we drank it and music we listened to it all in league of satisfying ourselves. After Heber had broken away [became a Christian] from the area controlled by King Sisera Heber still attempted to befriend Sisera and informed Sisera of the army already on the move to attack his forces. Sisera defeated [by the cross of Jesus] came into the very tent [personal presence] of Heber and his wife Jael seeking shelter. Sisera though defeated was as bossy and as arrogant as ever and Heber and Jael wisely did not try to challenge Sisera directly instead Jael put the old tyrant to sleep with some milk [the pure milk of the Bible] then taking a nail [from the cross of Jesus] she put the nail through the head [authority] of King Sisera pinning him to the ground in death where he belonged then Heber and Jael having victory of their old ruler were now free to live their new life of freedom [in Jesus Christ].

Judges 6-8 – Gideon becomes the 5th Judge of Israel – The Midianites put the Nation of Israel into deep poverty by plundering their possessions – Gideon placed a fleece before the Lord for confirmation of God’s call on his life – Gideon defeats the Minianites with God’s small army of 300 men – ‘Judges 6:36-40 36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.’ {Note: A fleece is considered a wrong thing to do for at least two reasons 1. it puts God to the test 2. we walk step by step with God not project by project. Also Note: Gideon’s fleece is conceded prophecy in that the dew ‘presence of God’ was upon the wool ‘Israel’ then the next day the Church Age the dew ‘presence of God’ was manifested around Israel but not on Israel.}

'Judges 6:25-32 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove [of trees] that is by it: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, *because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it. *And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: *if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.' - Gideon at night had cut down an alter used to sacrifice to Baal and sacrificed an offering to God on a new alter. The next day the people came out and wanted to put Gideon to death for destroying Baal's alter. Gideon's father Joash told the crowd that if Baal was a god then Baal could deal with Gideon without the assistance of people. How true it is also in our day that we do not need to do the justice of God for God. God is perfectly capable of deciding how and when he wants to deal with each individual on this planet. Likewise if Allah or any other deity is god then men do not need to perform justice on behalf of Allah. It is something that actually disqualifies Allah from being a true God in that Allah does not perform on his own behalf but instead enlists men to administer human justice according to human emotions. Truly nothing is more erratic than Islamic justice it just depends on an individual's status and standing at any given moment within a community as to what any penalty might or might not be. Islamic justice has little or nothing to do with divine guidance but is more a misplaced vengeance of individual men.

Judges 9-10 – After Gideon’s major victory over the Midianites Gidion asked his fellow soldiers for a money offering from their spoils – Gideon took the money he made from the battle and made his own ‘ephod’ a Priestly ornament of gold and gemstones that is only to be worn by the High Priest – After instituting his own form of Government and even making his own form of religion he takes many wives and has 71 sons – Abimelech his 71st son from an unpopular concubine decided he wanted to rule after his father Gideon (Jerubbaal) and in order to accomplish his rule he killed 69 of his brothers only the littlest one named Jotham was able to hide from Abimelech — ‘Judges 9:53-57 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armor bearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren [Jotham originally fled to the city of Beer but he seems to have been eventually killed as well]: And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham [given at mount Gerizim] the son of Jerubbaal (Gideon).’

Judges 9:6-21 And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem. And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the *Olive Tree [Holy Spirit] said unto them, Should I leave My fatness [goodness], wherewith by Me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the *Fig Tree [man's religious works], Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the *Vine [Jesus Christ], Come thou, and reign over us. And the Vine said unto them, Should I leave My Wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the *bramble [curse bearing thorn bush], Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble [Abimelech] said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the Cedars of Lebanon. Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;) If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech. And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother. - Here we have an interesting Parable given by Jotham and it includes the Olive Tree [Holy Spirit] "wherewith by Me they honor God and man" and the Vine [Jesus Christ] "which cheereth God and man" and the Fig Tree [man's religious works] "Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit" a bramble [thorn and thistle bush] and Cedar Trees of Lebanon all in the same Parable. Notice how only the Olive Tree and the Vine please both God and man, very interesting even in the confusion that reigned in the days of Judges, the days before the Kings and before the vast teachings of the Prophets yet some still had a good understanding of the nature of God and of the Parables of God.

Judges 11-12 – Jephthah the ninth Judge of Israel – Jephthah offers a vow to God and sanctifies [burnt offering] his daughter to God in a living sacrifice much the same way that Hannah sanctified her son Samuel [1 Samuel 1:11] to the Lord in a similar vow to God – {when they offered themselves or a child to God in a burnt offering it was only their hair that was burned in a ceremony it wasn’t a human sacrifice of any kind though it’s often portrayed as such but remember it’s strictly forbidden for Jews and Christians to take an innocent life and human sacrifice is a complete, forbidden, unacceptable, abomination to the living God} – *The vow of Jephthah being listed in the New Testament [Hebrews 11:32] as an example of our faith confirms that it was a sanctification by faith not a human sacrifice by fire – It has been about 300 years since Israel left Egypt and began to dwell again in the lands outside of Egypt and in and around Canaan — ‘Judges 1:26 While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye [Moab] not recover them within that time?’ {Moab never actually had the land that Israel was on but they wanted to claim it anyhow.}

Jephthah's Vow: Judges 11:30-40 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year. - The promise of sanctification that Jephthah made and kept even though it was a very difficult promise for him and his daughter to keep is commented on in Hebrews 11 the 'Hall of Faith' had Jephthah committed a human sacrifice the Bible would have immediately and repeatedly condemned it as it would be unacceptable to God. *The vow of Jephthah being listed in the New Testament as an example of our faith confirms that it was a sanctification by faith not a human sacrifice by fire. "that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man." That "and she knew no man" is in reference to how she lived out the rest of her life and also "the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah" to comfort her because she was without a child all acts and responses to a living person not a deceased person. {Note: Apparently Josephus seems to have thought it might have been a human sacrifice however Josephus reported on the common view and the common view is often wrong. The Apostle Paul was certainly aware that it was a vow of consecration.} - 'Hebrews 11:32-35 And what shall I more say [about Faith]? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae [sanctified his daughter to God]; of David also, and Samuel [sanctified his life to God through a vow his mother Hannah made, similar to the vow of Jephthae], and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again [Faith in God is about people receiving Life not taking life!]: ...'

Judges 13-16 – The Great Sampson, Judges 13:7 “a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death” – Sampson repeatedly placed his desires above that of his parents, his family, his neighbors, his Nation and ultimately above the desires of God – ‘Judges 14:3 Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all my [Jewish] people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.’

'Judges 16:28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying place of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.' - Note: Sampson was a Nazarite set apart to God every day of his life this included his ups and downs and it included his captivity and blindness at the hands of the Philistines. Also Note: Sampson is a child of God in the Bible that also committed suicide and ended his own life. Suicide is not the preferred desire of God however the message of the Bible, given in this case through Sampson, is that our sins, our predicaments and even our own suicidal death is something that will be overcome by the goodness and life of God. After death [Romans 14:11-13] every knee will bow before the King of the Universe Jesus Christ and how we die is just not as important as how we bow. - There are many forms of suicide including unsafe sex, drugs, alcohol, reckless behavior and actually anything that is separate and apart from the life of Jesus Christ is a form of human suicide.

Judges 17-18 – Now we are at the point where a man named Micah stole one thousand one hundred silver shekels from his mother – Micah hearing his mother curse the missing shekels returned them to her – she explained that the money was to be used to make a molten god – Micah received 200 of the cursed shekels and had a molten image made along with and ephod and other religious relics – After consecrating one of his own sons to be his priest Micah hired a Levite Priest from Bethlehem – The Tribe of Dan unable to conquer their allotted inheritance relocated to the northernmost part of Israel – Members of the Tribe of Dan while relocating took by force and confiscated all of Micah’s false gods, religious items and even his Levitical Priest and brought them north with them where they installed his Priest and worshiped his false images — ‘Judges 17:6 In those days there was no King in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.’

'Judges 18:13-26 And they [Tribe of Dan] passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah. Then answered the five men that went to spy out the [North] country of Laish [later renamed Dan], and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do. And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him. And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate. And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war. And these went into Micah's house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye? And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them. And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away: and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee? And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household. And the children of Dan went their way: and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.' - As Micah found out having your own False Religion is a though business there is a lot of competition and not a lot of rules or protections. Anyhow it's always best to have a God that can't be stolen or taken away. Jesus Christ saw to it that His Kingdom would be positioned above mankind and in Spirit located in the safety of human hearts, souls and minds where it will be safe from being squandered and safe from removal by anyone who passes bye or any other form of malcontent.

Ten Shekels and a Shirt by Paris Reidhead – ‘Judges 17:10 And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals’ (Mp3)

Description: Paris Reidhead preaches what could be called one of the most influential sermons of the 20th century. The real point of this sermon is an indictment of individuals and organizations practicing humanism behind a mask of Christianity! "This sermon should be preached on a regular basis in every church in America!" [link]

Judges 19-21 – Concluding the Book of Judges [with an earlier event] brings us to one of the most gruesome events recorded in the Bible – The horrid event and the out of control aftermath is actually a depiction of Church gossip, infighting and divisions — ‘Judges 19:30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.’

Judges 20:20-48 20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah. And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men. And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day. And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him. And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword. Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days [not all the events are in chronological order], saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver them into thine hand. ... And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them. Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them. Thus they enclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising. And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valor. And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them. So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valor. But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months. And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to. - The aftermath of a needless event that very nearly wiped out one Tribe [Benjamin] from Israel and cost the Nation of Israel dearly for generations to come when instead of helping each other they chose instead to fight each other. In this event as in all gossip events it's important to note that there were no innocent parties. The Levitical Priest was just as much out of bounds and at fault as anyone else if not more though he broadcast his story to all of Israel of course leaving out his own indiscretions and lack of judgment. The one sided version of events led to an instant retribution from all of Israel directed at the one seemingly guilty Tribe of Benjamin. Israel itself suffered great loss and was badly wounded in the battles that followed and discovered the hard way the strange truth that people will fight against their own kind perhaps even more ruthlessly than they will fight against an outside enemy.

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