Judges 21:23-25 23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the girls were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them. 24 At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance. 25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
In the last chapter of Judges, the Israelites come to the conclusion that they have made the mistake of almost wiping out one of the tribes of Israel. I guess you would call this “killer’s remorse.” They are stuck now trying to figure out how to repopulate the tribe of Benjamin. The problem is: they swore to God that they would not give their daughters in marriage to this tribe who did these evil things. Now what?
Apparently the best solution was to think and act like a bunch of neanderthals. Seriously, these guys make the Geico cavemen look like geniuses. Their first bright idea is to figure out who didn’t show up for the mandatory assembly and kill all the people in that town except for the virgin women. Then they forced those 400 women to marry the Benjamite men. Oh, but there weren’t enough women to go around. Now what?
I’ll tell you now what – more stupidity. It went something like this: “Alright guys, hide in those them fields over there. When you see some dancing girls, snatch one up and take ‘er for yer wife. Just smile at her real big with ‘yer toothless grin and she’ll surely fall in love. Trust us, it will work.” Isn’t this a bit meat-headed? Is this the best they could come up with? Neanderthals, I tell you.
Which leads to the “aha” statement of the entire book of Judges. It is a statement that has been repeated many times over and is so appropriate to follow this last story. The statement: In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit. Which reminds me why leadership is so important. When everyone does as they see fit, we end up with all kinds of crazy stories like the ones found in Judges. We find ourselves doing bone-headed things like these guys. I, for one, am thankful for Godly leadership. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit to lead me and convict me. Many people think that ultimate freedom is complete unrestraint and independence. However, the ultimate freedom comes when one is safely being led. It comes with the right authority. When we are safely being led, we are free to be. And I am thankful for this leadership in my life. Because the last thing I want to do is act like a neanderthal.