Today’s Tasting: Judges 19–21: Today’s reading tells the story of a Levite whose wife became angry with him and went to live with her father. The Levite traveled to his father-in-law’s town to ask her to come back to him. When he got there his father-in-law convinced him to stay the night. He stayed for several days and finally left with his wife. On the way home they stopped for the night in the city of Gibeah, which belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. While he was there, in the house of an old man of the city, some men came to the door and demanded that he come out and have sexual relations with them. They sent out his wife instead and the men raped her and left her dead. The Levite took her home and cut her body into twelve parts and sent them to the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Israelites gather to decide what to do about what the tribe of Benjamin has done. The Israelites fight Benjamin for two days, and lose each battle. Finally they ask God what to do and He tells them to fight again and He will give them victory. This time they defeat the Benjaminites but then feel regret at nearly wiping out one of the twelve tribes of Israel. But they had vowed none of the tribes who had joined the fight would marry into the tribe of Benjamin. However, the people of the city of Jabesh Gilead had not come to fight with everyone else, so the Israelites took their unmarried women and gave them to the Benjaminite men who had survived as wives, so the tribe would not be wiped out.
Today’s Nourishment: Several times in the Book of Judges we are told, “All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” (see Judges 21:25). This story is part of a time when Israel often took actions that they had decided on their own were good ideas. They were not really listening to God or living lives that God would want them to live.
When we do what we want to do, it often leads us to places God does not want us to be, and to doing things we should not do. Are you trying to do things on your own, instead of relying on God? Have you noticed in the past that this has led you to do things that you realized later were not the right choices? What can you do today to get back on the path of following God and not your own wisdom?
Tomorrow’s Delight: Ruth