In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted. – Judges 21:25
The last five words of the verse above may be the greatest understatement in the Bible and they remind me of the wisdom found in Proverbs 29:18, “Without revelation, the people run wild….” Why are they an understatement? Just consider the context.
- To avoid his own death, a man allowed a mob to rape and kill his wife.
- To highlight this atrocity, he then cut her into twelve pieces and mailed her “parts” to all the other tribes of Israel.
- In retaliation, the other tribes wiped out the offending tribe, except for 600 men … vowing to never give the women of their tribes in marriage to these survivors.
- Fearing the tribe would eventually die out (with no women to procreate), the Israelites then killed the inhabitants of a separate village, took 400 of their women and gave them to the offending tribe.
- Oh, but wait, they were 200 short so they allowed the 600 to “capture” the balance of women needed from one of their own, deducing that since they did not willingly GIVE THEM, they had somehow kept their original vow.