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Judges 20:1-17

Resolve to Punish the Guilty

20 Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at Mizpah. The [a]chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 foot [b]soldiers who drew the sword. (Now the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?” So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came with my concubine to spend the night at Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin. But the men of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me; instead, they ravished my concubine so that she died. And I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s inheritance; for they have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. Behold, all you sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.”

Then all the people arose as one man, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house. But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot. 10 And we will take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000 to [c]supply food for the people, that when they come to [d]Gibeah of Benjamin, they may [e]punish them for all the disgraceful acts that they have committed in Israel.” 11 Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire [f]tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? 13 Now then, deliver up the men, the [g]worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove this wickedness from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel. 14 The sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel. 15 From the cities on that day the sons of Benjamin were [h]numbered, 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were [i]numbered, 700 choice men. 16 Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 Then the men of Israel besides Benjamin were [j]numbered, 400,000 men who draw the sword; all these were men of war.

What was worse than the acts that the men of Gibeah had committed against the Levite’s concubine? The fact that all the men of the tribe of Benjamin were willing to fight to protect them from judgment.

It’s one thing to stand up for family, to believe the best of the ones close to you. But when they screw up this badly, blocking them from punishment doesn’t help them. Far too often, we are inclined to look the other way when our family is going on the wrong path. While we can’t force them to change their ways, we must be careful that our reaction doesn’t condone their deeds.

If you love someone, letting them wallow in the mud of sin is not a very good display of that. Handing them a towel and a hose may be the most we can do in some cases (and an encouraging word to clean up their act doesn’t hurt), but don’t shield them from the consequences of their misdeeds. You’ll only be hurting the ones you claim to love, and that isn’t love at all. That’s just lazy.

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