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Judges 21:1-7

Mourning Lost Tribe

21 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin [a]in marriage.” So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept [b]bitterly. They said, “Why, O Lord, God of Israel, has this come about in Israel, so that one tribe should be missing today in Israel?” It came about the next day that the people arose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

Then the sons of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up in the assembly to the Lord?” For [c]they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” And the sons of Israel were sorry for their brother Benjamin and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel today. What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by the Lord not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?”

Lest we think the sons of Israel had rushed into the battle in a hurry, we see here that they took the time to plan and also to take oaths as to how things would be handled afterward.

But so complete was their victory, that it now made them regret some of those oaths. Perhaps they were a little hasty in some of these things, and it is a reminder to us. Don’t make oaths (promises) you aren’t prepared to keep. We’ve seen death before because of an oath, even things that sounded great at the time.

But when it comes time to stick to a promise, you may find yourself in a sticky situation. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be someone of your word. However, you shouldn’t need to make oaths or promises, as those are often signs that you haven’t been true to your word in the past.

Be straightforward and honest in your dealings, be consistent, and let God take care of the rest. Ultimately, when you put things in His hands, you can trust they will turn out better than you planned. So avoid foolish promises, and trust God to help you with the things you commit to.

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