The Benjamites’ Resolve to Fight Judges 20:1-48 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When the man from mount Ephraim cut up his deceased concubine and sent her pieces to the tribes of Israel, the men of Israel united themselves together to punish the men of Gibeah who were responsible for her lewd death. Oddly, rather than turn over the men of Belial who abused and killed this poor woman, the Benjamites gathered themselves together for a fight to defend these sex perverts.
They were resolved to fight in spite of:
Their Perversion – v.5, 13 – These Benjamites knew the laws of God governing such immoral behavior [Lev 18, 20] and they had seen the destruction wrought by their armies in Canaan to eliminate these sins from the land. In spite of that they were determined to protect this sin and these sinners in their tribe.
Their Numbers – v.2, 15 – They were outnumbered 400,000 to 26,700. Those are huge odds against victory. Nevertheless, they decided to fight.
Their Surety – v.18 – Centuries earlier, when Joseph had been promoted to second in command in Egypt, Benjamin was required to travel to Egypt as a condition of releasing Simeon from jail. Jacob refused to let Benjamin go until Judah became his surety, Gen 43:8-9. Note: During the divided kingdom, Benjamin is the only tribe with Judah in the South. When the Benjamites came out for the fight, Judah was the lead tribe. In spite of that, Benjamin was willing to fight even his surety.
Their Lord – v.18, 26-27 – Benjamin had to certainly remember the numerous victories wrote in Canaan by the Lord. In spite of this terrible disadvantage, Benjamin was willing to fight the other tribes. No one can beat an army reinforced by the Lord.
Their Ambush – v.32-34, 37-43 – Benjamin most certainly forgot the battle plan at Ai, the second battle of Canaan. Benjamin was resolved to keep fighting assuming the battle plan would be the same as the two days before. That was a terrible military blunder.
They were emboldened to fight because of:
Their 700 specialists – v.16 – Benjamin had an advantage in that they had 700 men who were extremely accurate with slings. This was a real advantage because the slingers could attack at a distance, whereas the men with swords had to fight in closer.
Their Prior Victories – v.21, 24, 31 – Benjamin had already killed 40,000 soldiers in Israel and were in the process of another apparent rout when another 30 men died on the morning of the third day. They just assumed they were going to have another victorious day. They were wrong!!
Note: Some have suggested that there is an error in this passage in the number of Benjamites slain. Here is the reconciliation. Benjamin had 26,700 soldiers (v.15). After the battles, they had 600 men left (v.47). Therefore, 26,100 total soldiers died. 25,100 died that day [the third day, v.35]. 18,000 died at Gibeah, 5,000 died at Rimmon, and 2,000 died at Gidom [v.45], roughly 25,000. The rest [1,000] died later in the “mopping up” action that followed these three main battles that day.