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Thursday, March 13 2014
Judges 21: The Abduction Of The Benjamite Wives
"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes"
The civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and the rest of Israel (see Judges 20: Israel's Civil War With Benjamin) resulted in not only an annihilation of Benjamin's army, but also a near genocide of the Benjamite social structure. Most of the young men were killed on the battlefield, while nearly all of the young women were killed in their homes.
"20:43 Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising. 20:44 And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valour. 20:45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them.
It was only after the war that the Israelites realized what they had done, not just to a tribe, but to the nation as a whole.
"21:1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife.
The Israelites were in a difficult situation. They were generally not to marry foreign women - a policy based, not on racism or nationalism, since the Israelites themselves originated from most of the foreign nations around them, from Iraq to Syria to Egypt (see The LORD's Seed Covenants With The Two Men Of Iraq, A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria, Who Were The First Jews? and Genesis 48: The Adoption Of Ephraim and Manasseh), but on the religious corruption of the Israelites that very often then resulted from such marriages. That prohibition was then compounded by a vow made during the civil war that prohibited the marriage of Benjamites to women of the other tribes. The only "solution," in that time when "every man did that which was right in his own eyes," would be for the Benjamites to marry Israelite women - without the permission or agreement of the women or their families.
The first of the "wives" came from Jabesh-Gilead, then an Israelite town of the half tribe of Manasseh, east of the Jordan River (see Numbers 32: The Israel Of East Jordan).
"21:8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly. 21:9 For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead there.
The rest of the "wives" were seized from all of the Israelite tribes when they gathered at an annual "feast of the LORD in Shiloh." The Scriptures do not specify which it was, but from the description it might have been the Feast of Tabernacles.
"21:15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 21:16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin? 21:17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel. 21:18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin. 21:19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
Fact Finder: After the united kingdom of Israel divided into the separate kingdoms of "Israel" and "Judah," which kingdom did the Benjamites choose to remain in?
This Day In History, March 13
607: The 12th recorded passage of Halley's Comet (as it was later named; see entry for 1759, below).
624: The Battle of Badr. Known as "the turning point of Islam," it was a major victory for Muhammad's army of "Islam" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
1519: Spanish Conquistador ("conqueror") Hernando Cortez landed in Mexico.
1569: During the Third French Religious War, the Huguenots under Prince de Conde were defeated by the Catholics at the Battle of Jarnac.
1639: Harvard College (known today as Harvard University) was named for the English clergyman John Harvard, a lifetime loyal servant and pioneer of England's colonies in North America.
1656: Dutch colonial authorities denied Jews the right to build a synagogue in New Amsterdam, later renamed by the British as New York City. Now with 2 million Jews, New York is today one of the largest Jewish-populated cities on earth, second only to Tel Aviv in Israel.
1759: Halley's Comet made its 27th recorded perihelion (the point in the orbit of a planet or comet where it is nearest to the sun). It was the comet's first return since it was predicted by English astronomer Edmund Halley to do so. Halley died January 14 1742 - 17 years before.
1781: The planet "Uranus" (the pagan name that humans have given to it) was discovered by German-born English astronomer Sir William Herschel.
1809: Sweden's King Gustavus IV was overthrown in a coup d'etat and was replaced by his uncle Charles XIII.
1813: Sweden joined the Grand Alliance against Napoleon and his allies.
1865: During the U.S. Civil War, the Confederate Congress under President Jefferson Davis signed a bill allowing slaves to join the Confederate army in exchange for freedom - a bizarre collusion in which the former slaves would then be fighting to keep other slaves in slavery.
1868: The U.S. Senate began the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.
1881: Russian Czar Alexander II was assassinated when a bomb was thrown at him near his palace.
1900: The British under Frederick Roberts captured Bloemfontein in the South African Boer War. The Boers (a Dutch word meaning farmer) were white descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa; their Dutch-related language is known as Afrikaans.
1908: The first automobile in Jerusalem.
1930: Clyde Tombaugh announced the discovery of the planet "Pluto" (the pagan name that humans have given to it).
1935: 3,000 year-old archives were discovered in Jerusalem. They matched the Biblical record.
1938: Austrian Chancellor Seyss-Inquart introduced a law re-unifying Austria with the German Reich.
1964: Catherine (Kitty) Genovese, 40, was murdered in Queens, New York, with dozens of neighbors watching. The attack lasted nearly 30 minutes, but no one helped or called police because, as some told authorities later, they "didn't want to get involved" (the origin of the popular term at that time).
1989: A tremendous magnetic storm produced by solar flares tripped the circuit breakers at the James Bay generating station, and was soon followed by a complete collapse of the power system in Quebec. Power failures also occurred in Ontario, British Columbia, Sweden, and in states throughout the U.S. The solar flares also disrupted radio communications, marine and navigational signals worldwide for many days, sometimes causing freak conditions e.g. California Highway Patrol communications overpowered local transmissions in Minnesota, and automatic garage doors in a California suburb began to open and close on their own.
1990: The Soviet parliament voted to end the political monopoly of the Communist Party after 72 years.
1992: Pravda, founded in 1912 by Lenin, the official newspaper of the Soviet Communist Party, ceased publication because of lack of funds.
1996: The Dunblane massacre. In Dunblane, Scotland, 16 Primary School children and 1 teacher were murdered by a gunman, Thomas Watt Hamilton, who then committed suicide.
1997: A deranged Jordanian soldier shot and killed 7 Israeli girls on a school trip to an area called "The Island of Peace" on the border with Jordan.
2008: Gold prices reached $1,000 per ounce for the first time.
2013: The Church of Rome's Pope Benedict XVI was succeeded by Pope Francis.