Jdg 20:2 And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword.
Jdg 20:3 (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness?
Jdg 20:4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge.
Jdg 20:5 And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead.
Jdg 20:6 And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel.
Jdg 20:7 Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.
Jdg 20:8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house.
Jdg 20:9 But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it;
Jdg 20:10 And we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel.
Jdg 20:11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.
Jdg 20:12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you?
Jdg 20:13 Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel:
Jdg 20:14 But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel.
Jdg 20:15 And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men.
Jdg 20:16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.
Jdg 20:17 And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war.
Jdg 20:18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first.
Jdg 20:19 And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah.
Jdg 20:20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah.
Jdg 20:21 And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men.
Jdg 20:22 And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day.
Jdg 20:23 (And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him.)
Jdg 20:24 And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.
Jdg 20:25 And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword.
Jdg 20:26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
Jdg 20:27 And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,
Jdg 20:28 And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.
Jdg 20:29 And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah.
Jdg 20:30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times.
Jdg 20:31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel.
Jdg 20:32 And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first. But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways.
Jdg 20:33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baaltamar: and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah.
Jdg 20:34 And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore: but they knew not that evil was near them.
Jdg 20:35 And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword.
Jdg 20:36 So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten: for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted unto the liers in wait which they had set beside Gibeah.
Jdg 20:37 And the liers in wait hasted, and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in wait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword.
Jdg 20:38 Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city.
Jdg 20:39 And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle.
Jdg 20:40 But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven.
Jdg 20:41 And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them.
Jdg 20:42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them.
Jdg 20:43 Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising.
Jdg 20:44 And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valour.
Jdg 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.
Jdg 20:46 So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valour.
Jdg 20:47 But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months.
Jdg 20:48 And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to.
Into the book of the wars of the Lord the story of this chapter must be brought, but it looks as sad and uncomfortable as any article in all that history;
And yet this happened soon after the glorious settlement of Israel in the land of promise, upon which one would have expected every thing to be prosperous and serene.
The total rout they gave the Benjamites in the third engagement, by a stratagem....
stratagem-Websters dictionary Vol one. I am giving this for a reason, later in this word, not what it means:
STRATAGEM, n. [L., Gr., to lead an army.]
1. An artifice, particularly in war; a plan or scheme for deceiving an enemy.
2. An artifice; a trick by which some advantage is intended to be obtained.
First It seems Odd, Israel sought the lord, the lord gave a word, and said do this, and yes go to battle, this happened two times, both times, they did the right thing, they sought the lords will and direction, both times they were told by the lord, yes go to battle. It is odd , the lord said yes go to battle, they obeyed and both times they got their butts handed to them. This is more than a perplexing thing. I do not have the answer, how could anyone? But I was given a deep insight on this.
The third time, weeping and seeking the lord, they were gain told to go to war, this time they would win, they did. Why would the lord say do something, and it turns out as a defeat? this is the question, this third time is the message. What do we learn from this.
1. They changed stratagems, even when the lord says yes, do this or do that, and it does not work out, one says, 'did I miss God, I mean I know he said yes do this, and both times I failed, suffered lost, and now a third time I am told go out and do it again'.
This tells us never give up in battle, the loses were lessons, sadly many died, this also shows there are times to do what the lord said, maybe the third try, but in a different way, we have never done before. Nothing un -biblical, just different, you see Gods ways are not our ways , and His thoughts are not our thoughts, but wait, they heard from the lord , he said Go, that was a direct order-word of the lord was it not? Or was it? Yes the lord said go, the lord knew they would lose two times, thus he was not conveying his holy, above human reasoning on this matter.
2. We learn by failure, we learn to continue to seek the lord even after failure. This teaches in Spiritual warfare, it may seem, and in fact it may be so, we lost a battle, the lesson is, do not give up, keep coming back, keep seeking the lord.
Insight: many Christians give up after one try, most, by try two, the ones who try three times are called insane , or a mad man, 'you lost twice man and your going again'? Sounds crazy, this is why the lords thoughts, ways are far past finding out, it is a walk of faith, a test, to see if after two ship wrecks you will be faithful to the third shipwreck. Many just say, 'I tried, O well', listen, that is a cop out, if that is the way you approached number one, and your words after, it clearly shows you did not really have your heart, will, or desire in it, it takes a passionate , daily pursuing of the lord. A call to go head no matter what, the third time, the ones that stay with it will have the complete victory.
Insight (2 ) ;
Many of us have just had a second defeat, many are in their second battle, and ready to give up, cave in, the lord says," your in battle two, stage two of your test, your learning, will you follow me to the end, and enter into battle three, ", you see, battle three is coming, we are all in battle two now, boot camp, battle two, we are being made ready for the battle three of Victory, but this coming battle three, will not be like the past battles, it will be all the lord, all supernatural, all Him, doing what only he can. A change of the way we did things, a change in the battle plan.
It is like when your a football coach and you have a new team, not much experience, you run only basic plays over and over, the team loses games, still same simple plays over and over, but when the team has mastered the few simple plays, the coach introduces more plays , different, more complicated, and victory comes.
It is like this, the simple way of living life as we know it, is about to change, when it does we must adapt, and change with it, remain in the battle, and in this we will see great Victory.
So, are you losing the battle , ready to give up, you have tried everything and all has failed, boy do I know this, but you stay steady, with resolve to be weak, perfectly weak in the lord, so he can manifest his perfect strength, this can only come after you become perfectly weak, than the lord will be perfectly strong in you. The third battle is coming, it is at the door, get ready to change your past stratagem, your past ways, get ready to adapt to how things change, it will call for something different, something that only God can do, and something God will do, if you endure and make it to the place of perfect weakness before battle three. This can only be a lesson learned in defeat in your first two battles.
That is the insight I was given during my prayer time.