April 25

Judges 20

Brother is fighting against brother, in Judges 20, because of one man.

The American Civil War was a terrible time of disunity, hatred, and the slaughter of thousands of men. There is a story about two Irish immigrants that settled in Charleston, SC in the 1850’s. Soon after, Alexander would move to the northeast for better work. James stayed in Charleston. When the Civil War broke out, both brothers volunteered with their perspective sides. Eventually, the regiment that Alexander served made its way towards Charleston where his brother, James, still resided. One day, Unionist Alexander learned of his brother’s whereabouts through a confederate prisoner and wrote these words to his wife, “We are not far from each other now ... this was a war that there never was the like of before brother against brother.” Though they never saw each other, their regiments fought each other in the Battle of Secessionville, SC in 1862. Fortunately, both lived to be old men and see each other again.

Judges 20 is a book of angry tribal brothers, caused by the act of one Levite in the previous chapter. The Levite does not tell the whole truth and eventually all of Israel attacks Benjamin for the action taken against his wife. Gibeah in Benjamin is eventually overtaken, burned, and all the inhabitants are slaughtered. Those types of actions are a hard pill for us to swallow, but their decision is confirmed by the LORD as you read the story. Remember that the actions taken that day began long beforehand when Israel had made multiple bad calls.

Next time you are tempted to make a bad decision, take time to consult God, a good friend, or wise counsel. Your decision probably won’t cause a national crisis, as in Judges 20, but it may keep you from fighting against your proverbial brother.