Judges 19-21 belong to the period shortly after Joshua’s death. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was still alive (20:28); there is no hint of foreign oppression; the league of tribes was still functioning.
- What does this chapter teach us of the obligations of hospitality? Are there any indications of pitfalls to be avoided? Cf. Heb. 13:1, 2.
- There are many illustrations of evil in this chapter. Mark a list of the chief sins shown here, and observe how the wickedness of the men of Gibeah brought destruction on almost their whole tribe.
- Gibeah was a Benjamite city, and the men of Benjamin refused to deliver up their fellow-tribesmen to justice. What is the relationship between loyalty to those with whom we are connected (family, friends, business associates, etc.) and our loyalty to God and his commandments?
- Note the profound effect on the tribes of the sin of the men of Gibeah. See 19:30; 20:1, 8, 11. It stabbed the people awake to the degree to which moral declension had progressed among them. Can you discover other factor which shows that some good came out of this sordid chapter of events?
- How would you account for the fact that the eleven tribes were twice defeated by the Benjamites, even though they had asked counsel of the Lord? What do you gather from 20:23 about their attitude? Was it a sign of weakness, or strength?
- The tribes recognized after their victory that in the heat of the moment they had gone too far in making the vow of 21:1. The sense of the unity of the tribes caused great distress at the thought that one tribe was in danger of extinction, in spite of the fact that they had suffered severely at the hands of Benjamin. How did they solve their dilemma? Did they keep, or break, their second vow (21:5)? Would you condone the action they took in verses 10-12 and 19-23? What does the whole story suggest with regard to the taking of vows?
- To what does the writer attribute this weak and unhappy condition of things in Israel? Do you consider this an adequate explanation of the moral and spiritual condition of Israel? If not, what would you add?