This post follows the Bible reading plan available at oaktreechurch.com/soap.
Chapter twenty-one concludes both the story of Benjamin’s near demise and the book of Judges. The writer included a new detail about the meeting at Mizpah a few days earlier. In addition to swearing that they would kill the perpetrators of the crime against the Levite’s concubine, they had also sworn to not allow their daughters to marry any man of Benjamin (Judges 21:1-7). When the battle was finally over, the people realized what had happened: they had nearly killed off an entire tribe and had left them without means to marry anyone except pagans, something God had forbidden. They assembled again to determine how to correct it. Discovering that no one from Jabesh Gilead had joined the assembly when the oath was made, they sent soldiers against them, killing everyone except four hundred virgins, whom they brought back for the Benjaminites (Judges 21:8-12).
Still needing to provide two hundred more wives, the Israelites instructed the Benjaminites to ambush and kidnap that many virgins from Shiloh when they passed by (Judges 21:13-22). Since they were kidnapped, their family was not in danger of breaking their oath to not give their daughters away in marriage (Judges 21:23-25). Thus, the book ends with every person doing “what he considered to be right,” rather than trusting and obeying God.