S: Judges 21:11 This is what you should do: Completely destroy every male, as well as every female who has slept with a man.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted.
O: The last four chapters of Judges is a sordid tale, with seemingly no good guys. First, the Benjamites repeated the sin of Sodom & Gomorrah, wanting to rape the Levite from Ephraim. Then, the Levite and the old man in Gibeah were willing to sacrifice the girls to be raped to save him. Then, the Benjamites raped the poor girl to death. Then the Levite cut her up into 12 pieces and sent them to the other tribes of Judah and rallied the troops who then massacred every Benjamite man, woman and child except for 600 men who got away. Then they felt sorry that a tribe of Israel had been wiped out and massacred the innocent people of Jabesh-gilead just because they didn't send anyone to fight the Benjamites, and took the remaining 400 virgins to be forcibly made into wives for the surviving Benjamites. Then they had the remaining 200 Benjamites kidnap wives for themselves from the girls of Shiloh.
Taken out of context, a verse like Judges 21:11 seems to advocate killing those innocent people of Jabesh-gilead. There are other verses like that in the Bible, for example, the Danites massacre of the peace-loving people of Laish in Judges 18.
The fact is that, the book of Judges, like many other parts of the Bible, are descriptive and not prescriptive. And even in the prescriptive parts of the Bible, you can take verses out of context.
A: It is important to look at the whole counsel of scripture. That is why we need to read the whole Bible and not just cherry-pick the parts we like. Professor D.A. Carson has often quoted his father as saying that "a text without a context becomes a pretext for a proof text."
As we memorize scripture, we also need to also know the context of that scripture. Last week's Adventures in Odyssey, No Chemistry Whatsoever, had a sub-plot illustrating that.
P: Father, help us to understand Your Word as we read it, and not to be misled by taking things out of context. In Jesus' name, amen.
This song has nothing to do with the topic of this post, but because today is 31 August, Merdeka Day (Independence Day), I thought it would be appropriate for the day.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)