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Micah’s idols ensnare Dan; civil war with Benjamin: Judges 17–21

The accounts here are a tragic reminder of the cost of:

all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

It started with idolatry in one man’s house (Micah), which spread to an entire tribe (Dan) with the support of a Levite. There was something seriously wrong in Israel.

It must have been particularly bad in the Benjamite town of Gibeah, because an old man was the only one in the town to offer any hospitality to a Levite (not the same Levite as the one with Micah and Dan) and his concubine:

Judges 19:20-21You are welcome to stay with me,’ the old man said. ‘I will give you anything you might need. But whatever you do, don’t spend the night in the square.’ So he took them home with him and fed the donkeys. After they washed their feet, they ate and drank together.

The sin that followed, of the same kind as that of Sodom (see Genesis 19:1-9), led to outright civil war. It ultimately caused the destruction of the town of Gibeah, just as it had Sodom, and the near-extinction of the entire tribe of Benjamin at a very high cost to the rest of Israel.