Each chapter begins with the same phrase: “There was no king in Israel,” and then recounts the lawlessness that followed lawlessness in Israel. Gideon would not become Israel’s king for the LORD was to be their King (Jud 8:22-23). If the LORD is to be King, then His word must be known, and obeyed. In the absence of a human king, the Levites were to know the Law of God, minister to Him by it, and teach it to the people, so that they could live by it. In the absence of a human king, the Levites were the LORD’s ministers of His authority.
How far the nation falls, when its leaders and teachers do not know the LORD or the Law of God themselves. It is not a coincidence that of all the history that could be told of lawless Israel at this time, the history that is told is the Tale of Two Levites. We see that lawlessness hurts, when it reigns. The Law of God, when it is observed, safeguards the nation and its families from the ravages of lawlessness. The tolerance preachers of our own day are in fact preaching lawlessness. They are preaching that society ought to tolerate lawlessness because it doesn’t hurt anyone. And society has swallowed that lie. The book of Judges reveals to us that lawlessness does in fact hurt households, cities, and the whole nation.
In fact the city of Gibeah in Benjamin had fallen so far, that their history reads point for point as a repeat of the history of Lot and the angels in Sodom! The teaching tool of Scripture, thematic analysis, reveals that Sodom and Gibeah are linked. Scripture is revealing, that when a city no longer listens to, pays heed to, observes, and teaches the Law of God, they become as Sodom and Gomorrah, and their end is the end of Sodom and Gomorrah — which is judgment and destruction!
We are in the middle of celebrating Unleavened Bread. It is a reminder to us, that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, so every trace of leaven (sin) must be removed from the house (family, city, nation). Sin cannot be tolerated, lawlessness cannot be tolerated, or it grows, as we see from Judges, with devastating end results.
For further reading:
Gibeah – Easton’s Bible Dictionary