Representatives from all the tribes gather at Mizpah to hear the Levite speak about what had befallen him and his concubine at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. After he told his story you can tell there was anger among the people and they went to the city where it took place and demanded the tribe of be joining hand over the men who had committed this atrocity so they could be put to death. But Benjamin refuses and gathers to go go to war with the other tribes.
Why they chose this path is completely a mystery to me. What happened was obviously a terrible act, and had no place in the morals of the Israelites, so why were they defending the perpetrators?
They came out and fought for three days against the rest of Israel. The first two days were victories for the outnumbered Benjaminites, but on the third day they were routed and all their fighting aged men were killed.
At the assembly, before the battles with the Benjaminites, the rest of the tribes had sworn to never give their daughters as wives to the tribe of Benjamin, so now they have a dilemma. Benjamin has been soundly defeated, but now how are they going to rebuild their tribe and lands?
So they come up with a plan to essentially kidnap the young girls at a religious festival. That way they’ll have their wives and nobody will have to break an oath. It’s all very strange, but it was a different world back then too.
The chapter and book ends with the overall theme that it’s had since the beginning:
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.Judges 21:25
Judas leads the soldiers as prearranged with the temple authorities, and he greets Jesus with a kiss. This Judas kiss perverts the way relatives greeted each other in the Bible, he takes a sign of familial love and twists it into a symbol of betrayal.
Jesus is led away in chains, and Saint Peter follows him from a distance to the house of the high priest. Just earlier this night, Peter had said he would go to prison or even die with Jesus, but now he’s following from the shadows and hanging out in the courtyard. He’s standing by the fire on what must’ve been a cold night, and hes warning himself while his master is stripped and abused. The man that would die with our lord a few hours ago is now going to deny even knowing him.
Here he denies knowing Jesus three times, and after the third he looks over and sees Jesus looking at him. I can’t imagine what that would’ve been like, but the Passion of the Christ captures the moment so movingly and beautifully. Instantly peter regrets what he’s done and is moved to tears.
Peter typifies man’s proneness to sin. The cock is the informed conscience that accuses us of sins, reminding us of God’s commandments and stirring the soul to contrition. As with Peter, the informed conscience directs sinners away from despair and toward genuine repentance.St. Laurence Giustiniani
They question Jesus after some abuse from the guards, but he refuses to answer them. Only when they ask point blank if he is the Christ does he answer. This would be blasphemy and deserving of death, if it weren’t true at least. But the Romans don’t care about the internal religious affairs of the people they’re ruling over, that is why they have to present Jesus to Pilate not as a blasphemer, but as a revolutionary usurper.