The Benjamites refused to accept responsibility for what had happened to the rape & murder of the concubine in chapter 19. Even though it took place in their jurisdiction. They insisted on their own freedom without moral restraints, so that everyone could do “what was right in his own eyes.”

The moral decline in the nation had gone so far that only war could re-establish what was right in the land.  The desire to secede from a union which held its constituent parts accountable to a uniform standard is what seemed to characterize the tribe of Benjamin. Much like our own civil war 150 years ago, the battle was extremely costly and deep reparations had to be made to help Benjamin get back on her feet. But the war helped re-establish a standard of righteousness to which every tribe must be accountable. Benjamin wanted to see themselves as an independent part of the whole. The Israeli nation, just like Abraham Lincoln, saw the impossibility of that structure. A nation cannot survive when they all did whatever they deemed right in their own eyes. They had to see themselves as one solid unit, each responsible to the overall whole.

Carl Sandburg once observed that the Civil War, a bloody time that claimed more than a half million from the land of the living, actually was fought over a verb. Before the war this country was referred to in all treaties as “The United States are.” After the war, the new reference was “The United States is.”—and it still is the same now.”

No individual, no city and no state IS exempt from accountability to the absolute standards of God. We ARE all responsible.