What a sad dreadful account of a people who have forsaken the LORD and thus, “…everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (21:25). Twice is the following refrain found in this account of Israel’s history:
“…There was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes”
After the account of Samson’s life, this book recounts the idolatry of a mother (17:3-6), the cruelty done to a concubine (19:22-30), and the war among Israelites. It’s as if being leaderless (no king) leads Israel into lawlessness (21:25) which ends in the unbridled slaughter of many—anarchy.
This book is a reminder to me that when the Creator is forsaken, human flourishing does not obtain, but dehumanizing acts against image bearers result. This happens incrementally and gains momentum to the point that cruelty is out of control and mayhem is the fallout.