MARCH 18 Today's reading faithfully catalogs the horrible results of departure from God. Adopting Canaanite ways, Israel sank into the cesspool of Canaanite violence and immorality. The crime of the Benjaminites of Gibeah shows that the city had sunk to the level of Sodom. Israelite chiefs gathered at Mizpeh to decide what course of action they should take following the deeds of lust and violence. They determined to punish the guilty persons by death; but the Benjaminites refused to surrender the criminals and a horrible war ensued in which thousands perished. A tragic harvest was reaped! The guilty tribe was almost wiped out. The inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead were smitten, and the virgins left were given as wives to the remnant of Benjamin. Benjamin was restored as a tribe and additional wives were supplied from the dancers at the annual festival at Shiloh. Judges ends with the notation of the lawlessness of the era, so fully illustrated by the book itself.