The Warriors of Israel
There are certain traits that we associate with masculinity. In the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Dr. John Gray, after extensive research, came up with a list of attributes, words, or values that are associated with men. They are;
- Proving Oneself
- Goal Oriented
I’d venture to say that nearly every boy has heard, “stop crying”, “grow up”, “be a man”, “just suck it up”, “quit being a baby about it”, “crying never changed anything”, and similar statements.
Men are expected to be able to accidentally cut off a limb, duct-tape it back on, use the blood for lubricant, and keep working without ever showing any outward indication of pain. And if it is not too much of an inconvenience they might seek medical attention when and only when the task they were working on is completed.
I noticed something in scripture today about the warriors of Israel that directly contradicts the current culture’s lunacy.
The Israelites in Judges chapter twenty are on a righteous mission to exact justice for great evil. Most unexpectedly they are severely beaten by the bad-guys in the first encounter – 22,000 died.
But the Israelites took courage and assembled at the same place they had fought the previous day. (For they had gone up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the LORD until evening. Then they asked the LORD, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?” And the LORD said, “Go out and fight against them.”) – Judges 20:22-23
So they went out to fight again, and got severely beaten again – another 18,000 dead.
Then all the Israelites went up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the LORD and fasted until evening. They also brought burnt offerings and peace offerings to the LORD. – Judges 20:26
These battle-hardened warriors, experts in inflicting destruction and death, were openly weeping in front of each other and God – all day until evening!
The word wept is the Hebrew word bakah, which means to weep bitterly, to wail. This was no quiet affair of tears softly falling on the ground. The men were in anguish over their defeat and the loss of their friends’ and relatives’ lives.
Also notice that in verse twenty-three they are fighting against their relatives from Benjamin. And they succeeded, only 600 men of Benjamin survived.
Did they rejoice, suppress familial feelings, and act macho, grunting and pawing at the ground about their success?
And the people went to Bethel and sat in the presence of God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly. “O LORD, God of Israel,” they cried out, “why has this happened? Now one of our tribes is missing!” – Judges 21:2-3
Again they wept – bitterly. It would appear to me that weeping is not solely reserved for the Venusian race. It is a most definitely manly in the appropriate circumstance.
Father, may I live my life, may I allow my emotions, to be dictated by you and how you fashioned me. Please forgive me for how much I allow the culture to influence who I am. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Weep with those who weep. Rejoice with those who rejoice.