Our Sunday school class has recently begun to study scriptural fasting. We read of an episode in Judges 20 when a fast occurred in the course of Israel having gone to war against the tribe of Benjamin and lost 40,000 men in the first two battles. The tribe of Benjamin was being judged for their wickedness against a Levite and his concubine and the obstinacy of the Benjamites in protecting their criminals. The men of Israel eventually prevailed, after they wept and fasted, killing 25,000 Benjamites and leaving only 600 alive.
As the topic of our study was fasting, we concentrated on that point, but the lesson took me back to other historical instances. This was a very grave situation for the Nation of Israel. Now, we are accustomed to the Israelites fighting just about everyone under the sun, but this time they were not just going to war but doing so against one of their own tribes – their kinsmen. It reminded me of similar occasions.
In 49 BC General Julius Caesar marched a legion across the Rubicon River, which was the boundary between the Cisalpine Gaul province, and Italy proper – an action forbidden to any army-leading general. By doing so he started the Roman civil war which led, eventually, to the establishment of the Roman Empire. To this day the term "crossing the Rubicon" means, figuratively, "reaching the point of no return". A speech from this episode of crossing was said to have produced the quote "The die is cast".
In more modern times, on April 15, 1861, Northern President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade a portion of their own Country, the Southland. Just as the act of war on the Roman Republic by Caesar led to widespread approval amongst the Roman civilians, who believed him a hero, Lincoln netted virtually the same results in America in the 1860’s, by invading his own Country and making War on his own Countrymen. History is full of repetitions.
John Wayne Dobson