1. infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been
harmed by that person; violent revenge: But have you the right to vengeance?
2. an act or opportunity of inflicting such trouble: to take one’s vengeance.
3. the desire for revenge: a man full of vengeance.
Reading through the three listed definitions of vengeance, it becomes clear to me why the Apostle Paul was against such behavior. The very desire for revenge consumes, and as such opens a very large trap in which the arch enemy of G-d’s people can use to our own ruin. We are admonished to give place to G-d and His wrath. We are to forgive, right? Here’s how Paul put it to the Romans:
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Having finished Acts, I turned to Judges. In the first chapter I see the wrath of G-d visited upon an enemy of Israel, the Canaanites.
And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men. And they found Adonibezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites. But Adonibezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes.And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.
Judges 1:4-7 (emphasis added)
Here’s what Matthew Henry has to say:
“The Israelites were convinced that the war against the Canaanites was to be continued; but they were in doubt as to the manner in which it was to be carried on after the death of Joshua. In these respects they inquired of the Lord. God appoints service according to the strength he has given. From those who are most able, most work is expected. Judah was first in dignity, and must be first in duty. Judah’s service will not avail unless God give success; but God will not give the success, unless Judah applies to the service. Judah was the most considerable of all the tribes, and Simeon the least; yet Judah begs Simeon’s friendship, and prays for aid from him. It becomes Israelites to help one another against Canaanites; and all Christians, even those of different tribes, should strengthen one another. Those who thus help one another in love, have reason to hope that God will graciously help both. Adoni-bezek was taken prisoner. This prince had been a severe tyrant. The Israelites, doubtless under the Divine direction, made him suffer what he had done to others; and his own conscience confessed that he was justly treated as he had treated others. Thus the righteous God sometimes, in his providence, makes the punishment answer the sin.” (emphasis added)
The Lord has said He will take vengeance. For vengeance is His. And here, in the Book of Judges, He does so through inspired acts of His people.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .