The beginning of Judges tells the story of the heathen king, Adonibezek. Joshua had died and now God spoke directly to the tribes of Judah and Simeon to go up and fight the Canaanites as a whole and among them the Perizzites, and to take their land. They attack the town of Bezek, which is apparently a little ways West of Bethlehem, if you can visualize that on a map. They killed ten thousand Canaanites in Bezek and captured Adonibezek, whose name means, lord of Bezek. They cut off his thumbs and big toes.
When I think of that, I sometimes think of Rocky Bleier, a running back for the championship Pittsburgh Steelers, during their four Super Bowl wins. He had fought in Vietnam and the shrapnel from a hand grenade had blown off part of his foot, yet he still played running back in the NFL. I think, how did he play running back without part of his foot? How could Adonibezek fight without two big toes? That was the point, of course. And without thumbs, he couldn't hold on to a sword either.
Upon this occurrence, Judges 1:7 says:
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.
No pun intended, but this stuck out to me in Bible reading, mainly the last part, his saying, "So God hath requited me." Adonibezek believed in justice. Not karma. I've found this to be the case with the lost. They believe in justice, they just don't like it when it applies to them. It's very often in the back of someone's head that there will be payback for the things that they have done.
I have a feature on a Bible program, when looking up the usage of the Hebrew word, either "search on this form" or "search on all forms of lemma." A lemma is a form of a set of words, what you might call the root word. It looks up all the forms of a word. "This form" would be letter for letter that particular word, the same in every way. All forms of this lemma are found 236 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and this exact form only twice, the other translated "finished" in 1 Kings 9:25.
The Hebrew word for "requited" is shaw'lam (my transliteration), which in its root means to be complete or sound. It is the root idea of justice, the idea of something coming full circle, whatever you've done coming back on you, completing the circle. It means "perfect," an end being met, or "full" or "finished." Adonibezek's cutting off the toes and thumbs of seventy other kings wasn't the end of the story.
The law of lex talionis, the law of equal retribution, is an eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth. This is equal justice. The expression lex talionis was written in 450 BC in Roman law known as the Twelve Tables and written: “If a man has broken the limb of another man, unless he makes his peace with him, there shall be like for like, talio esto.” The very beginning of the concept of lex talionis used the example of the breaking of a limb of another man, something close to what Adonibezek had been doing.
Adoni means "lord," but Adonibezek knew that he wasn't the highest law. There was a higher law than him, a lord that was higher than what he was. Adonai is one of the names of God in the Old Testament. Adonibezek fancied himself a regional or local lord and the God of Heaven was the Lord of all.
The laws of nature and nature's God, the language of the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson, include this law of equal retribution. I've found everybody believes in justice. They know what it means and they want it for themselves, but they don't like it when it applies to themselves. In this case, Adonibezek knew he was getting it though.
Adonibezek says, "God hath requited me," so the thought could be that he was acknowledging God. It's unlikely. He uses Elohim, the Hebrew name for "God," but also used by the heathen to refer to the god of their own imagination. He did believe in god at least. He at least believed in justice, and God Himself inspired this to be written. These words were recorded in scripture. God had requited Adonibezek, actual God.
Man has God's law written in his heart as a default position by which he may judge truly. The world functions according to Divine standards. This is our Father's world, no matter what happens, and that is a presupposition that is useful in the conviction of every unbeliever, Adonibezek being an example. His conscience admitted to him that this was justice from God for what he had done. The world functions according to the laws that God both set in motion and in which He directly intervenes.