Judges 19:11-21

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 17, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, 'Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites and spend the night.'
His master replied, 'No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.' He added, 'Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night in one of those places.' So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin. There they stopped to spend the night. They went and sat in the city square, but no one took them in for the night.
That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the inhabitants of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, 'Where are you going? Where did you come from?'
He answered, 'We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the Lord. No one has taken me in for the night. We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves your servants—me, the woman and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.'
'You are welcome at my house,' the old man said. 'Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.' So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.” (Judges 19:11-21)

This week’s passage builds on the story of last week’s, so I encourage you to go read that post here before continuing on with this one. The short version is that the Levite’s concubine had gone home to her parents, he went to get her, and now they’re traveling back to their home. They had gotten a late start thanks to the girl’s father, so now they need to stay overnight on their journey.

The city of Jebus was on their way, but it was not an Israelite city, so they likely would not have received good hospitality there and it could have been dangerous for them. It was only 4 more miles to Gibeah, a city belonging to the Israelite tribe of Benjamin, so they continued on there instead. It sounds like these travelers didn’t know this, but Gibeah did not have a good reputation; it was known for being very immoral.

In those days you wouldn’t just find the local Holiday Inn and check if they had vacancy. Instead, you’d wait in the city square until someone would offer you lodging at their residence. The travelers waited at the city square like was customary, and it was very odd that they were refused hospitality by most of the city.

Finally, an old man offers to help them out. It turns out that he was from the hill country of Ephraim, just as they were. It’s always nice to find someone you can connect with when you’re away from home. And, since this man was not native to Gibeah, he may not have shared the immorality of the town.

Normally, the host would supply all the needs of the travelers who would stay with them, including food. This Levite did not want to be a burden to whoever took them in, so he offered to take care of them, they just needed a place to rest. But the old man still took care of their needs, taking them into his house, providing them with food, and even taking care of their donkeys. He definitely seemed welcoming enough.

Sometimes, our expectations can be different than reality. The Levite and the concubine traveled a little farther just to stay at the Israelite town of Gibeah, rather than take their chances at the non-Israelite town of Jebus. But when they get there, for hours no one is willing to offer them hospitality - and these are their own people! The town they expected to welcome them was in fact unwelcoming to them. It seems like a chance encounter with the old man, but thankfully he does offer to help them. Their expectations were for a restful night in his house, but we’ll see next week how that doesn’t happen.

Where in your life have you experience a reality that didn’t measure up to your expectations? Maybe a friend or family member you expected to help you has let you down. Or maybe you have let someone else down.

What are your expectations of God? Do you feel like He has let you down? The reality is that God will never let us down and we can always count on Him, even when His reality may look different than what we expect.

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