Judges 19:22-30

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 24, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, 'Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.' The owner of the house went outside and said to them, 'No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.'
But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, 'Get up; let’s go.' But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, 'Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!'” (Judges 19:22-30)

If today’s passage seems out of context, that’s because the previous parts of the story are very important to make sense of this. You can read the first part here, and the second part here.

The Levite and his concubine had been welcomed into an old man’s home in Gibeah, which they apparently didn’t realize was a very immoral city. They thought that the fact that it was an Israelite city of the tribe of Benjamin meant that they would receive good hospitality there. But, Gibeah had taken on the immorality of the Canaanites and had turned into another Sodom.

These men who came to where the Levite and his concubine were staying were obviously practicing homosexuals. They had seen a new person come into town and thought they could take advantage of that. They were going against God’s law, as stated in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. (Is homosexuality still a sin today? Find out here.)

The old man wanted to protect his guest, so instead he offered his daughter and the concubine that came with the Levite. That’s exactly what Abraham’s nephew Lot did in Sodom (Genesis 19:8), but fortunately in that situation the angels had rescued them.

In that culture, women were considered lowly in society, and molesting a man was considered very disgraceful. The Israelites normally considered raping a woman to be disgraceful as well (as in Genesis 34:7), but it the lesser of the two evils so to speak. Promiscuous women were often put to death for their behavior (Deuteronomy 22:21).

We can get an idea here as to why the concubine left the Levite initially, if this was typical of his behavior. She faced abuse all night while he was spared. He knew what was going on and did absolutely nothing to stop it. She survived until dawn, but the abuse was severe enough that by actual sunrise she was dead. The Levite seems especially callous with her, expecting her to be fit for travel that day after what she endured all night.

The corruption that existed in Gibeah was remembered for many generations. It was even written about by the prophet Hosea many years later, in Hosea 9:9 and 10:9. It was not quite as legendary as Sodom and Gomorrah, but it was still very bad and was remembered as such.

This murder was a shock to the nation of Israel, so the Levite does something shocking as well - he cuts up the concubine’s body into 12 pieces, and he sends a piece to each of the tribes! To us this may seem especially horrific, but it was his way of showing the people that there was a big problem with immorality right there in their nation, and they need to do something about it. This cutting up was similar to how they would prepare a sacrificial animal (Exodus 29:17, Leviticus 1:6). The tribe of Benjamin, where Gibeah was located, also received one of the body parts.

The purpose of this strange act was to unite the nation of Israel against the evil that was happening within their borders, particularly in Gibeah. It seems like an odd way to do that in my opinion, but that’s what they did.

Israel was obviously becoming more and more immoral. This was the nation that God had chosen, and they were blatantly disregarding his laws! If Israel wasn’t following God, then who would? They had adopted morals of other non-God-following peoples, and because of that they had twisted their identity as God’s holy people. Much like in today’s society, they followed whatever “truth” they wanted to at the moment, rather than constantly following God’s absolute truth.

Where in your life have you become immoral and aren’t fully following God’s law? Immorality can be fun for a time; after all, if sin wasn’t fun we wouldn’t do it. But we need to realize that God’s natural law is always in effect, and there will be negative consequences when we don’t follow Him.

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