Archive for October 19th, 2009

Judges 19

Judges 19 is a rather intense chapter.  A Levite from the hill country takes a concubine from Bethlehem.  Shortly after, “she quarreled with him and left” and went home to her father in Bethlehem.  Four months later the Levite decides to go and “try to win her back”.  This is a rather unusual thing for that day.  The Levite heads off with a pair of donkeys and his servant and they arrive at the house of the father-in-law.  He welcomes them and they stay for some days but after a week or so, the Levite decides to go back home and take his concubine with him.  They head out late in the day and really didn’t have a plan for how they would make the trip.  The servant wants to stop at Jebus but it was a foreign city, so the Levite decides to press on and they come to Gibeah, a city of the tribe of Benjamin.  They sat for some time in the town square waiting for someone to open their home to them and were certainly not a secret as everyone passed by them until finally an old man came in “from his day’s work in the fields” and invites them home.  While they were enjoying a good meal, all hell breaks loose.

 Outside a “gang of local hell-raisers” show up and surround the house and pound on the door.  They want to engage in some rather disgusting acts with the Levite man but they are put off.  They persist and finally the “Levite pushed his concubine out the door” and she was raped and left in a pile outside the door when they were done with her.  The “master got up and opened the door to continue his journey” and just threw her dead body on the donkey and hauled her home. He has been mistreated and left without what he had come for.  When they got home “he took a knife and dismembered her – cut her into twelve pieces”.  Holy cow – this sounds like one of those crazy chain saw movies.  “He sent her, piece by piece, though out the country of Israel”.  Talk about a visual lesson – this tops the list. What a gruesome way to make a point that he had been wronged.  One messenger to each tribe to let the people all over know of his sorrow and that he had been wronged.  What better way to make the point.  There was no king or judge at this time in the land, so no place to go for retribution or punishment of those who had taken his future.  Some commentaries point to the fact that the concubine had made a grave mistake by leaving in the first place, and that this result may have been punishment for that.  But in any case, it is a story of sadness and reality – relationships need to be worked on and kept strong.  Had she not run away, this day would not have occurred.  We all need to focus on building and keeping our relationships strong.  Tough days will come, but the answer is to be committed to working on those difficult things and making them right.  This is a difficult lesson to understand, so I encourage you to spend some time studying and seeking God on His message.

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