Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday's Study: Judges 19 - a Levite and his Concubine

Judges 19 tells the story of a Levite and his concubine. A man and a woman. Since she's referred to as his "concubine" she's probably of lower social status but she is his wife. And we're told she's unfaithful. She goes home to her daddy and her husband, the Levite, comes after her. After spending some time at his father-in-law's house the Levite collects up his things, including his concubine, and heads home to the hills of Ephraim. When night falls he seeks lodging in the town of Gibeah in the land of Benjamin.

Gibeah, a town of fellow Israelites, should be friendly and hospitable. But no one invites them in. Finally, as they sit in the town square pondering their options, someone approaches them and welcomes them into his home. But the hospitality of the town ends there. Soon the men of the town are banging on the door, demanding the Levite come out so they can rape him. Instead, the host offers his virgin daughter and the concubine. His virgin daughter. This is reminiscent of the story of Sodom.

This tragic tale reveals the lawlessness of the time and sets the stage for the eventual judgment of the Benjamites by the rest of Israel. I'm moved to tears by the fate of the concubine.

Next week we'll look at the consequences of the Levite's decision to mail his dead wife's body to the 12 nations of Israel.

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