The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), April 6
The Levites never imagined the evil that lurked within the city walls of Gibeah, which was nestled among towns inhabited not just by Levites, but by Aaron’s sons, who were responsible for teaching the people God’s ways. Although the city of Jebus, belonging to the Canaanites, is a closer trip than Gibeah, the Levite does not feel safe staying there, so he travels later in the evening to Gibeah of the tribe of Benjamin. There he will be safe—or so he thinks.
An old farmer welcomes the Levite and his concubine into his home. They aren’t there long before some of the wicked men of the city surround the house, shouting, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally” (Judges 19:22). Sadly, the Levite, protecting himself, releases his concubine into their hands to do as they will. They rape her until morning, and she dies on the footstep of the farmer’s house.
These vile and wicked men are not from Jebus, but from the tribe of Benjamin. Perhaps it would have been safer to have spent the night in Jebus after all! The Levite packs up the concubine along with his belongings and returns to his home. Once there, he chops her body into twelve pieces and sends a piece to each of the tribes of Israel. Talk about “shock and awe”! This spectacle galvanizes all of Israel into action as they are forced to ask themselves, “How did we come to this?” They come together and nearly destroy an entire tribe in Israel.
How has Israel come to this sad state of affairs? Lest we condemn Israel, America must answer that same question. Sadly, one of the most dangerous places in America is in the womb of a mother. 50 million babies have been murdered in utero in the name of reproductive rights. What “shock and awe” event must occur before we awaken out of our own spiritual stupor?
How does a culture sink into such spiritual decay?
- The sinful imagination of man grows wild when governments allow and even protect the rights of men to do what is right in their own eyes.
- People become enslaved to what they yield themselves to. Without personal and communal restraint, men become enslaved to their passions, and no one is safe.
- People want something for nothing, immediate gratification, and consequence-free living.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34)
Questions from today’s reading (Judges 19:1-21:25):
Review Leviticus 21:1-15. How had the Levites during the Judges Era disregarded the levitical standards?
What domino effect does the concubine’s death produce in Israel?
What does Israel’s rationalization of the actions taken against the people of Jabesh Gilead reveal about their attitude toward one another?