Today, we’re going to read Judges 19. It’s a story that starts off badly, and then gets exponentially worse. It’a a story of betrayal, and then ultimately a heinous crime.
I told you it was bad.
A few points I’d like to touch on.
Just a reminder, this took place when there was no king, and thus law in Israel. Yes, there was God’s law, but the people were far from God at this point in their history.
So this Levite man takes a concubine, who is unfaithful to him and runs to her father’s house. The Levite follows her four months later and they reconcile. This is evident by the fact that they stay at her father’s house for several days at the urging of her father.
As they journey back home, they stay overnight with an old man who rescues them from spending the night outside amongst what turns out to be a very bad people. That night, these Benjaminite people do just as the people of Sodom did to Lot when the messengers of God visited his house the night Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. They banged on the door, demanding that the old man hand over the Levite to them so that they could have sex with him. Unfortunately, the old man take the story of Sodom and Gomorrah too literally and offers his daughter and the Levite’s concubine to them instead, but they wanted the Levite. So the Levite took his concubine, and to save his own life, he forced her outside among the attackers, who raped and abused her all night. Finally, when the dawn came, she was released. She made it just to the doorstep of the old man’s house, where she died.
Let me stop for just a moment to comment on the Levite’s throwing his concubine to the wolves, as it were. Evidently, he didn’t go to get her after her unfaithfulness because he had a deep and abiding love for her. Which is possibly why she was unfaithful to him to begin with. He just wanted her as an object. If he had loved her, he would not have sacrificed her to the mob.
Now, why did he cut her body into twelve pieces and distribute them around? Remember I reminded you about the fact that there was no king in Israel? The Levite did this to show them what evil had happened, hoping that Israel would become incensed at what they saw and be moved to do something about it.
In a few days, we’ll read chapter 20 and find out if his plan worked out.