Judges 19:1-20:12

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

 III.     Apostasy of the Period of the Judges, 17:1 - 21:25 (continued)


            B.  The Benjamite War, 19:1 - 21:25


                        1.   The reason for the war, 19:1 - 20:13a


Judges 19:1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah [i.e. Bethlehem which is located in Judah].


A concubine was basically a second-status wife, someone whose purpose was to bear children. The practice of having a concubine was never approved by God.


Judges 19:2 And his concubine played the whore against him [i.e. played the harlot against him, was unfaithful to him], and went away from him unto her father’s house to Bethlehemjudah, and was there four whole months.


Judges 19:3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, and to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses [i.e. donkeys]: and she brought him into her father’s house: and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.


Judges 19:4 And his father in law, the damsel’s father, retained him [i.e. detained him]; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.


Judges 19:5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart: and the damsel’s father said unto his son in law, Comfort thine heart [i.e. sustain your heart, refresh yourself] with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.


Judges 19:6 And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together: for the damsel’s father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee [i.e. please be content], and tarry [i.e. stay] all night, and let thine heart be merry.


Judges 19:7 And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him: therefore he lodged there again.


Judges 19:8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart: and the damsel’s father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee [i.e. please sustain your heart, please refresh yourself] . And they tarried [i.e. stayed] until afternoon, and they did eat both of them.


Judges 19:9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry [i.e. please stay] all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.


Judges 19:10 But the man would not tarry [i.e. stay] that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses [i.e. donkeys] saddled, his concubine also was with him.


19:10 – (RSB) Jerusalem is called Jebus here . . . since it was occupied by the Jebusites. . . .


Judges 19:11 And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.


Jebus (Jerusalem) was located 6 miles north of Bethlehem.


Judges 19:12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither [i.e. here] into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah.


Judges 19:13 And he said unto his servant, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah.


Gibeah was located four miles north of Jebus (Jerusalem).


Judges 19:14 And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin.


Judges 19:15 And they turned aside thither [i.e. there], to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street [i.e. in the open square] of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging [i.e. to spend the night].


19:15-21 – (RSB) Though they waited in the street (square) of the city, none of the people of Gibeah offered them hospitality, as they should have done. Finally, an Ephraimite sojourning in Gibeah took them in.


Judges 19:16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which was also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah: but the men of the place were Benjamites.


Judges 19:17 And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man [i.e. he saw the traveler] in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou [i.e. where are you going]? and whence comest thou [i.e. where do you come from]?


Judges 19:18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehemjudah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I [i.e. I am from there]: and I went to Bethlehemjudah, but I am now going to the house of the LORD; and there is no man that receiveth me to house [i.e. into his house].


Judges 19:19 Yet there is both straw and provender [i.e. fodder] for our asses [i.e. donkeys]; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants: there is no want [i.e. no lack] of any thing. [i.e. We have everything we need.]


Judges 19:20 And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me [i.e. let me take care of all your needs, let all your needs be my responsibility]; only lodge not in the street [i.e. do not spend the night in the open square].


Judges 19:21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender [i.e. fodder] unto the asses [i.e. donkeys]: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.


Judges 19:22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial [i.e. worthless men], beset the house round about [i.e. surrounded the house], and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him [i.e. that we may have sex with him. They were homosexuals.].


19:22 – (RSB) sons of Belial. Better, worthless men. An OT phrase used of those involved in idolatry, in drunkenness, in rebellion, and, as in this verse, in sodomy.


Judges 19:23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly [i.e. such a vile, disgraceful thing].


Judges 19:24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.


Culturally, the demands of hospitality obligated a host to protect his guests at all cost; but this does not make it right.


Judges 19:25 But the men would not hearken to him [i.e. listen to him]: so the man [i.e. the Levite] took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her [i.e. raped her], and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring [i.e. at dawn], they let her go.


Judges 19:26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day [i.e. as the day was dawning], and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord [i.e. her master] was, till it was light.


Judges 19:27 And her lord [i.e. her master] rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way [but apparently not to look for his concubine]: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.


Judges 19:28 And he said unto her, Up [i.e. get up], and let us be going. But none answered [i.e. there was no answer because she was dead]. Then the man took her up upon an ass [i.e. a donkey], and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place [i.e. went to his home].


Judges 19:29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts [i.e. territory] of Israel.


19:29 – (RSB) The dismemberment and distribution of the body served as a call to action.


Judges 19:30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.


Judges 20:1 Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh.


20:1 – (RSB) as one man. With one exception (Jabesh-gilead, 21:8-9). from Dan even to Beer-sheba. From the northern to southern boundaries of Israel (from the perspective of the author who wrote after Dan moved north).


Mizpeh. Not the one E of the Jordan (cf. 10:17), but the one about eight miles north of Jerusalem and about three miles from Gibeah.


Judges 20:2 And the chief [i.e. chiefs, leaders] of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword.


Judges 20:3 (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness?


Judges 20:4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge.


Judges 20:5 And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night [i.e. surrounded the house at night], and thought to have slain [i.e. killed] me: and my concubine have they forced [i.e. ravished], that she is dead.


Judges 20:6 And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they [i.e. these men in Gibeah] have committed lewdness and folly [i.e. outrage] in Israel.


Judges 20:7 Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.


Judges 20:8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent [i.e. go home], neither will we any of us turn into his house.


Judges 20:9 But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it;


Judges 20:10 And we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual [i.e. to make provision] for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel [i.e. that they may repay all the vileness they have done in Israel].


One-tenth of the men would collect supplies for the nine-tenths who would fight the battle.


Judges 20:11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit [i.e. united] together as one man.


Judges 20:12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you?


Judges 20:13 a – Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial [i.e. the worthless men], which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. . . .


20:13 – (RSB) They only wanted those directly guilty of the crime.


We will continue this next time, Lord willing.