INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES Judges Lesson 23
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Judges Chapter 19 

Introduction: 

      Last week we saw the tribe of Dan go into the land of Laish and overthrow the country.  On the way to the conquest, they stopped at the house of Micah and took all of his idols and Jonathan, Micahís private Levitical priest.  We saw after the conquest, that the people setup false idol worship rather than glorifying God for winning the battle.  This week we get into Chapter 19 and begin our study of a certain Levite who was leading a life that was not honoring the Lord. 

I.                   The Levite and his Concubine 

Judg 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. 

The bible states another time that there was no king in Israel.  God was still reigning over the people, but many were not acknowledging Him as their king.  No man had been chosen king over Israel, but they had judges.  Even with the judges, the people seemed to pay little attention to them.  We are not told who this Levite was, but it says he sojourned on the side of Ephraim.  He took a concubine from Bethlehemjudah.  This was common practice during this time.   Concubines were not true wives of the men, but more like servants, and helpers to the wives.  They bear children to their master, but they were inferior in status to the true wives.   This man apparently was a shame and disgrace to his nation and his tribe.   We know the tribe of Levi was supposed to be a spiritual leader to the people.  This woman apparently was not even a good concubine, for she became a harlot and ran away. 

Judg 19:2  And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father's house to Bethlehemjudah, and was there four whole months.

Judg 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: and she brought him into her father's house: and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. 

The Levite man chases the woman down and comes to her fatherís house in Bethlem-judah.   When the Levite saw she was gone, he took 2 donkeys and a servant and went after her.   His presence at her fatherís house made the father very glad.  A good father is concerned for his children, and even when they do wrong, the father rejoices in seeing his child return home.  Apparently her father and the Levite were two of a kind.  For 3 days they enjoyed continuous feasting and drinking. 

Judg 19:4  And his father in law, the damsel's father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.

Judg 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 with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way. 

It says on the fourth day that the Levite decided it was time for him to head home.  It is wise when we visit to never extend our stay to the point where we are a burden to our host.   I heard someone joke that relatives are a lot like eating fish.  They are great for a day or two, but after a few days, they begin to stink.   That is just a humorous way of saying that we should treat others as we would have them treat us which is the Royal Law. 

James 2:8  If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 

Judg 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, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry.

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

Judg 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. And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat both of them.

Judg 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 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.

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

Apparently the concubineís father had a great desire to entertain the Levite, and insisted upon him staying extra days.  Even after 5 days, he insists that he stay another, but he refuses and rose up and departed and came to the city of Jebus, another name for Jerusalem.  The servant who had came along decides that it is time to stop and stay the night in Jerusalem.

 

II.                The Levite refuses to Spend the Night at Jerusalem. 

Judg 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.

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

Although the day was far spent the Levite was determined to go to another city to spend the night   Jerusalem was a city of Jebusites, and the Levite wants to spend the night in the fellowship of his fellow country men, the Israelites.   He sets his mind to go to Gibeah.   Gibeah was a city that belonged to Benjamin which was 4 to 5 miles past Jerusalem.  They passed on by Ramah and went to Gibeah to spend the night. 

Judg 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.

Judg 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.

Judg 19:15  And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging. 

They turn in to lodge at Gibeah, but they find no one to take them into their home.  They sat at the side of the street and waited for an invitation, but no one volunteered. 

Matthew Henry commented this about no one taking the couple into their home. 

Having passed by Jebus, which was about five or six miles from Bethlehem (the place whence they came), and not having daylight to bring them to Ramah, they stopped at Gibeah (v. 13Ė15); there they sat down in the street, nobody offering them a lodging. In these countries, at that time, there were no inns, or public-houses, in which, as with us, travelers might have entertainment for their money, but they carried entertainment along with them, as this Levite did (v. 19), and depended upon the courtesy and hospitality of the inhabitants for a lodging. Let us take occasion hence, when we are in journeys, to thank God for this, among other conveniences of traveling, that there are inns to entertain strangers, and in which they may be welcome and well accommodated for their money. Surely there is no country in the world wherein one may stay at home with more satisfaction, or go abroad with more comfort, than in our own nation. This traveler, though a Levite (and to those of that tribe God had particularly commanded his people to be kind upon all occasions), met with very cold entertainment at Gibeah: No man took them into his house. If they had any reason to think he was a Levite perhaps that made those ill-disposed people the more shy of him. There are those who will have this laid to their charge at the great day, I was a stranger and you took me not in.  [1] 

Judg 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.

Judg 19:17  And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou? 

Finally this old man came in from his work in the field and asks them who they are and where they were going. 

Judg 19:18  And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehemjudah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I: 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.

Judg 19:19  Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; 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 of any thing.

Judg 19:20  And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street. 

The Levite paints a pretty picture of himself, saying he was on his way to the House of the Lord.  Perhaps he was, but we know that he had just came from five days of drinking at the concubineís fatherís home.  This old man cares for them, and invites them to come and stay with him in his house.  Israel as a nation were taught to be neighborly and to help one another.  But just being taught does not make us do things.  How many today hear Jesusí call for us to help others, and walk on and ignore the man or woman in the street or community who need our help.  I think that we pass up many blessings when we fail to take opportunities to help others when we see them in need.   And one day we will realize that we may have actually helped the exact one God sent for us to minister to. 

Mat 25:42  For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

Mat 25:43  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Mat 25:44  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Mat 25:45  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 

Judg 19:21  So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink. 

The Levite had said they were going to Ephraim to where his home was and to go to the house of the Lord.  This was the tabernacle, which was located in Shiloh.  So the old man, an Ephraimite himself, invites them to come and stay at his house. So the Levite and his servant and concubine agree.

 

III.  An Immoral Night 

Judg 19:22  Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, 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. 

The scriptures say that certain bad and evil men, sons of Belial, come to the house and beat on the door.  Basically, these were men of the streets, lacking morals and looking for whatever might bring them pleasure.   Their request is to bring the man out that they may know him, and this was not as it might sound.  Their desire was not to talk and get to know him, but to know him in immoral sexual acts.   God is abhorred with any sex outside the bounds of marriage, and never blesses sexual acts between people of the same gender.  Many today want us to believe that lesbians and homosexuals are normal and can live in that lifestyle and be blessed by God in it.  The only problem with that is that it is not true.  Acts of homosexuality are condemned, as well as adultery and fornication.   

Gal 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Gal 5:20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Gal 5:21  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 

Few sins have caused so many to die at one time as the act of sodomy did in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. 

Jude 1:7  Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Jude 1:8  Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 

Judg 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.

Judg 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. 

This is something that shows how strange that the customs were during this time.  Here, this Ephraimite is so set on protecting his guest, that he offers the men his own daughter to do with as they pleased.  There are other instances in Godís Word where this type of practice was done.  (offering of daughters to others.) 

Gen 19:7  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

Gen 19:8  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 

 I know this manís intentions may have been good, but a man has a responsibility first and foremost to protect and provide for his own family.  Only our service to the Lord should be more important than our own family.

1 Tim 5:8  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. 

 

Judg 19:25  But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. 

The Ephraimite tried to persuade the wicked men to not do evil, but they were determined to do wrong.  They take the manís concubine and have sex with her all the night long while the Levite spends the night sleeping in the house.  What kind of man who cares about anyone could let this go on.  Our morals should never let us reach the point where someone else could be abused and we stand by idly and let it happen.   

Judg 19:26  Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light.

Judg 19:27  And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold. 

After being abused all night, the concubine crawls to the door of the manís house and lay there until the morning.  The Levite finds his concubine laying across the door, and does not seem the least bit concerned for her.  This lack of concern speaks of how low this manís morals truly were.  It seems like Satan gets a man to do a minor sin, and that leads to another, and another, and soon we are far away from the Lord.  We know he was drinking a few days earlier, and showed no care for one of his own family.   Concubines were not true wives, but yet considered a member of the household. 

Judg 19:28  And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. 

He does not even speak kindly to her, but tells her to get up so they can be off.  Apparently she can not even stand up.  She was so abused that she dies of her injuries.  So the Levite lifts her upon the ass and they head home. 

 

IV.  A Message Sent to Israel of this Evil 

Judg 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 of Israel.

Judg 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.

 

One they arrive home, the Levite took his concubine and cut her body into 12 pieces.  And he sent those pieces of her body to each of the 12 tribes of Israel.  People were astonished and aroused, saying that no such deed had been done since the time they came out of Egypt.  This is perhaps one of the most cruel things that could be done to a person.  Perhaps this was the only way he could get all of the peopleís attention to the wrong that had been done. Trouble was on the horizon for a nation who seems to have come to neglect God.  The Levite warns them to consider it, take advice, and speak your minds.Ē  If they did, they should first have considered the Lord.  Seeking the mind of God is what we should all do, not only in the time of trouble, but every day of our life. 

 

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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

 

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[1]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henryís Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.