Picture it..Judges 20 pretty much the entire chapter…like 48 verses ..I grappled with it this morning, now I’ve gotta share an amazing revelation with you..
It starts with this story I loved to read over and over so many years ago..one of the stories other than Ruth I would take people to just to read if I was introducing them to the bible..back when I was a teen..don’t know that I’d would pick this particular story now..even then I don’t think I had really grasp the meaning of it..yet even today I still struggled with figuring it out..
Imagine me in my Sophia voice from the Golden Girls’ getting ready to tell a story that’s gonna have a meaning to it..
Picture it on the side of Mount Ephraim..
A Levite takes a CONCUBINE…wait aren’t Levite’s only supposed to MARRY (This means have a “Wife”) (A CONCUBINE is a side chick whose house you kick it at when you want a little something on the side).. women of their own tribe..well, this woman was actually of Bethlehem of Judah…and another big kicker is she’s unfaithful..and goes around acting like a prostitute..and She leaves the priest to go back to her daddy’s house …and 4 months later..I suppose the priest had some kinda change of heart..he went to beg for the lady to come back to him..Hey, she must’ve had the goods… When he got there..it would appear her father had never met him..for he is the host with the most..he gives this guy food and drink and really makes his stay comfy…but when the Levite decided he wanted to leave he was persuaded to stay what appeared to be an extra day, when the dad tried that the fifth day The Levite was determined he was leaving even though he had been persuaded to stay until evening..Now during all this time..they are eating and drinking and being merry..it doesn’t mention the CONCUBINE at all it is as though she’s not even there..
He had originally gone with a servant and a couple of donkeys..
Now, he’s with his CONCUBINE, his servant, and the donkeys..and they are traveling back home when the servant asked if they could spent the night in Jebus that is Jerusalem..The Levite says..no we will stay among our own people..so they came to Gibeah, where Benjamin’s tribe was staying…When they got there ironically no one would take them in…or show them hospitality..that was rather strange, no one but an old man from Mount Ephraim who had obviously moved to Gibeah was willing to take them in…and provide what they needed…that’s when “certain men” of the town came out and wanted to “HAVE sex with the LEVITE, and possibly his servant” this was puzzling because after the old man who was hosting him offered his VIRGIN daughters or the CONCUBINE up…without their permission…the men had already declined..instead of waiting it out inside the house..it would appear this LEVITE took hold of his CONCUBINE..you know the one he went back to beg to come home with him..and he FORCES her out..she hadn’t volunteered her services and she was under this “PRIEST” care…this to me is just where the silliness should have been addressed…He could have simply left her where she was if he hadn’t truly forgiven her..the old man didn’t throw his daughters under the bus, it was just a ploy to get the gay men to leave…
Now side bar..For mature audiences only..right now in America 2016 our president and law makers have just pushed to get HOMOSEXUALS to have the same rights as everyone else..so it’s no longer “In the closet anymore” their main thing is…”we aren’t hurting anyone” But we can see just how low some people with these proclivities can go in the passage here.
These MEN of Gibeah…Where the BENJAMITES live..were forcefully invading the perimeters of this old man’s home for one reason..a bunch of men went in..and they figured they would simply have sex with them and that would be fine..after all there was no king to tell them right from wrong at this time in Israel..no judge..and obviously the priest weren’t doing what they should have been.
They no doubt abused the CONCUBINE all night…and in the morning the priest woke and left for his journey without even thinking twice about her..he’d just discarded her last night and had no more thought about her..but she was laying there on the threshing floor..
He yelled at her as though harshly…”GET UP! LET’S GO” (emphasis/paraphrase mine) and when she didn’t move he perceived her to be dead so he threw her on a donkey..took her to his home and cut her up…into 12 pieces..
Wait this is a priest..all he should be cutting up is offerings for the people..but he is trying to expose their wicked behavior..yet he was the one who was supposed to be atoning for their behavior, yet because there’s no king..he wants justice..and he wants it now..He sends parts of her body to all the tribes of Israel to make a scene and call for justice..
Here’s where I struggled..why did he even force the woman out there.. to be abused..is there anyone that’s going to ask why he being the Man in her life..allowed this? Not at all..
So he takes it out into the square at Mizpah…and they battle it out by first inquiring and investigating..they wanted answers from the tribe of Benjamin..but the tribe decided to fight instead..so they pulled some of the left handed men who could fight in Gibeah and went out to war..
I’d wondered up until now why hadn’t anyone been inquiring of the Lord…preferably because they had been serving other gods…
Well, they did finally inquire of the Lord…But …..something horrible happened..at least in my eyes..After the Lord God told them to go and fight…They lost 22,000 men…that’s right the next day they just inquired again of the Lord and this time they lost 18,000 men after the Lord God told them to go and fight..now this is the puzzling part..they are seeking the Lord God..and He is telling them to go..it’s not some idol..but they are going into great defeat..although they started with 400,000….they’ve been knocked down by 10%…40,000 have been killed and I’m grieved in my heart agonizing with God this morning..
The people go and they ask God again..and this time they fast and they mourn their sin they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings meaning they repent..but in my mind I thought he wouldn’t answer at all..unless He was telling them right..but suddenly I realized until this time He had not promised them victory…He told them the third day He would give them victory..so they went out again…and this time they only lost 30 men..and the men of Benjamin saw their defeat coming…and they were no doubt after a long drawn out battle defeated…this was an amazing story..that I couldn’t ever answer the one question..why did the Lord God ever tell them to go..so that they lost 40,000 men..although after they fasted and prayed…and offered the offerings…they were given victory..
It doesn’t matter how much we seek the Lord…until we come to a place where we are repentful and lose ourselves before Him He won’t give victory sometimes!