Judges | Day Thirteen
By: Taylor Cage
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Of all the stories that we’ve read in the book of Judges so far, this one has to be the most outrageous. At least, the ending is painfully outrageous. Again, it’s not about a specific judge, but it’s a story to depict the depth of wickedness that the people of Israel have fallen into.
Read Judges 19:1-30.
How does the story begin? At this point, how many times has this same phrase appeared in the book?
Why does his concubine leave him? How does he intend to bring her back?
Why is his father-in-law putting off their leaving?
We can’t be sure what’s going on, but it’s clear the concubine doesn’t want to go back with the Levite. We don’t know why she left him other than that she was unfaithful to him by leaving. However, it’s pretty telling of the situation that she didn’t just run off with another man, she ran back home instead. Whatever the reason, it seems clear her father doesn't want her to leave.
This second half of the story is almost embarrassing to retell. And yet, even in all of its explicitness, it remains in the Bible. God doesn’t sugarcoat what’s happening in Israel.
Why do the travelers stop in Gibeah?
Why does the man offer to take them in?
How does the Bible describe the men who are calling for the man?
What does the old man offer to the wicked men instead of the man they were asking for? Why would he consider his offer a better solution?
Think about it, this old man offered the wicked men his virgin daughter! But not only did he offer up his own daughter, he also offered the concubine woman that he had just taken back from her father’s home.
What does he tell them to do to his daughter and the concubine?
If you’re anything like me, then surely as you’re reading this you’re thinking “How could the old man do this?! How could he offer his own daughter to be abused!?
But that’s where we have to remember that every man is doing what’s right in his own eyes, not what’s right in God’s eyes. The old man didn’t know what to do in the situation so he simply did what was right for him.
This is how far the eyes of the nation of Israel have been perverted. Despite their attempts, they cannot see what is right any longer.
The ending of this story is heartbreaking. The concubine is abused, raped, and beaten and yet she makes her way back to the house only to collapse on the threshold for the man who chased her across the country to find her unresponsive.
And what’s even more heartbreaking is that it’s hard to even tell who’s at fault in this story.
Is it the concubine who fled her husband or is it the husband who made her flee? Is it the old man who gave the concubine over or is the wicked men who demanded rape?
There’s so much brokenness that it’s impossible to truly understand the depth of sin and its consequences in this story.
So what’s the point? How do we take that and apply it to our study of Judges?
Read verse 30 again.
The people were shocked by the things that had happened. They were shocked by the wickedness, so shocked that they called each other to think it over and discuss it. And yet as shocked as they were, they were not shocked by their own sin, only the sins of others.
What about you? Are you shocked by the sin of others but indifferent to your own sin?
It’s far better to be shocked by the sin in our own lives than to be shocked by the sins in someone else’s life.