Bible Study Lesson from Judges 19:1-30
This is yet another story from the Book of Judges showing just how far a society can go. In these verses about the Levite’s concubine Israel has fallen away from God and everyone is left to his or her own morals.
Let’s see what happens when God is no longer considered the leader of a nation.
The Levite’s Concubine and Laws of Hospitality
But the man was not willing to spend the night, so he arose and departed and came to a place opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem).
And there were with him a pair of saddled donkeys; his concubine also was with him.
When they were near Jebus, the day was almost gone; and the servant said to his master, “Please come, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.”
However, his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners who are not of the sons of Israel; but we will go on as far as Gibeah.”
He said to his servant, “Come and let us approach one of these places; and we will spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.”
So they passed along and went their way, and the sun set on them near Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin.
They turned aside there in order to enter and lodge in Gibeah. When they entered, they sat down in the open square of the city, for no one took them into his house to spend the night.
Then behold, an old man was coming out of the field from his work at evening.
Now the man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was staying in Gibeah, but the men of the place were Benjamites.
And he lifted up his eyes and saw the traveler in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?”
He said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, for I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem in Judah.
But I am now going to my house, and no man will take me into his house.
Yet there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, your maidservant, and the young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything.”
The old man said, “Peace to you. Only let me take care of all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the open square.”
So he took him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank.
While they were celebrating, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him.”
Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.
Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please let me bring them out that you may ravish them and do to them whatever you wish. But do not commit such an act of folly against this man.”
But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them; and they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn.
As the day began to dawn, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was, until full daylight.
When her master arose in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, then behold, his concubine was lying at the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold.
He said to her, “Get up and let us go,” but there was no answer. Then he placed her on the donkey; and the man arose and went to his home.
When he entered his house, he took a knife and laid hold of his concubine and cut her in twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel.
All who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen from the day when the sons of Israel came up from the land of Egypt to this day. Consider it, take counsel and speak up!” – Judges 19:10-30 NASB
What is a Concubine?
In the society called the Israelites, men were allowed by law to keep concubines. These were basically women who had duties like a wife, without many of the benefits.
In other words, concubine was another word for sexual slave, for lack of a better term. This particular concubine was most likely an Israelite, although many were slaves taken from other countries.
The Levite, The Concubine, and Laws of Hospitality
In this story we read about an old man who was a hospitality fanatic. He took the unwritten law to extremes when he offered his own daughter and the concubine to the strangers.
He and the Levite did not have the courage to stand up to the men. They demanded acts of sexual perversion upon the stranger.
This is where the law of hospitality was twisted to the extreme.
A Terrible Crime?
Of course it was. The abuse and killing of the concubine was unspeakable, even by today’s standards. But worse, was the crime the Israelites committed against God.
God, the Law Giver
During Exodus, God had set laws into motion to help Israel become a civilized nation. As long as they followed the law, the society ran smoothly.
During the time of Judges, the people began to fall away from what God had set in motion. The government was no longer following God’s law and decided to make up their own rules.
The laws in existence were seldom enforced and the nation was in a state of virtual anarchy.
The sexual crimes we see here are a direct result of Israel’s disobedience to God. They were not willing to change or to even speak against the perversion until the crimes became so horrific they couldn’t ignore them any longer.
The dismemberment of the concubine helped to wake the Israelites to the harsh reality of the path they had taken. It was a path of destruction.
America – Slowing but Surely Moving Away from God?
How does this story from Scripture pertain to us? This is where we have to be careful as Christians.
We didn’t just wake up one morning and say; “Let’s stop listening to God.”
No, we have slowly drifted away over time. Our universities teach philosophy, telling our children they should believe in “logic”, not God. They are told to fulfill their own destinies and only live life for what they can obtain by means of money and power.
Don’t like a particular law? “Let’s make it legal.” they say. This will stop crime if the act is no longer a crime.
Future generations will have a difficult (if not impossible) time learning about God because it will infringe upon someone else’s rights.
We are now seeing a genocide of Christians throughout the world and our leaders say we just don’ t understand the other cultures.
Wake Up America!
When are we going to wake up and see that moving away from God as a nation is threatening its very existence?
I know that God will win in the end but we need to ask Him for courage to stand for what’s right so our country can come back to God.
His law (the ten commandments) covered everything we needed to function as a nation. Just as it helped Israel to move away from the time of Judges, it will help us to be a great nation again – under God!
We can do this – one person at a time. If we will each ask God to keep His Spirit strong within us as individuals, we can bring our country back. Pray for our leaders. Pray for other cultures so they can discover the light He offers. God will help if we only ask.
Love in Christ
If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 here.
Read Today’s Passage Here:
New American Standard Bible
New King James Version