Today a Levite’s concubine cheats on him and goes to her father’s house in Bethlehem. The Levite goes to get her and ends up staying with the father-in-law for several days. While journeying back home, the Levite and his concubine stop in the town of Gibeah, which belongs to the tribe of Benjamin. An older man from Ephraim who is staying in the town with the Benjamites invites them to stay at his house.
Perverted men from the city come to rape the Levite but he gives them the concubine instead. They abuse her all night and then let her go the next morning. She walks to the door of the house where they are staying and falls down and dies. The next morning when her callous master opens the door he tells her to get up bc they are leaving, but when he discovers she is dead he loads her on his donkey and takes her home.
Then the Levite chops her body into 12 pieces and sends a body part to the each of the tribes of Israel. Well, that gets everyone’s attention and all the children of Israel gather together before the Lord at Mizpah and hear the Levite’s story. This ignites a war against the tribe of Benjamin. The entire tribe of Benjamin is nearly wiped out with only 600 men remaining.
After some time passes the Israelites weep at the thought of completely losing the tribe of Benjamin. There were no Benjamite women since they were all killed in war, and the other Israelites made an oath at Mizpah not to give their daughters to the Benjamites. Once the Israelites realize that the people from Jabesh Gilead failed to come to the congregation at Mizpah, the Israelites attack them and take 400 women for the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites then give the Benjamites permission to kidnap 200 of their daughters while they come out to dance at the annual festival at Shiloh so that each of the remaining Benjamite men would have a woman.
The book of Judges ends today with “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own sight”. Man, today’s reading is a perfect example of how wicked things can become when everyone is doing what they believe is right in their own sight! It started with a Levite taking a concubine, the concubine cheating, the men of the city raping and killing her, the shock of the body parts sent out, war against their brothers, killing of others and kidnapping of women. What a tragic mess! This is why we so desperately need the Word of God!
Tomorrow we get a glimmer of hope during this dark period in Israel’s history in the book of Ruth so keep reading.